Tomorrow morning, Sponsorship Marketing Council Canada (SMCC) is hosting the next edition of its monthly SMCC Toronto Breakfast Forum, and will for the first time focus the event on cause marketing. Moderator Mark Hierlihy of causemark, who conducts cause-related research and engagement strategies for charities and companies, will be joined on stage by cause marketing experts Landon French of Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities and Tania Little of Food Banks Canada.

TACK10 will be at the SMCC Breakfast and covering highlights through social media – but in preparation and anticipation of the event, here are our TACK10 Tuesday Top 5 Benefits of Cause Marketing Campaigns.

1. Differentiate your brand from others
In a saturated market, it is important to stay both relevant and unique as a brand. One impactful way to differentiate your brand from others in the same industry is to take a stance on an issue or cause, and act on it. Through cause marketing and aligning your brand with a particular charity or organization, you build a clear case for supporting not only the cause, but your brand over others.

2. Reach new audiences
In Canada, research shows that 79% of people support charitable causes, and a significant 91% of consumers would switch to a brand that supported the same causes they did. One way to broaden your audience base or target hard-to-reach segments is through a cause marketing campaign with an organization already visible to those segments. When a customer sees that your brand supports a cause they care about, they will be more likely to support your brand.

3. Drive sales
When you differentiate your brand and reach new audiences, there is a natural progression to higher sales. A cause marketing campaign itself can take a sales-related shape right from the outset. For example, an ongoing campaign between Food Banks Canada and French’s states that for every bottle of French’s ketchup purchased, one meal is donated to Food Banks Canada. Both sides of this cause partnership are benefitting from the sales of French’s ketchup. On average, companies see a 25% increase in sales from a cause marketing campaign.

4. Keep your employees engaged
While it is a great goal to engage with customers, it is not enough to simply stop there. Engagement should come from within the company as well. Engaged employees become loyal employees. Think about yourself as an example – when you care deeply about a specific project, you are more likely to work hard at that project, and more likely to want your brand as a whole to succeed.

5. Set yourself up for a long-term strategic partnership
Engaging in a cause marketing campaign with a cause your brand values can be the catalyst to a great long-term relationship. In cause marketing, both the brand and the charity or organization benefit from the campaign – and the same is to be said for strategic partnerships. So long as both sides are seeing value being created from engaging in cause marketing, there should be no reason to end the relationship at the end of the campaign. Treat cause marketing as a true partnership, and see the value in evolving with your cause partner.