Social Cause MarketingThere’s an old saying in cause marketing which is, “People don’t join causes, people join people with causes.”

That is, if you’re a good friend of mine, and if I’m stricken with cancer and involved with one the American Cancer Society’s initiatives such as Relay for Life, chances are you will be more in tune with ACS messages and offer to help (donate money and/or time).

The same goes for Brand marketing these days too – more and more people are joining Brands which are in tune with their causes!

Brand marketing is taking on a whole new meaning which is simply put, “marketing with meaning.”

In this 24/7 age of corporate misconduct (AIG, Wall Street, Enron, BP) and citizen journalism, it’s an absolute “greens fee” for companies to make more meaning by being good corporate citizens and doing more (See Philip Kotler’s Values Based Marketing Model) for their employees and customers.

The chart above is from Ann Marie Kerwin’s article in today’s Advertising Age, How to Get the Social-Media Generation Behind Your Cause which outlines some key steps and  which also links to TBWA Chiat Day’s Eliza Esquivel’s Social Activism 2.0 whitepaper – good stuff.

Marketing with real meaning and brands that truly stand for something other than self serving profits will survive and thrive in the next decade and beyond. Those that don’t won’t be as profitable and/or won’t survive.

Here’s an example of great cause marketing by one of my client’s the Priory Hospitality Group and their announcement of a free Winter White Wedding for a veteran of the Afghan Iraqi war who’s from southwestern Pennsylvania.

See the video interview of The Priory Hotel’s John Graf here from KDKA TV’s Pittsburgh Today Live – we’d appreciate it if you pass the information along to a western, PA veteran.

Now in its 3rd year, the Priory’s generosity has been joined by several other area brands. One of the major reasons why the Priory’s business keeps growing is because they are genuine, caring community partners and employers.

Follow their example for success and make your little patch of the world a better place and watch your business grow too!

I haven’t been to a BP gas station since the Gulf Oil Spill and don’t plan on visiting one in the future. How about you?

Note: Super good book by Bob Gilbreath, The Next Evolution of Marketing: Connect with Your Customers by Marketing with Meaning.