FN: In the Era of Cause Marketing, Here’s What Not to Do

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Back in the 90's, when I started here at AAPN, our members were primarily cut/sew contractors, small, Made in USA. I asked one of the owners about his marketing plan. "Marketing plan?", he replied, "(paraphrasing) I jus a contractor, I ain't got nothin to sell". We've ALL got something to sell. We ALL need marketing plans. That's why this article is so relevant, and challenging. 

In the Era of Cause Marketing, Here’s What Not to Do
FN: 6/27/19

To stay relevant with today’s younger generations of tech-savvy, socially conscious consumers, companies have had to change their marketing game and learn to not only tell a story but also stand for something they believe in — while being unequivocally authentic.

They must also be more introspective about where their passion points lie, more vocal about what causes they can align with, and more aware of who can help tell their story.

But brands that choose to venture into political or social debates are taking a risk that their actions could alienate — or even anger — consumers.

Ayako Homma, fashion and luxury consultant at Euromonitor International, recalled that New Balance and (AAPN member) Under Armour faced backlash in 2017, when their executives were perceived to show support of President Donald Trump.

And last year, after Nike released its latest “Just Do It” ad with polarizing sports figure Colin Kaepernick, some Swoosh wearers vented on social media and even burned their sneakers.

Yet taking a public stance doesn’t always elicit a negative response. “It can create opportunities and increase brand loyalty, if the position aligns with the brand’s core values,” said Homma.

She added that oftentimes brands approach controversial topics as a way to connect with consumers on a personal and emotional level, build their reputations and generate buzz on social media. “They also believe that maximizing visibility could help to generate a higher market share.”

Homma cited (AAPN member) Allbirds and Veja as two brands that successfully implemented ethical messages as part of their core business strategies. “Once small niche brands, they communicated the positive impact they’re having on communities around the world through their efforts and have attracted interest from a large base of consumers as a result,” she said. Read More