Cause Marketing: Where Cause Outplays Sport
- August 22, 2023
- SponsorPulse Staff
When thinking of sponsorship, many minds gravitate towards sport immediately. Sport occupies a significant and growing portion of the global sponsorship market, delivering returns for brands who activate with purpose. While sport continues to lead the way in the world of sponsorship, there is one vertical outplaying sport in the key areas of favorability and consideration. Walking out onto the field: Cause.
Sponsorship’s Emerging Athlete
The sustainability industry continues to grow exponentially with 91% of Canada’s top 200 companies now reporting on their sustainability performance and the global green technologies and sustainability market expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 20.8% from 2023 to 2030, peaking at close to close to 62 billion U.S. dollars. As the field has continued to evolve, brands have had to evolve with it - adapting their philanthropic donation strategies to more sophisticated, integrated social and environmental impact strategies of which sponsorship plays a key role. While this has led to an increase in corporate contributions to the charitable sector, there is a significant amount of opportunity that brands are leaving on the table when it comes to cause marketing and sponsorships. Ensuring that causes are part of your sponsorship strategy is not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.
Cause Competes with the Best of ‘Em
When comparing the top ten charities and sport leagues, one thing becomes abundantly clear - just how powerful causes can be at delivering for brands. When looking at the aggregate data, the ability for cause to drive purchase consideration and brand favorability for sponsors makes it a real MVP.
Cause continues to perform at elite levels, helping to dispel the myth that impact and profit are mutually exclusive. Among the top ten charities, 22% of Canadians are more likely to purchase products from brands that sponsor charities and causes, a +7% more than the top ten sport leagues.
The split in performance only grows when evaluating favorability with 27% of Canadians being more likely to become favorable toward brands that sponsor charities, a whopping +13% more than the top ten sport leagues.
These data points would have any coach wondering why Cause is sitting on the bench, or worse, has yet to be drafted.
Diversifying your Roster
A holistic sponsorship strategy should involve a diversified roster, leading your brand to maximize its ROI. While Cause is not the only player needed to build a strong team, it is a key position that all brands should be looking to fill.
Whether you’re launching a national cause marketing campaign or sponsoring a local charity, the impact on your brand and community are clear, making an investment in cause is the ultimate no brainer. Take it from Adidas, Nike and Coca-Cola, all of which activated more than 30 cause-related sponsorships in 2022. And it’s not only global brands who are participating, BMO launched a campaign in support of Rainbow Railroad which garnered a lot of attention as it asked Canadians to ‘deposit’ images of rainbows throughout Pride month in support of the 2SLGBTQ+ community.
Getting Ready for the Draft
Like any other strong sponsorship, partner alignment and authenticity are key. Consumers have eagle eyes when it comes to identifying inauthentic sponsorships, especially in the cause space.
Many companies have invested in an ESG strategy or a community investment strategy which can act as a guiding light to support brands in building out their cause roster in a way that benefits both themselves and the charity.
Whether you have a sustainability team in house or are looking to invest in cause sponsorship for the first time, approach a cause sponsorship the way you would any other sponsorship - as equal partners, each player bringing key skills to the team.
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