Research from public relations firm Edelman proves it. Since 2008, the percentage of Internet users worldwide who say that a sense of social purpose is a “purchase trigger” has risen from 42 to 53. About 47 percent of those consumers say they buy from cause-supporting brands at least monthly, up from 32 percent in 2010.
That means brands don’t need to just support causes, they have to let the public know about the work they do, and in a way that doesn’t seem exploitative or like a publicity stunt. It’s a tough balance to achieve, but communicators and public relations specialists offered some advice for how brands can walk the tightrope:
1. Social media.
Crystal Kendrick of marketing firm The Voice of Your Customer says her company simply announces what it’s doing using Facebook.
“We make announcements about charitable donations, in-kind support of the local arts community, and giveaways,” she says. “We want to share our community service but not make our efforts overshadow our company mission.”