Elevate Cause Marketing

October 19, 2015  

With the success of companies like TOMS and programs like Chase Community Giving, there is now a clear role for companies to play when it comes to making a difference in our communities. Companies benefit when they align their values and mission with the causes they wish to support. Are you having a hard time figuring this out? We can help.

Think about the stories that you want to define your company and its culture; the stories that both inspire your employees and propels the company forward. What visions and values do your employees embrace when they come to work day in and day out? Defining these visually will help make your cause marketing campaign look and feel more authentic.

Employees as your biggest brand ambassadors

Most employees that work for companies that support causes/charities are literally happier. Watch this clip from a webinar by Mike Norton from Harvard Business School, co-author of "Happiness: The Science of Smarter Spending." Employees want to be included in the conversation when it comes to corporate philanthropy and other giving programs. Employees who feel included are able to share within their own circles the type of impact the company they work for is making within the community. Feelings of happiness, pride, and enlightenment are feelings that people like to share with others.

Ultimately, engaging employees with causes that resonate with them will allow your campaigns to reach a broader audience. Jorge Fontanez, former VP & Marketing Manager for Chase Community Giving, the largest brand initiative in social media in terms of size (dollar give) and scale (level of engagement) (and in full disclosure, an advisor to Givkwik) says "visual storytelling helps employees who are engaged in the causes you also support, either through giving or volunteering, to be able to share those stories with their own social networks." So, it's important to have a framework set for employees to share their stories that would help both the nonprofit and your company's cause marketing campaign to stand out and tell a visual story. Now we'll outline the framework we actually use with nonprofits on the Givkwik platform to visually convey the organization's stories and missions.

Structured Storytelling for Cause Marketing Campaigns

Givkwik structures our storytelling by focusing on three specific components to be "brand ready:"

Actions: What single frame conveys almost exactly how you serve your mission. If you're a soup kitchen, your best action shot would show a volunteer of your organization serving food.

Benefits: Who benefits from your mission: Children? Veterans? Puppies? People love images of people being helped. This is a chance to also express gratitude, visually. Thumbs up photos, big smiles, hugs and high fives are fun types of shots to consider.

Champions: Who champions your causes? Here's opportunity to highlight your hard-working corporate volunteers, generous donors, and even celebrity sponsors. But also don't forget your interns, staff, and board members, too!

This type of storytelling is more visible, instantaneous, engaging, and prominent now that we have the advantage of posting and telling the story we want people to see on social networks.

The shift to visual storytelling in social media, especially with the emergence of social networks like Instagram is becoming more beneficial to corporations and organizations. Instagram has been reported as having one of the social networks with the greatest amount of engagement.

The stats are there to prove it: Social photos generate more engagement:

  • 87% interaction rate on Facebook
  • Adding a photo URL to your tweet can boost retweets by an impressive 35%.

If a nonprofit seeks to partner with corporate sponsors, they should use our A-B-C framework to enhance their campaigns. Not only is it useful for determining the types of photos you should share, but it can also help you tell your story. Try using the framework literally with the hashtags #action #benefits #champions in your captions or accompanying tweets as a simple way to set a tone for the viewer to understand the image. In fact, many of the nonprofits registering with us have expressed the fun and creative ways that Givkwik asks them to share their stories with us.

Once a nonprofit shares its story with Givkwik, it then becomes available to corporate sponsors to review and consider for their own cause marketing and employee engagement campaigns on our platform. This year, we delivered 21 concurrent employee engagement campaigns featuring 200 different nonprofits for a single corporate client, helping them give away $3.7 Million dollars by engaging their close to 40,000 employees in the decision-making process. It could not have been done on time and under budget without our A-B-C framework!

In the age of social media, aligning a visual storytelling format with your cause marketing or employee giving campaign, will provide transparency and authenticity. It will ultimately drive more engagement, but also contribute to the success of your campaign.