A major criticism leveled against for-profit companies is that they will only spend money when they believe it will benefit them financially. Of course, this view is extremely narrow, and likely is not even applicable to the vast majority of companies, who also make some decisions because they view these as being socially responsible, even if there is no obvious financial benefit for them.
One way we see this done is through so-called Cause Marketing. As the term suggests, Cause Marketing involves activities intended to align a company or a product with a specific cause. Here is a terrific example of such an alignment. As discussed in this New York Times story, leading food marketer, General Mills, is using Cause Marketing with its Green Giant brand. The cause is the prevention of bullying in schools and Green Giant is supporting this with print and online video ads. As noted in the story, the primary target market for this message is moms, who are also the key market for their products.
Additionally, this story presents a highly intriguing statistic. To show how valuable Cause Marketing can be, the story notes that when two competitive products are perceived as similar in terms of quality and price, 53% of customers will buy from the brand that is perceived as supporting social issues.