Creating popular awareness for their cause, raising funds and attracting a large base of backers are some the chief objectives that drive the marketing and communication strategies of social good brands. Unlike the consumer brands, most often than not they don’t have big budgets and resources to marshal for stellar marketing campaigns. In India many social good brands (especially non-profits) are averse to marketing their cause beyond some innocuous activities on social media. This stands in contrast to the aggressive outreach efforts of many Non-profits in the West.
For a majority of Social Good Brands, marketing monies are limited, and hence their promotion efforts need to be sharp, and focused on garnering high level of engagement with target audience. Here are 4 tried and tested communication strategies recommended for social good brands to gain more followers and attract potential backers.
I. Be Real, Use Visual Storytelling and Keep Your Narrative Conversational
Target audiences need to see positive proof of your cause before they back it. While advertising romanticizes a brand’s efforts it’s equally important to stay real and informal. This necessitates visual storytelling approach in communication strategy. Visually centered communications convey on the ground reality and strike a chord with your viewers better than traditional advertising. According to HubSpot, content with compelling visual elements and graphics can generate up to 94% more views and 37% more engagement. Every piece of visual content you make should incorporate a clear call for action- Donate, Volunteer or Share to steer the audience towards taking the next step.
Charity:Water has mastered the art of visual storytelling in the way they communicate with their donors thus spending close to zero dollars on traditional advertising. They rely heavily on creative use of visuals on social media and word of mouth marketing to get their donors to participate in fund raising. Charity:water is the most followed Nonprofit on Twitter with over 1 million followers and have close to 300,000 followers On Facebook.
II. Encourage User Generated Content
User generated content creates a strong social proof of a brand’s value to its consumers. This is particularly true for Product-based Social Good Brands. Egging your customers to mention, write or share photos of their usage of your brand creates trust towards the brand. This marketing strategy sits well with the objective of most social good brands to encourage mass movements for social impact than just to boost sales.
Toms Shoes in its campaign One Day Without Shoes, urged consumers to go barefoot to raise awareness for what it’s like to live without shoes, and motivated the participants to show their support by posting photos of their bare feet on Instagram using the hashtag #withoutshoes. TOMS Shoes donated a new pair of shoes for every barefoot photo uploaded using the hashtag between May 5 and May 21 2015. This campaign resulted in 296,243 children receiving shoes.
III. Plan Innovative Offline Activities to Reach Masses
Nothing connects better, than personal interaction. On the ground promotional activities like exhibitions, expos, fundraiser campaigns and street plays help you to not only foster fruitful relationships with prospective donors & supporters but also to generate mass awareness for your cause.
Barbells for Boobs, an organization dedicated to raising funds and awareness for the early detection of breast cancer, launched their fourth annual Pink Bra Tour to interface with supporters and communities across the country. While on their trek, the organization documented supporters’ personal stories through their social channels, thereby attracting loyal followers. Their Instagram page has been brimming with a strong 30k follower base post this tour.
IV. Send Out Well Crafted Emails
Emails are the best way to keep your stakeholders updated. They are personal, direct and it’s very easy to track their effectiveness. Research puts email marketing as the 2nd most preferred communication tool by Nonprofits with monthly email newsletters as the popular choice of reaching out to donors.
LiNK (Liberty in North Korea) sends out an email series dedicated to sharing real stories about the people they rescue. These stories are supported with real photos that incite responses and engagement from the recipients.
Marketing and communication managers of Social Good Brands may have limited budgets but they are certainly not limited by creative ways of reaching out to their target audience. The central question is if they have the mindset to do so.