Canadians are Cause Marketing Leaders

Canadian brands who do “good” are likely to perform “well” with consumers.

Cause marketing, or cause-related marketing, refers to marketing that involves a partnership between a brand and a non-profit organization. Typically, the brand ties its marketing strategy to the fundraising needs of a charitable cause for the benefit of both parties. Cause marketing goes beyond one-time charitable donations, and can involve active participation on the part of the brand.

Canadians in particular are very open to companies and causes and they will consider a wide variety of ways to engage, and want details of the impact these corporate initiatives make. According to a study conducted by Ipsos Reid and the Cause Marketing Forum on Canadians’ attitudes towards corporate citizenship efforts, Canadian brands who do “good” are likely to perform “well” with consumers. In fact, 84% of Canadians claiming that they would likely switch brands to one affiliated with a good cause if price and quality were similar.

By the Numbers

The study also investigated which type of good causes Canadians think companies should support. Five came out on top: mental health (60%), poverty (60%), child-specific (57%), environmental (56%) and physical health (56%). When asked to weigh in on the level the initiative should be, a national (44%) and local (38%) scope was preferred over a global one (18%).

Examples of Canadian Corporate Citizenship

Tim Horton’s Camp Day

Tim Horton’s is the place where Canadians go for their daily coffee break.   Nearly every Canadian knows that each year on the first Wednesday of June franchisees donate 100% of coffee sales to the Tim Horton Children's Foundation.  The program is so popular that lines run out the door at many locations on Camp Day while raising millions of dollars each year. Since 1974, this and other fundraising programs have enable more than 180,000 disadvantaged youth to attend foundation-run summer camps.

Canadian Tire JumpStart 

As Canada's largest retailer Canadian Tire has focused its community outreach efforts to helping disadvantaged kids with the financial support they need to get involved in youth sports. Fundraising activities have helped over 1,900,000 kids with every dollar raised staying within communities.

Bell Let’s Talk

Since 2011, Bell Let's Talk initiative has raised millions in a broad variety of programs to break the silence around mental illness and support mental health.  Each year on Bell Let's Talk Day, the company gets millions of consumers involved by offering to donate 5 cents for every text, mobile call, and long distance call by its customers every tweet using #BellLetsTalk, and every Facebook share of the Bell Let’s Talk Day. 

Paul Coffey’s Shoot for Change

In 2018, teamed up with NHL Hall of Famer Paul Coffey and Canadian sponsors Canadian Tire, Booster Juice and World Gaming Network to create SHOOT FOR CHANGE, a socially responsible competition that inspired camaraderie and good works in the community. Thousands of participants from 140 teams registered across Canada were invited to compete in fun, impactful challenges that included donations, volunteer work and acts of kindness. Over 3000 challenges were completed including a donation made to JumpStart on behalf of the winning team to help underprivileged youth in their own community play hockey next year!

Benefits of Cause Marketing

The purpose of cause marketing is to increase exposure and awareness for both the brand and the non-profit organization. When cause marketing is effective, benefits can include:

  • An increase in brand loyalty

  • A boost in employee morale / company culture

  • An increase in sales

  • Positive press coverage and company reviews

  • Differentiation from the competition

One of the biggest potential benefits is a favourable public reputation. In fact, according to the 2018 Porter Novelli / Cone Purpose Premium Index Report, key findings include:

  • Purpose drives 13 percent of a company’s overall reputation

  • Companies with a strong reputation also have strong purpose scores. These scores move together for nearly nine-out-of-10 companies (88%) ranked

  • When it comes to what purpose attributes are most important to reputation, consumers prioritize companies that are responsible (86%), caring (85%), advocate for issues (81%), protect the environment (79%) and give back to important causes (73%)

  • Companies with a higher purpose ranking compared to their laggard peers will reap greater benefit as consumers are more likely to favour that company through trial, purchase and support of that company in their communities.

How to Implement Cause Marketing for your Brand

Whichever cause-related activity you choose, there is more to cause marketing than simply making a donation and posting it on social media. The key is to select a worthwhile cause based not only on the values of your intended audience, but also one that is tied to your values and is sincere. Here are some ideas to get you thinking in terms of doing good for the good of your business.

  • Join a structured giving campaign like Pledge  which is an easy way to leverage a portion of your success to support nonprofits in your community

  • Pick a charity and add a “make a donation” option to your checkout process

  • Launch a co-branded marketing campaign with a local non-profit for an upcoming event

  • Create a user-generated campaign on a cause marketing platform like

Boost your brand. Connect with customers. Build community bonds.

Canadians are ready to interact with their favourite brands and get meaningful recognition for their loyalty. Brands that contribute and associate their businesses with good causes, will help increase their brand reputation, while driving awareness, and engagement with consumers. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to do some good!