In recent years, cause-related marketing campaigns — based on a firm’s support of social issues — have become key components of corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts. And with good reason: In a recent survey, 80 percent of global consumers said they thought businesses should play a role in addressing social problems. Accordingly, spending on cause-related marketing has grown from US$816 million in 2002 to $2.14 billion in 2018.
Business leaders can be a powerful force for good — especially during a crisis. As leaders forge their way through the challenges COVID-19 is bringing and plan for what is likely to be an extended recovery, it’s important for them to be aware of the strengths and limitations of cause-related marketing.
Generally, there are two approaches to cause-related marketing: making monetary donations and providing in-kind donations (the latter involves contributing products, services, or expertise).
Past research has suggested cause-related marketing efforts