Definition Of Corporate Social Marketing
Corporate Social Marketing generally refers to a campaign intended to improve public health, safety, and the environment. The overall objective of a company is to generate a behavior change. It is considered to be part of CSR and it contemplates the use of corporate resources to achieve its goals.
Breaking Down Corporate Social Marketing
Social Marketing and cause promotion can sometimes look like they are the same thing. Nevertheless, there are substantial differences. Firs of all, cause promotion means that a company aims to raise awareness not only on a specific cause but also on a movement/project. This usually implies the act of donation, either cash or in-kind contribution, which doesn’t apply, on the other hand, to social marketing. Secondly, promoting a cause usually requires partnering with a non-profit and sponsoring an event intended to gather funding and gain visibility. Social marketing, instead, doesn’t require partnerships or taking part in an event. Its mission is to influence people over general topics such as health and environment, most of all through advertising.
An example that illustrate the notion comes from Patagonia: the retail giant in 2011 launched the campaign “Don’t buy this”. At first sight, this initiative could have seemed counterproductive. In fact, it consisted of some advertising ads urging customers not to waste money and be more environment-friendly, thus not buying new stuff and sticking with the old one, included the same Patagonia products.
Even though some critics judged it as hypocritical, the campaign, promoted right before Black Friday, besides highlighting one of the most urgent issues affecting our world (environmental waste), aimed to make a powerful impact (visually and emotionally) while boosting Patagonia’s brand image and generating a lot of (good) publicity.