It’s true many consumers voice sentiments for “green,” “charitable,” or “morally-focused” products and services. But, those same consumers are often too lazy, too strapped for cash, or too busy to turn that belief into a purchasing action. Ensuring that the products a consumer is purchasing fall into one of those categories takes time and extra effort that detracts from the instant gratification consumers often seek in their purchasing decisions. Therefore, they have begun looking to brands to do the extra work on their behalf, using moral marketing to their benefit.Brands should act with moral responsibility, and many do. But not all show their customers the ways those values are being lived out, which results in unrealized social capital. A brand’s social responsibility standards, or a product’s ethical origins can be a point-of-entry for consumers to become familiar with a brand and build trust in its values. These features may act as a differentiator between one brand and their competitors who do not prioritize or advertise those standards or charitable causes.Today’s consumers are making far more informed choices in this regard and supporting brands that support greater causes, with a buy-one-give-one mentality. So what are those brands doing to buy-one-give-one? These three brands are leading the way in ethical marketing, and have some lessons that can be used for inspiration.
Examples of Brands Turning Their Morals into Marketing
- TOMS Shoes “One-for-One” – TOMS’ promises that for every pair of shoes purchased, they will donate a pair to someone who does not have any shoes at all. Additionally, they offer a variety of product options to their environmentally-conscious customers, including shoes with vegan, organic, and sustainably sourced materials.
- Umpqua Bank’s Click 4A Cause – Umpqua Bank, based in Portland, has been considered one of the most effective banks when it comes to customer engagement campaigns. During their Click 4A Cause campaign, Umpqua listed a number of different local, charitable organizations on their Facebook page, and encouraged people to vote for the ones they wanted to receive a charitable donation from the bank. One vote contributed $1. The winning charity ended up receiving a $15,000 contribution.
- Pampers’ “1Pack = 1 Vaccine”– A handful of times over the last several years, Pampers has instated their “1 Pack = 1 Vaccine” program in partnership with UNICEF. For each diaper or wipe product purchased with the campaign logo, Pampers will ensure one tetanus vaccine will be given to a child a developing nation.
It’s important to note that merely naming morals and ideals isn’t enough. Today’s informed consumers will want hard proof that the brand is actually acting morally on their behalf. This “proof” might take the form of photos of the people and places benefitting from the charitable donations, or perhaps hard financial statistics demonstrating where exactly the money is going. With more brands using this tactic to differentiate themselves than ever before, it’s becoming more difficult for brands to use their tactics effectively.The next great challenge for moral brands is for them to engage their customers in action rather than just ask for financial support and offer “ethical” product choices. Brands that achieve this will win trust, loyalty, and genuine community credentials.Again, TOMS is a great example of this call-to-action. Their recent “#WithoutShoes” Instagram campaign quickly went viral. TOMS challenged the Instagram community to post a picture of their feet without shoes on, and include the #WithoutShoes hashtag. For each picture posted and hashtagged, TOMS would give a pair of shoes to someone in need. Without spending money or moving a finger, or, toe, any motivated Instagram user could make a difference. Plus, TOMS brought international awareness to the cause their business model is centered on. In the end, they provided shoes for 296,243 children.Now it’s your turn to tell us: Do you follow any ethical brands? Which stand out to you, and why? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.