Seventy-two percent of consumers say that they have purchased a brand because it supports a cause they believe in, according to the 2007 PR Week / Barkley Cause Survey (PDF). Corporate respondents say they see positive PR (65.3 percent), an increase in sales/retail traffic (26.7 percent) and an enhanced relationship with their target demographic (52 percent), as a result of their marketing efforts.
Ninety percent of consumers say it’s important for companies to support causes and charities. The survey also revealed that the majority of companies (34.7 percent) with cause programs funded their efforts through the marketing department, as apposed to HR (4 percent), or even PR (14.7 percent).
“Companies are beginning to clearly understand that there is a return on their reputational investment,” said Mike Swenson, president Barkley Public Relations. “[And] cause is the perfect storm to allow companies to engage employees and customers in a more meaningful way.”
In addition to an increase in sales or enhanced customer relationships, corporate philanthropy can also drive recruitment and retention. Among companies with cause marketing programs, 56 percent saw heightened staff morale and retention and 14.7 percent “strongly agreed” that they have an easier time finding top-notch recruits.