Heather Schichtel

Holiday giving is emotional. Consumers scour the Internet on Cyber Monday for the perfect gift to wrap carefully under the tree waiting in anticipation as gifts are opened; “Do they like it? Did I pick well?”

Consumers like to feel good about their purchases, especially during the most wonderful time of the year. Science has shown that gift giving creates joy, happiness and even improves someone’s overall health.

Companies can compound this emotional connection even further by partnering with charitable causes and not-for-profit organizations. We’ve seen a trend in the industry where consumer loyalty increases when the brands consumers shop and engage with partner with charitable causes. For example, Love Your Melon has seen an increase in loyalty from their customers and have far surpassed their goals. The retailer had a goal of giving 45K hats to children with cancer and raising $1 million for pediatric cancer research. Today, Love Your Melon has distributed over 125K hats and has donated more than $4.3 million because their customers are emotionally connected to ‘the goodness’ of the company – their mission to help ill children.

Let’s take a look at some additional brands who are creating loyalty by giving back.

  • Make-A-Wish® and Macy’s: Macy’s does an excellent job with attracting customers through its philanthropic efforts. Each year, the retailer partners with the Make-A-Wish® foundation for Macy’s “National Believe Day” which includes letters to Santa Claus asking for their wishes to be granted. For each letter that’s submitted to Santa Claus, Macy’s donates $1 to the foundation. Macy’s has donated over $15 million to Make-A-Wish® and has helped to grant over 1,000 wishes as part of the believe campaign. When members see this partnership, it creates a sense of brand affinity, encouraging them to want to shop at Macy’s for their holiday gift purchases and beyond.
  • Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) and Subaru: The goal of the automobile manufacturer of Subaru far exceeds selling cars. They strive to ‘make the world a better place’ and this is reflected in “The Subaru Love Promise” - the company’s vision to “show love and respect to all people at every interaction while being dedicated to making the world a better place.” As part of this promise, Subaru has partnered with the LLS and the donors’ hearts are warmed as they learn that Subaru distributes blankets, messages of hope and arts and crafts kits to 70,000 patients in more than 400 hospitals through over 475 Subaru dealers.
  • Kellogg’s and Amazon: Last year, Kellogg’s launched their first digital food drive through Amazon. Consumers could click, ship and donate to Feeding America’s top food banks in the nation. In 2017, Kellogg’s donated 570 million servings of food. Pass the corn flakes!

As consumers become more savvy, these charitable partnerships can influence the consumer’s brand-choice decision. Similar to us humans, brands choose to partner with not-for-profit organizations as it expands beyond their business purpose of ‘selling’ to include a philanthropic focus and desire of wanting to give back. From leveraging Epsilon’s MarketView data, we help brands choose who to partner with regarding the charitable causes and how data can help to uncover/inform the right partnerships with the brands.

This article was originally published on Loyalty360.

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