Last Friday, Procter & Gamble's Jim Stengel said the company plans to stick to its guns regarding "purpose branding," or building-brand propositions with cause-marketing overlays, according to Ad Age. Stengel said "It's more important than ever" amid turmoil in financial markets and growing consumer fear. "I would argue maybe we wouldn't be in such a mess if we were more purpose-centered in more organizations around the world."
The notion that small acts accumulate to achieve a greater good has a great deal of currency now. So cause marketing should hold up as a promotional premise. Why? The gas and credit crises are waking people up to the reality that they cannot separate themselves from these problems. Buying P & G products or shopping at Target helps people fit "the greater good" into their busy lives. I daresay, purchases without a cause overlay may leave consumers feeling empty, even a little guilty.
A while back, I posted research from Duke University that foresaw a decline in cause-marketing based on a survey of Chief Marketing Officer's who saw it as a frill. That was before the financial crisis. It'd be interesting to see what thay might say now. Perhaps CMO's are ready for some awakening.