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Philanthropic marketing is gaining traction as consumers set greater store in brands that they perceive to be socially responsible. They are willing to pay more for their products and form stronger relationships with these brands. Popimedia’s Gil Sperling believes this type of marketing not only allows for exceptional returns, but also creates greater emotional engagement with consumers.

“The foundation of any brand should be to add value for its customers. Over time, by getting adding value, consumers begin to forge a deep level of trust with the brands they use consistently. Brands that are seen to be acting in the best interests of consumers, the economy and the environment create an even deeper level of trust, which is critical for the sustenance of the brand,” Sperling explains. “Think of it as karma,” he says. “The more the brand gives back, the greater the consumer loyalty it builds.”

Consumers’ purchasing decisions are never rational; they are based on emotion and consumers will choose brands that fit their values and lifestyles. In a depressed economic environment, where price is not a differentiator and the technical attributes of products don’t do much to create a point of difference either, the brands that win are those that support causes that are close to the hearts of consumers – making them feel they are doing something for their world.

Sperling uses the recent P&G campaign, #runlikeagirl, as an example. “The campaign was used to advertise Always. Instead of promoting the product itself, the brand used the campaign to align itself to the support of gender equality and women’s rights, with extremely successful results. A campaign like this resonates hugely with consumers and ultimately helps to build the brand,” he says.

All indications are that marketing with a purpose is the next step in the evolution of marketing. Popimedia recently announced that it will be adding the capacity to run “brands with purpose” philanthropic campaigns on its meedee8 platform. “It has been proven that creating brands which stand for a cause is the right way to sell in today’s market. The user is given the opportunity either to give back via purchasing that particular brand of product, or to feel good because the brand supports a cause that they feel passionately about, which really is the best way to resonate with consumers,” says Sperling.

As marketing evolves, brands become smarter and become an integral part of the lives of consumers as they forge deeper connections with them. “Philanthropic marketing was a theme we initially saw at Cannes last year and the trend is growing. Research has shown that brands associated with an act of giving or standing for a cause create deeper partnerships and relationships with consumers,” he concludes.

The big take-out: The brands that are successfully differentiating themselves in the market are those that are seen by consumers to be supporting causes they feel passionately about. Consumers are willing to pay more for these brands.

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