Cause marketing can be a demanding exercise in content creation and strategy. While drawing attention to a good cause makes for arguably some of the most worthwhile marketing, it’s also some of the hardest and most nuanced. This is because cause marketing must strike a delicate balance in tone in order to inspire consumers to action without creating a sense of desperation or greed. In other words, it needs to be genuine.
Unfortunately, the words ‘genuine’ and ‘marketing’ don’t always go together. In order to tap into both hearts and minds, the content needs to be informative enough so that the viewer understands the cause, but digestible enough that they find it easy and enjoyable to share with others. It has to be timely, so it can become a part of any larger conversation happening around the cause. And it needs to be relatable and relevant to the target audience, so they are inclined to engage with the message—and pass it along. With requirements like these, video is the only medium that can check all the boxes.
Recently, we saw a video nearly change the world (or at least Canada). Rescue Chocolate is a Brooklyn-based small business that donates 100% of its net profits from the company’s organic chocolate sales to animal rescue organizations. Last fall, the folks running this charitable (and delicious!) shop leveraged their passion for the cause and their social networks to bring attention to a cause that hit very close to home.
Last year, Montreal’s city council passed a bill placing severe restrictions on pit bull ownership and adoption that would have led to an increase in euthanizations for pitbulls in city shelters. As the story became national news overnight, Rescue Chocolate posted a video taking a stand against the bill. Over 360K views, nearly 10K shares and 518 comments later—this little SMB played an integral role in raising international awareness about the issue; the controversial portions of the bill have since been suspended.
So, how did it effectively communicate a genuine message that sparked such engagement?
1. It had a moment The bill was passed on the 28th of September, and Rescue Chocolate was able to respond the next day. By jumping into the story quickly as it was trending, they inserted to themselves into breaking news in an organic way.
2. It was short and sweet At just 30 seconds long, and with a focus on the dogs themselves from the outset, the video gets the message across without a lot of distraction.
3. It was dynamic The video starts with a mixture of static images and moving clips, including original images and stock photos. An emotional instrumental score adding gravity to the imagery.
4. It told a story The consequences of the bill are outlined in short, pointed blocks of text that don’t overwhelm the images and compel viewers to engage with the video even if it’s on silent auto-play.
5. It wasn’t meant to be perfect In order to keep its post timely, Rescue Chocolate opted for ‘fast’ being better than ‘perfect.’ Rather than take the time to outsource the project, the team used easy video-building tools and pre-existing content to bring this piece of marketing together in their own way.
When creating your next cause marketing video, remember to keep the Rescue Chocolate video in mind. It’s a good reminder that, no matter the medium, keeping your message genuine is the most important marketing tool you can have.
Cyndi Knapic is head of Animoto for Business. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.