Social marketing is a strategy in which the company associates its image with relevant causes and values for society, thus gaining credibility and public sympathy. However, not all companies know how to take advantage of this tool.
More than doing a good deal, customers demand an active stance from organizations in favour of society. As a result, those that ignore this demand can harm themselves in the public eye—and miss out on opportunities and sales.
Find out what social marketing is and why to invest in this strategy!
What Is Social Marketing?
Social marketing is a strategy in which the company associates its image with social causes that promote the well-being of a group or community, thus building a positive identity for the public.
Adopting different strategies, these companies use their power (economic and notoriety) to promote organizations and initiatives that promote beneficial actions in society. In this way, they build a favorable image in the eyes of the public as benefactors of their community.
In general, companies seek to associate with the most different social causes, such as:
- I respect the LGBTQIAP+ community;
- Respect for black and indigenous people / in favour of the anti-racist struggle;
- Respect and inclusion of people with disabilities/accessibility;
- Care for children and adolescents;
- Care for the elderly ;
- Beware of pets;
- The environment in general / sustainability;
- The incentive to culture;
- The incentive to sport;
- Incentives to religious expressions;
- The incentive to popular expressions;
- Re-socialization of persons deprived of liberty;
- Welcoming immigrants;
- In addition to other values, such as family, and ethics, among others.
Investing in different forms of marketing is a great way to reach and conquer other audiences, which are little influenced by traditional advertising strategies. Rather than “pushing” a product or service, this type of disclosure presents the company as a positive force in society, trustworthy and concerned with the population’s well-being.
Organizations that specialize in this type of marketing, such as the third sector and social entities, which work directly with causes relevant to society in general and need this tool to continue to exist and impact their reality.
However, any business can benefit from adopting social marketing.
What Is The Importance Of Social Marketing?
Society has changed profoundly in recent decades. New technologies, behaviors, worldviews, priorities… So many spheres have been changing over time, and this movement has influenced people’s relationships with each other and even with companies.
Certain subjects gained strength in debates and collective values — such as diversity, sustainability and ethics — and began to be expected (and demanded) from organizations, which has transformed the relationship between companies and society.
To stand out and consolidate its image in the market for a large audience, it is not enough for a business to have the best products and services or to delight its customers: it needs to play a positive role in its communities and society in general.
Thus, ignoring this natural movement of society means missing important opportunities and losing space in the market. It means failing to build a solid and trusting relationship with the public, which, after all, contributes to improving sales and customer loyalty.
At first, investing in social marketing may seem complicated. But, to a greater or lesser extent, any business can apply this strategy.
How To Implement Social Marketing?
Many variables can enter into this dynamic, such as the company’s budget, supported cause, and partners. However, in general, some precautions make all the difference in adopting this strategy efficiently:
Choose The Cause Carefully
It is important that the social cause embraced by the company has to do with its values and organizational culture, even so, that there is no conflict of interest. You would hardly see a butcher shop supporting vegan initiatives, for example.
It is also necessary to assess the social causes and positions most accepted by the target public of the business and its current customers, avoiding friction and unnecessary embarrassment.
Support From/With The Truth
It’s easy to find out when a company says it supports a social cause, but its actions don’t support that value. Even more so in times of social media, a message contesting your positioning can go viral very quickly and damage your brand image.
Therefore, when investing in a cause, it is essential to take seriously what it means and guide every company to match its agenda. Otherwise, it will fall into contradiction and lose credibility in the eyes of the public. A company claiming to value the environment cannot invest in others involved in deforestation actions, for example.
Invest In Research, Planning And Partnerships
You can only do efficient and impactful social marketing with planning and taking care. It is necessary to have objectives, goals, schedules, indicators, contracts, and other controls to guide actions to the right path, positively impacting society and the imagination of customers.
It is also important to research ways to turn all this planning into practical actions. This process is fundamental in getting to know credible NGOs and initiatives related to the chosen social cause and discovering how the company can add to its activities.
Some companies use incentive laws — for culture, sports, in support of children, adolescents and the elderly — to associate their image with positive initiatives. This legal mechanism allows them to donate a portion of their income tax to social organizations, actions and events and receive compensation from those responsible.
This return can come from promoting the brand and sponsorship, courses and special activities for employees and the company’s internal public, among many other possibilities agreed upon between the parties.