Increasingly its less about a "feel good" act by business to stand out through an emotive appeal, and more of an act of "good business" that's an inherent component of making a business and social impact. And to appease the growing expectations of an informed citizen consumer. The difference? For example, splashy but thin social responsibility announcements vs. a top-down sustainability strategy that meets the needs of the three P's of profit, people, planet. Or a vague transactional model of portion of proceeds will benefit... vs. a long term commitment to a cause and a strategic alliance with a related non-profit that cuts across all facets of the brand and it's marketing.
And guess what, with increased transparency requirements, it means consumers aren't passively smiling at what you do but actively engaged to vet it's merits and talk to others about it. The opportunity of course is to empower and amplify these citizen consumers with authentic cause marketing efforts. To wit, from a recent Iconoculture "Big Ideas / Trends" webinar:
Big Idea • 4: Not Gonna Take It — To put it simply, people have some edge to their attitudes. But in 2010, that won’t mean futile stewing. Citizen-consumers are feeling empowered to tap the crowd for power and change.
GENERATION G (for Generosity) isn't about anger and recessions...Challenging times see people craving care, empathy, sympathy and generosity. Expect to hear even more about caring, as that’s what consumers and citizens will demand from governments and organizations: someone to take care of their jobs, their savings, their fellow citizens.
So how are you shifting to a cause model that's more ingrained in the brand's DNA and less a topical sunscreen?