Duke University
Kapa Oil Industries
Kendall Jenner
Kevin Munyao
Reteti Elephant Sanctuary
Tsavo East National Park

How cause-related sales drive boosts earnings

Studies show that such strategies can raise sales of a product by between 28 per cent and 74 per cent.

Research shows that associating a cause to a product can significantly drive consumer choice. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Manufacturing company, Kapa Oil Industries, is currently running a cause-related marketing campaign for its toilet cleaning brand Atilla. It will donate Sh5 for every bottle bought to Reteti Elephant Sanctuary, a conservation for orphaned elephants.Studies show that such strategies can increase sales of a product by between 28 per cent and 74 per cent when well executed.Atilla’s recommended retail price is Sh250 for the 500ml bottle. The campaign will now be more pronounced as it comes at a time when wildlife conservation in Kenya is under scrutiny following the death of 10 endangered black rhinos last month while being relocated to Tsavo East National Park from Nairobi and Nakuru parks.

“With this on top of the mind and the public outcry still ongoing, the brand is likely to win favour with consumers who will see it as an effort to save our wildlife.“They are likely to buy the product so that they can help the cause, also there are first time buyers who will be persuaded at the point of sale when making comparisons with products in the category,” said Kevin Munyao, an entrepreneur.A study conducted in 2008 by Duke University in the US on the impact of associating a cause to a product on the purchase behaviour of consumers found that it can significantly drive consumer choice.The researchers gave participants a regional magazine that exposed them to a cause-related and a generic advertisement for one of four focus brands: toothpaste and shampoo.They were then led to a convenient store and asked to buy a product in each of the categories. The results showed that there was a 74 per cent increase in actual purchase for a shampoo brand when associated with a cause and 28 per cent increase in purchase for a toothpaste brand when associated with a cause. “We carried out a second experiment by replicating the study online in order to validate the sales increases for the shampoo and toothpaste.“We found that consumers spent nearly twice as long reviewing cause-related advertisements compared to the general corporate ones. This resulted in a 19 per cent increase in sales for the toothpaste brand while the shampoo brand experienced about 14 per cent in sales among its target market of women,” reported the researchers.However, not all cause-related marketing campaigns are successful. Companies that associate their brand with a campaign, especially a sensitive one, risk a backlash and product boycott if consumers consider it as a public relations stunt in order to drive sales.“I would consider all cause-related marketing campaigns as a public relations stunt as they are part of their corporate social responsibility initiatives, but there are some that are too obvious that consumers dismiss them and refuse to take part in them or they lead to a public outcry,” said Mr Munyao. An example of a company that failed in its cause-related marketing campaign is global beverage maker Pepsi. In 2017, the company launched an advertisement that was supposed to symbolise unity in the US at a time when racial tension was high and protests were taking place regularly.It featured popular white model Kendall Jenner who left a photo-shoot in order to join a protest. She then handed an African-American protester a can of Pepsi and together they took a sip. This caused a huge backlash with consumers calling for the advert to be pulled down from YouTube as it was insensitive to race issues — which cannot be solved by a mere can of Pepsi.It was taken down within a day of its debut and the company apologised: “Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace, and understanding. Clearly, we missed the mark, and we apologise. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue,” the firm said.

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