Abstract

Abstract:

The polarization of consumer reactions to many social causes today, such as women's rights, transgender rights, racial justice, climate change, and the environment, makes cause marketing riskier and more complex than it has been in the past. The research study reported here highlights the nature and importance of authenticity in messaging and provides data from 28 marketing professionals about how to do cause marketing effectively, avoiding pitfalls that may alienate consumers. The study finds that the characteristics of authenticity that marketing professionals find most important in today's environment of cause-related marketing efforts are different from the characteristics of authenticity in more general environments—those not related to these contemporary social causes. Moreover, cause marketing has become widespread in our economy and is a reflection of changes in values, mores, and attitudes in society. In spite of the risks of cause marketing, the professionals in this sample believe it is worth the effort.

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