December 5, 2011

Second Look at Linkages to Charities and Social Causes

A leading Jewish community advocate asked me why more kosher food companies do not link their promotions and marketing with a given cause or charity.  A look back over the last 5-10 years shows that here and there such efforts were made but they were far and in between.  Manischewitz adopted Jewish Heritage Month while Osem contributed a part of its sales to the Jewish National Fund (JNF) for the planting of more trees in Israel.  There is good reason for food purveyors to take another look at the potential for increased sales through such promotions.  Research shows that it is a strategy that resonates well with consumers.

According to data from Cone Communications, a public relations and marketing agency specializing in cause branding and corporate responsibility, an overwhelming 94 percent of consumers are likely to switch brands, about equal in price and quality, to one that supports a social issue.  Eight out of ten respondents (81 percent) would donate to a charity supported by a company they trust, if given the opportunity; 70 percent say they have already made a donation in the past year.

With Chanukah just around the corner and the lucrative Passover season looming, this may be the ideal time to revisit the possibility of a linkage program.  One of the tricky exercises is to select a charity or cause that is popular with a broad base of consumers, but in today’s universe of need, there are many such causes that are ripe for the picking. The research shows that a successful program that is properly marketed can lead to as much as a 20% increase in sales, often well worth the additional investment of promoting the program. I would like to see companies evaluate participating in such causes as Jewish education, Jewish poverty, support for families coping with a child’s terminal illness and more. If enough companies join the bandwagon, it will contribute to yet another big feather in ko4sher’s cap.