Ah, November has arrived. The shops are being draped in tinsel, summer is around the corner and my social media news feeds will be filled with ‘selfies’ of (mostly) men at various stages of facial hair growth.
While the calendar on my wall still spells the 11th month of the year with an ‘N’, everywhere else it has become Movember as many of us clamber to be part of one of the most successful fundraising campaigns in recent memory.
Now in its eleventh year, Movember has so far raised $440 million for men’s health around the world. Its own PR campaign is creative, updated yearly and makes the most of all popular online and social media channels to get its message across.
But what is also worth acknowledging is the campaign’s advantageous use of ‘cause marketing’.
For many corporates, cause marketing is a fundamental part of the PR toolbox. Cause marketing uses philanthropy for publicity, creating PR opportunities for businesses wanting to present themselves as active community contributors. By establishing partnerships with charities, businesses have the potential to reach new markets and may even be able to break through the news media barrier.
I’ve no doubt the team behind Movember are well aware of this concept. Just look at their website. Under the ‘Get involved’ section are choices for how workplaces can become involved and options for industry challenges, leaving no mystery about how the commercial sector can jump on the hairy wave of success.
But a lot of this success would not be so without social media and the opportunities it presents for participants. Throughout the month we will see regularly updated photos of friends, colleagues and others that we follow at various stages of their mo growth. Some of us that do not have the ability to grow mo’s may even share these photos with our other connections, creating a potential reach that would never have existed before Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. We love photos and we love to share.
If you are a business, it is manna from heaven. You can get a team of managers and employees together and frequently post photos of them for the entertainment of your customers, peers and others that ‘Like’ or ‘Follow’ your business accounts. If you’re lucky, a photo or video may even go viral (hopefully for the right reasons) giving your company even greater ‘free’ publicity.
So what are the lessons that can be learnt from this perfect triple match?
For other not-for-profits
Make it fun and make it visual:
- Make sure that any ideas for fundraising campaigns are a good fit with your organisation’s mission and values.
- Ensure participant activities are easy to undertake and don’t require elaborate set-ups.
- Encourage participants to take photos that can be posted on their social media timelines with reference to the cause they are supporting.
Cause marketing is a great way to raise awareness but don’t overdo it:
- Choose a cause that is well-matched to your business or its employees.
- Don’t update your followers too often so that it starts being viewed as spam.
- Never try to piggyback on the cause to overtly promote your own products or services unless it has been agreed to with your chosen charity beforehand.