Seriously Social, an analysis of social-driven case studies by marketing consultant Peter Field, indicates that linking a brand with a broader purpose or cause can be a powerful approach and can lead to better long-term results than story-led strategies.
In the report, Field analyses case studies from the Warc Prize for Social Strategy, a global competition for examples of social ideas that drive business results. The competition defined social strategy as any activity designed to generate participation, conversation, sharing or advocacy.
Field was able to compare the impact of campaigns that associated a brand with a good cause, with the impact of those that built a story around a brand.
He found that media usage for cause-driven campaigns was more strongly focused on online, WOM/earned media and traditional advertising channels (excluding TV). Brand story campaigns, in contrast, made wider use of media channels and, as they were more likely to be short-term campaigns, included much more activation.
These patterns had an impact on subsequent effectiveness. "Cause-driven campaigns are more strongly associated with business effects," Field stated, a finding that became even clearer when stripping non-profit campaigns out of the calculation.
The business effectiveness of cause driven-campaigns was found to increase markedly over time, whereas that of brand story campaigns did not.
"Again, this is a reflection of the short-term outlook of the latter group," Field said, who suggested that conclusions about effectiveness drawn over a period of less than six months would underplay the true strength of cause-driven campaigns.
In fact, not only were cause-driven campaigns better at delivering business effects they also generated greater numbers of brand effects once the non-profits were removed from the equation.
Peter Field will be discussing his top five takeaways from this in-depth analysis of the world's most effective social media campaigns in a webinar on Wednesday 29th October at 3pm, GMT. More details and registration are available here.
Data sourced from Warc