’Tis the Season for Cause Marketing

When was the last time your campaign resulted in third-world students attending school for longer and getting better grades? Oh, really? Never?

You’re not alone. Cause marketing isn’t something that takes priority for most companies during the larger part of the year. In fact, many brands that have joined the cause-marketing movement fall short in creating long-lasting, impactful moments that inspire others — consumers and companies — to spring to action. This holiday season, cause-marketing campaigns are front and center — and each of them encourages us to do our own personal part to make this world a little better.

Confused about what cause marketing is? Simply, it’s whenever a for-profit company partners with a nonprofit group to benefit the greater good. As ForbesDavid Hessekiel remarks in his most recent article on cause marketing, Top 5 Cause Marketing Trends of 2014, “There’s an art and a science to pairing companies and causes.” Not just any partnership will suffice. What creates true impact? What causes are the best fit for your brand?

Partnerships aimed at “doing good” still have to strategically plan their approach so that the campaigns don’t feel like marketing. The consumers, who really drive the success of these campaigns, yearn for authenticity and generosity, and above all else, selflessness. But it has to feel real — we can’t be told that something is genuine. We need to feel it.

As we round out the year, and reflect during the season of giving, let’s applaud those who have gone above and beyond.

If you caught last year’s viral video of WestJet’s Christmas Miracle where they surprised fliers with presents off the baggage carousel at their destination airports, you know there wasn’t a dry eye that remained. This holiday season, they’ve one-upped themselves by helping struggling families in need in the Dominican Republic — a destination they don’t even fly to. It’s touching — it’s genuine. And WestJet promises to continue to deliver on its mission to do good.

The 8-year-old TOMS One for One aims to match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes for a child in need, restore sight to a person in need with every purchase of sunglasses and optical frames with TOMS Eyewear, and most recently, give clean water back to the countries where coffee beans are sourced with TOMS Roasting Company. This year, TOMS was awarded the Golden Halo Award and was the first recipient that is not a Fortune 1000 company.

And finally, Hanes for Good continues to demonstrate true selflessness to help fight homelessness and bring awareness and education to the cause. #HanesforGood donates hundreds of thousands of socks to the homeless in cities across the country. They excel at bringing hard facts to their audience and they use their social media vehicles as a conduit for bringing attention to a major social epidemic that is present in every American community.

As we move closer to Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or whatever you celebrate, consider how you are giving back this holiday season — whether it’s asking your company to donate money to your charity of choice, volunteering at a shelter, or challenging your clients to think about “big picture” causes. No matter how big or small, you can make a difference.

Tell us how you or your brand is making a difference @MowerAgency.