Pet businesses are run by and supported by pet parents, who have some of the biggest hearts and some of the most flexible pocketbooks when it comes to the pets and animals they love. Pet people are loving, affectionate, compassionate souls, who want to help the world around them. Adopting pets and caring for other is just a few of the ways of doing that. Giving to worthy causes and organizations that are otherwise out of their reach but close to their hearts is another. According to one study, over 90% of Millennials would switch brands to one associated with a cause. However, this applies to customers of all ages who are more willing than ever to put their money where their hearts are.

In a world where every business idea has at least one other competing business, there’s no room to miss out on the half of the population that leads with their hearts. Fortunately, the steps to incorporating social responsibility into your small business operations and marketing are easy.

  1. Make It Authentic. The cause that your company chooses to support should feel like a relevant choice to your business. For example, if your business sells pet products, a good choice would probably be to support pet adoption or some other related cause.
  2. In your search for relevant and authentic causes to support, be sure to do some research on all your options to ensure that they are reputable organizations. You should also decide at this time whether you want to support a local or global cause. This should be determined by how and where you do business. If you are a mom and pop shop, then a local organization would probably be your best option. However, if you are an online retailer that does business all over the world, you may want to consider a larger, more global cause to support.
  3. Determine Your Commitment. Once you’ve chosen an authentic cause, it’s important to decide how your business is going to support it. Are you going to donate a set amount at regular intervals, a certain percentage of a particular line of products, or would you rather contribute in a different way, such as volunteering or sponsoring an event held by the organization?
  4. Engage Your Customers. Part of the joy in giving back is sharing your big heart with your clients and business associates. Encourage them to support the cause you support. This will help you develop a mutual bond that will further strengthen and build your relationship with your customers, ensuring their loyalty to you and your brand.
  5. Promote Your Social Responsibility. Promote you involvement with your chosen cause by weaving it into your social media, product development, advertising, packaging, email marketing, and even in your public relations. Local media love hearing about companies that give back to the community.

There are many companies in the world that have successfully intertwined their brand or product with a cause, but these three cause-marketing campaigns were voted to be the greatest ones yet, and the best part is that all three causes are animal related.

  1. In 2007, Coca Cola joined forced with the World Wildlife Fund to help protect and preserve polar bears in their natural habitats, creating an interactive donation platform called Arctic Home. It allows consumers to see polar bears in the midst of their daily lives and contributes to the campaign. Coca Cola uses all of their marketing efforts, including multi-media, social media plug-ins, and even photos of baby polar bears, to raise nearly $2 Million dollars for the Arctic Home project.
  2. Dawn dish soap took advantage of the oil spills in the gulf when it came out as the reigning hero of affected animals. The Dawn Saves Wildlife campaign has shown the world over how Dawn is used by countless wildlife organizations to help remove oil from aquatic animals after catastrophic spills. The company’s fully interactive online campaign educates people on how Dawn saves lives, allows a consumer to donate directly, and watch videos. They’ve even harnessed the power of social media and online sharing with promotional giveaways and a real-time animal rescue counter. Dawn shows how a business’s social media-powered cause marketing campaign is the perfect way to rally consumers and save the world, one furry friend at a time.
  3. The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund not only issues grants to fund wildlife and habitat conservation, but also provides direct support through programs like Disney Animals and mobile apps like Where’s My Water? Both encourage the protection of sea turtles and other wildlife, and even provide interactive maps to show where and how contributors are making a difference.

The true power of cause marketing for any business, whether pet related or not, is the realization that we are all part of one world, and we must share and protect our resources together. Most consumers are highly aware of this, and that’s why business owners must rise to their demand of social responsibility and meet it head and heart on.

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