Cause Marketing + Collaboration
- Madeleine Coe
- On June 25, 2015
Collaboration feels good, doesn’t it? But it can also be good for business. Recently, TOMS® collaborated with Audi to create an Audi-inspired, limited-edition shoe to raise money for the One for One® giving program. These types of cooperative efforts work to create brilliant marketing on so many levels. While a partnership between major brands is something that happens often to produce unique results and takeaways for the consumer, it is also something that can be done on a smaller scale with your dealership and local brands.
In a 2013 Forbes article, David K. Williams predicted that collaborative marketing – “the process of aligning your company’s interests, resources and marketing muscle with other like-minded companies” – would be the next big thing.
“The concept allows complementary and similar companies to unite their advertising budgets to cut the cost of a traditional ad by 10x or more (basically, by the number of participants.) The concept isn’t just about saving money. It also provides collective strength to each participating company’s brand and credibility. … Pulling the top names together dramatically increases the brand recognition, customer value, and customer retention for each,” said Williams.
Basically, when two or more companies unite to support a common cause and share marketing efforts, it creates benefits for all involved. Here’s why it’s a no-brainer.
Teaming up with local businesses shows community and social responsibility. After all, you and your employees live in the communities near your dealership, send your kids to local schools, play or exercise in local parks, and frequent the same community events and venues.
When companies come together with a common audience, goal, mission, and/or interest, they can band together in any number of ways to create an influence and a presence that is greater than the sum of its parts. It shows an active engagement within your local community and shows how your presence and support is invaluable. If you support your community, then it stands to reason that they will support you.
You know that your dealership’s brand includes a dedication to service and making your customers feel good, but how will prospective customers know that? You have to show them! A marketing campaign that emphasizes your dedication to a cause that will positively affect your community is a great way to get the news out there. Prolific cause-related efforts with tactful execution will only be received positively and create a benevolent attitude towards your business, which will be reflected in market growth and sales.
Feel Good Finances
Consumers are willing to spend more to support a cause; it makes them feel good about their consumership. According to Nielsen report, 42% of North American respondents reported they would pay extra for products and services from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact.
Cause marketing can even set you ahead of your competitors. The 2013 Cone Communications Social Impact Study showed that 89% of U.S. consumers are more likely to switch to brands associated with a cause, regardless of price and quality
Plus, won’t you sleep better knowing that your work is benefitting others as well as yourself and your employees?
Collaborating with other businesses to support a cause also exposes you to new audiences. Let’s say you team up with a local chain of grocery stores. The customers that frequent these stores may not have been reached by your other marketing messages, but they see campaign signage at a store that is a part of their regular routine. They have been considering buying or leasing a new vehicle, but when they see your ad on TV or in the newspaper later, this time it sticks. Or, maybe they have never heard of your dealership before seeing the signage and this is their first impression of your brand.
Cross-pollination of your customer base and your partner’s customer base is a smart move for both businesses. You are not competing for the customers because you will hopefully team up with a local business from an entirely different industry, so both businesses will have the chance to experience growth. Additionally, if you are sharing costs for creative and campaign materials, it puts less of a burden on your dealership to do all the promotion, as you would have to for your proprietary sales campaigns.
Case Study 1
In 2012, the New England Acura Dealers Association (NEADA) partnered with Boston Children’s Hospital and pledged to raise $500,000 over a two-year span. After meeting and exceeding the initial goal, the NEADA renewed the partnership for an addition two years to bring their total pledge to $1 million. The donation, which is raised from a portion of the proceeds of every Acura sold, goes toward the Children’s Fund, an unrestricted fund that supports the hospital’s areas of greatest need.
The NEADA also serves as top-level sponsor at all signature fundraisers benefitting the hospital, such as the Boston Investment Conference, Corey C. Griffin NHL Alumni Pro-Am Tournament, the 5th Annual Yoga Reaches Out (YRO) New England Yogathon, and the renowned Champion for Children’s event. Additionally, during the past two holiday seasons, the NEADA donated 10 percent of customers’ service or repair bills and raised an additional $25,000 for the hospital. The association presented BCH with a check for $1 million on April 17.
Through cause marketing, NEADA increased its share of zone from 14.2% in 2012 to 15.6% in 2014. Additionally, as one of the hospital’s top donors, Acura is considered the official vehicle of the hospital.
Case Study 2
The Northern Ohio Honda Dealers Association, an association of 20 dealerships, provides service to customers within a huge radius of up to 60 miles outside of Cleveland. Knowing that the factory-produced Honda ads were not going to do enough to connect the dealerships to their various and widespread local communities, NOHDA decided to pursue their own advertising and become involved with local, charitable and sports events.
For the past two years, the NOHDA sponsored the Fox Trot 5K race with the Cleveland Fox TV affiliate to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. The August 2014 race gathered more than 6,500 runners and has become the second-most attended race in metropolitan Cleveland behind the Cleveland Marathon. The NOHDA also sponsored Fox 8’s annual Operation Giving Tree to collect toys for needy kids in the Cleveland area during the holidays. According to Mark Lyon, general manager of Jay Honda said the association spent around $200,000 on advertising for charitable events and received around $1.3 million in TV time.
These local and charitable promotions provided the association great media exposure and increased the association’s new vehicle sales by 6 percent in 2014, with national sales growing 1 percent. Additionally, it landed the NOHDA a featured article on AutoNews.com
The secrets to their success? Teaming up with other local businesses for the events and fundraisers, supporting a cause that was also local and cared about in the community, and of course, stellar creative.
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