I have written a number of blogs about heart, about what it means to truly believe in what you’re doing, and about how important it is to have a passion for your job, your team, and for your brand.
But, it’s more than that. Your brand has to have a stand. In a recent survey conducted by Sprout Social, it was revealed that two-thirds of consumers say it’s important for brands to take a stand on social or political issues. And, another study found that half of consumers make purchases based on their beliefs, that more than half believe brands have more power to solve social issues than the government, and that that same percentage is more likely to buy or boycott a brand because of its stand on social or political issues.
Brand standing and cause marketing are an increasingly important part of marketing planning. But, they only work if they are authentic and directly relate to your brand’s essence. It starts with defining your mission and then making sure that everyone on the team is a genuine and passionate ambassador of that mission. From there it’s about identifying the cause that best exemplifies you and your brand, which is, as you know, more than your logo. It’s the people who work for you, the products you sell, the services you provide, and the audiences that matter. And, it’s about what you believe; it’s about your heart. Whether your brand supports a cause (for example, your team advocates for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities) or IS a cause (for example, PETA), it has to MATTER, it has to be genuine, and it has to be transparent. And, through integrated marketing, has to be communicated to your audiences and customers so that they SEE who you are and what’s important to you. If they feel the same way, you can create a customer for life.
One wonderful example of a brand embodying a cause is Good Spread. Good Spread is a peanut butter company that was born from a nonprofit called MANA. MANA makes a vitamin-fortified, therapeutic peanut butter (called RUTF, Ready to Use Therapeutic Food, created by Doctors Without Borders and UNICEF) that effectively cures Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM), the leading cause of death among children worldwide. It’s an amazing product – one that’s 96 percent effective (improving the previous method by more than double) – and an amazing purpose-driven, social responsibility-focused brand.
The company’s CEO, Robbie Vitrano, was a guest on the Integrate & Ignite podcast. Take a listen to how he has taken a cause he is deeply passionate about and built a brand that truly lives and breathes its mission and its cause.