It’s a fact: brands benefit from cause-marketing. Whether contributing to health, environmental, social, or educational causes, brands want to leave a positive impression on potential customers (and in turn, increase profitability). As we focus on giving back during November, I want to spotlight a few companies whose efforts have actually made a difference:

AT&T: “Later Haters” (2016)In 2016, AT&T encouraged teens to use the hashtag #laterhaters to stand up against cyberbullying. They made it simple for anyone to get involved—all you had to do was send a kind text or post a positive comment to a friend’s social media account. AT&T is one of the many companies striving to change the way people interact online, and this campaign was simple enough to make a sweeping impact. The results? An impressive engagement rate of 10.13%, 100MM impressions, and increased positive online sentiment from 4% to 55%. Further, AT&T continues to educate people on Facebook’s Bullying Prevention Hub and Instagram’s Comment Filter, and also extends resources to navigate social media platforms responsibly (for both parents and children).

American Express: Partners in Preservation, Main Streets campaign (2018)Through the partnership of American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation came “Partners in Preservation.” This campaign aims to recognize historic sites in local communities, and to protect places that matter to each of us. The “Partners in Preservation” project generated national awareness, allowing the public to #VoteYourMainStreet to help decide which Main Street should receive $2MM in funding from American Express. Because, when citizens support these historic sites, they preserve character and attract visitors to their town. With 20 projects submitted and 1,072,316 votes cast, people across the country were engaged in the campaign.

Always: “Saudi Women’s Online March” (2016)In 2016, feminine hygiene brand Always wanted to empower Saudi women by giving each of them a voice online. Rather than filming them, Always kicked off the campaign by sharing progress photos of the women achieving their personal goals (opening their own law firms, educating children in their country, creating a better future for their daughters, etc.), paired with the hashtag #MoveForTomorrow. The campaign created a platform encouraging Saudi women to feel more confident in expressing themselves freely. And the success can be found in the results, as the campaign saw 45MM social media impressions, 5K videos uploaded, and 3.6MM online interactions.

These companies were all successful in Cause Marketing because they chose a cause that related to their company or products. As a telecommunications company, AT&T wanted to contribute to people being socially responsible online. Through Partners in Preservation, American Express was able to use its substantial funds to make an impact in communities around the world, a cause they continue to forward via campaigns for national parks and grants. Always and their products are focused on women, so it only makes sense that they help a group of women whose voices are not always heard. These brands all found a way to stand out because:

  1. They found a way for the program to evolve long past its inception
  2. They combated problems both internationally and domestically
  3. They were authentic in their delivery

Cause Marketing needs to be carefully planned before executing. Just because brands engage in cause marketing/social good efforts, does not mean they will be successful automatically. The truth is, customers will buy from companies that share the same values as they do. They want to ensure whoever they invest in is socially responsible and supports causes they endorse. In order for these campaigns to be successful, it’s important to be authentic, relevant and intentional. In sum, it’s important to “make it mean more.”