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What is cause marketing?

Cause marketing is a win-win partnership between a company and a non-profit. Some might think that these partnerships or all about karma, but a great deal of the value in these cooperation’s lies in more tangible aspects, such as being able to access new potential consumer groups and increased brand awareness. Cause marketing is an important aspect of any Corporate Social Responsibility approach, as it ensures impact projects and global strategy are aligned. However, according to David Hessekiel, founder of the Cause Marketing Forum, simply stating that you support a certain charity is not enough.

“The idea that the charitable partner is only charity sells the nonprofit short. Nonprofits have passionate followers and key relationships and networks that may not otherwise be accessible to brands or companies. They have strengths in the numbers and passion of their followers and relationships that can work hard for brands and brand partnerships.” said Brokke Golden of Clif Bar.
Golden says that cause marketing should be seen as any other brand collaboration with for-profit companies. Companies shouldn’t pick just a random cause to support, but find one whose advocates share a similar consumer profile or have aligned values and purposes. They should understand each other’s strengths and be able to forge a shared message to amplify both efforts. After all, the goal of such partnerships is that both partners win.

The partnership between Talbot and Dress for Success is a great example of these principles. Talbot is an American retailer of women’s clothing. Their primary audience is professional women who take pride in how they dress and aspire to be a role model. Dress for Success is all about empowering women. They help them with job and life-skill training, to provide access to interview-appropriate attire.
Not only the audience aligns, the products match perfectly as well. Dress for Success needs professional clothing at its locations so they can provide women with interview and job-ready attire. Talbots’ specialty is professional women’s clothing, and her customers are likely to have excess professional clothing that would be perfect for donating to Dress for Success.

Joi Gordon, CEO of Dress for Success states: “Talbots is really the epitome of professionalism. Its clothing collections allow a woman to showcase her personality through a polished, chic wardrobe. Talbots is sophisticated and timeless and, with this partnership, we will be able to instill these same characteristics in even more women as they pursue their path to self-sufficiency.” For this reason this is a great example of partnership. They are not just working together, but they complement each other.

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