How to achieve genuine cause-related marketing


Mar 09, 2021

by Rob L


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3rdspace Senior Writer Susan Burchill and Kathrine Holland give you their picks for the best cause related marketing campaigns of recent years and how to genuinely convey your cause with your audience.

Supporting causes can be an extremely effective way to connect authentically with like-minded consumers, support your employees’ personal values and create good will in your community. But causes need to be intrinsically tied to the core purpose of your brand to hit their full potential.

Hero-ing your causes

Cause-related marketing is a way for brands to tie themselves to causes, charities or social issues through thoughtful, sensitive campaigns that support, not boast. 

With the rise of Millennials and Gen Zs, where a company puts its community dollars can be a real differentiator. March 2021 research from Nielsen Consumer & Media View found that  70% of Australian women aged 18-39 think highly of companies that support charity and are 12% more loyal to brands that support a worthy cause. Similarly, a US study of millennials found that 70% are prepared to make personal sacrifices to make an impact on issues they care about - even if that means paying more for a product.

Done well, a cause-related campaign can create a sense of connection between a brand and its audience, leading to deeper customer loyalty. But it must align with brand values and purpose first and foremost. Purpose must be the guiding light for where you invest your cause-related efforts to ensure they’re not “just cause”. For established brands, this may involve re-examining your purpose; or where your purpose is not yet fully defined, it may require you to put time and thought into that exercise. 

Here are our three favourite campaigns that get it right.

Uber - Thank You For Not Riding

With people across the globe in quarantine during the height of the pandemic and struggling to understand their new normal, we saw an influx of content on social media showing how people were entertaining themselves. 

In a move that could be considered counteractive to their business model, UBER created a powerful piece of content that brought together user-generated content with beautifully shot images of solitude, sadness and togetherness to encourage their customers to “stay-at-home for the people who can’t”. The cause here was the greater good of humanity.

For a lot of us, 2021 brings with it fresh hope; but one viewing of this piece will have you awash with memories of the confusion we all felt during lockdown.

Patagonia - Don’t Buy This Jacket 

At the heart of Patagonia’s brand is their belief that all life on earth is under threat of extinction. According to their mission statement:

“We aim to use the resources we have—our business, our investments, our voice and our imaginations—to do something about it.”

Patagonia’s recent “Don’t Buy This Jacket” campaign, much like Uber’s COVID efforts, encouraged consumers to stop and think before purchasing their product, speaking to the socially responsible heart of their consumer. The simple and clever creative encouraged their customers to reuse, recycle or regift before making new purchases - ironically resulting in an uplift in Patagonia’s sales. 

The campaign was ostensibly saying “Don't Buy This Jacket”, but what it actually communicated was, “if you only buy one jacket, make it this one”

Patagonia Don't Buy This Jacket

Dove - Real Beauty

One of the pioneers of self-love and acceptance in the beauty industry is Dove. 

While beauty brands have traditionally preyed on women’s insecurities and their desire to be seen as beautiful, Dove has broken the mould for over 15 years by creating socially-driven campaigns under the banner of Real Beauty. 

Their 2016 viral success, the Dove Evolution video, is a great example. It took the viewer behind the scenes of a typical photo editing process for a beauty brand, showing what’s really involved in creating those “beautiful” cosmetics images. Their cause is loud and clear: women need to love themselves just the way they are.

And the proof is in the numbers. Sales for Dove jumped from $2.5 to $4 billion in the campaign’s first ten years.

3rdspace is a content marketing company whose purpose is to help purpose driven brands connect with the values of purpose driven consumers. If you’d like to chat about how your content marketing can better connect with your consumers by finding the place of shared purpose our team of marketing & content strategist, behavioural psychologists and creatives are here to help. Contact

Looking for more inspiration? Check out more blogs here

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