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The Marketing of ‘Good’- Cause or Care?

BY ROSS MOLLOY, Lead, Consumer Journey Design, Client Solutions AND RABE IYER, CEO, WAVEMAKER MENA

As Philip Kotler said, “In the future there will only be good companies because a bad company can’t survive very long.” In todays corporate world shareholder primacy is the order of the day and profits per quarter have taken precedence over the long-term interests of many organizations. Business growth is the mandate that must be delivered, and every dollar spent must prove effective in achieving this goal. So how are companies putting the greater good ahead of their self-interest? “Cause Marketing” has been widely adopted by brands to serve as a bridge to emotionally reach consumers with a meaningful message while they pursue their commercial objectives in parallel. Causes are easy to select and position against or stand behind, so many brands dive in and think solely about signaling versus demonstrating their values in action. It is a tactical tightrope that unless it’s perfectly executed can lead to mixed results and can harden skepticism, with 57 per cent of people believing that brands are supporting these said causes based on popularity, not genuine
commitment (You Gov).

In contrast, brands that have a clear purpose, vision and values are found to grow brand value 2.5 times more than brands with low perceived impact according to WPP/ Kantar BrandZ brand value tracker study. When
everyone is talking about the good that they do, purpose led brands help to deliver real value, meaning and transform change through offering tangible value to improve their consumers lives.

At Wavemaker our role as an agency partner is designed to service our client needs to ensure their brands grow. We build our competences around servicing them in a rapidly changing landscape while monitoring cost efficiencies and supplying a readiness of talent and expert capability. To manage our outputs, we offshore
specialist services to markets outside of the Mena region. This practice of having certain job functions done outside the company is a necessary action that helps us meet the challenges of the present, but will it build our sustainable advantage as an agency ready to lead in the future?

Our Wavemaker manifesto is “Let’s make the future”. It declares how we shape tomorrow will be vital to our
success. It’s a purpose not a cause and it requires us to live it, to get involved and most importantly act it out. We have to ‘care’. Care Marketing has conviction to consistently perform in the face of change while creating a clear path to sustainability in the market. To execute our care marketing promise we must find a balance between productive vs voracious capitalism and value extraction versus value creation. Responsible companies need to be realistic about the ‘good’ they want to create and be a part of. The pillars of ‘Care Marketing’ rest on business, human and environmental sustainability, where no one pillar can exist without the other as they are intrinsically connected. For example, a quick service restaurant chain would risk its business sustainability if it over indexes on human sustainability and shifts its entire menu to organic.

To be truly effective, Care Marketing must focus on the who and the when and not just the why. We commit to a people-based approach where we invest in resourcing our growth engine versus outsourcing our services to steady our costs. To prepare our Future Makers for the new breed of media demands we will bring learning,
certification and qualification to the core of their development. We will deploy an extensive training and development program to equip our market teams with the hard skills of digital tactics such as biddable, search marketing and analytics as well as diagnosing our Purchase Journey prowess to spot problems and opportunities and translate them into growth with our leading-edge solutions.

We plan to extend this program to grass-roots level bringing media courses to schools and curriculums to help educate and recruit multiskilled talent from the region, reward them with stable income and fixed employment as we build the future.

Wavemaker’s commitment to care marketing extends fluidly into the work we create for our clients too. In the UK we needed to address the alarming statistic that only 44% of mums are still breastfeeding after 8 weeks to reduce the load on the NHS from reductions in childhood infections and breast cancer. We created the first bespoke breastfeeding voice assistant to run on connected home and mobile devices called ‘Start4Life
Breastfeeding Friend’. We analyzed the data from relevant chatbots to unpick the FAQ’s that new mums cared about and partnered with Mumsnet to deliver the scale required to make an impact. Breastfeeding Friend quickly became Amazon Echo’s default answer to any breastfeeding query, meaning that that any breastfeeding questions would be answered by the voice assistant we built.

At Wavemaker we want to be purpose driven and socially conscious to deliver more value, have more meaning for our people and create meaningful change for our client’s businesses, their customers, and society at large. The marketing for good is gold, when you care.

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