Scientific Breakthrough in Cause Marketing?

Results of a study published recently in the Journal of Science may have significant implications for marketers of philanthropic causes or charities as well as companies that align themselves with nonprofits via cause-related marketing campaigns. In the study, subjects participating in an experiment experienced activation of “pleasure centers” in the brain when they learned that money had been transferred from their bank account to a local food bank. The response elicited is similar to experiences such as eating sweets, engaging in social interactions, and sex.

So, what does this mean for marketers? For marketers of philanthropic causes or charities, it could have significant impact on how their organizations should be positioned and the design of advertising messages intended to influence giving. Strategies that seek to link philanthropic support to the benefits of support enjoyed by the giver may be used rather than a more traditional approach of emphasizing benefits received by the cause or charity. Likewise, companies that create cause-linked promotions for their brands can create marketing messages that paint a picture of consumers feeling good (self-image impact) in tandem with the knowledge that they are helping support a company’s social responsibility initiatives. Turns out that cause marketing is not only good, it is also good for you! Link