Promoting Causes During Back to School Achieves Social Profitability

Retailers use the busy shopping period to drive sales and awareness

The back-to-school period continues to gain importance and is second only to the December holidays as the busiest shopping period of the year. With that in mind, many retailers are stepping up their Q3 marketing and promotion efforts on behalf of their favourite charities and causes to gain Social Profitability.

In an already crowded marketplace, with retailers vying for parents’ and kids’ attention and dollars, adding a cause-driven initiative to a back-to-school promotion sets them apart and makes perfect sense.

We recently took note of a few local retailers and national shopping centre developers that took advantage of this with cause-driven campaigns.

Shopping centre owner and operator, Cadillac Fairview launched the “We Stand with WE” campaign, part of CF’s new youth leadership-focused philanthropy program. This includes $500,000 in donations to 14 regional charities nationwide and a $600,000 donation to United Way Toronto and York Region’s Youth Success Strategy program.

With a focus on the back-to-school period, CF retail properties erected interactive “pledge walls”. Participants were encouraged to learn about five causes: education, health, hunger, environment, shelter, and take the “WE Pledge” to show their support. Those who took selfies in front of the pledge wall, tagged #WhoWillYouBe and posted to social media, received an enamel pin aligned to the cause they pledged to support.

Cadillac Fairview’s Toronto Eaton Centre recently opened WE’s first bricks-and-mortar store, marking the first time CF has donated long-term retail space to a charitable partner. The store sells socially conscious goods from Me to We, the social enterprise arm of WE.

North American real estate and property management company, Morguard brought attention to the issues surrounding self-esteem with a national social cause marketing campaign called BeYou, supported by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada.

BeYou is a multi-faceted social cause marketing campaign designed to provide young girls between the ages of 9 – 14 with better access to developmental tools that will empower them to achieve their goals and embrace their skills in this media and technology driven age. The primary focus is on bringing awareness and helping girls increase self-esteem, personal growth and self-worth.
Morguard’s campaign reached out directly to young girls through their community shopping centres, seen as local hubs for families. Local ambassadors, workshops and events took place in each of the 21 communities where Morguard super regional and regional enclosed shopping centres operate.

In addition, several national initiatives were planned, backed by the Program Ambassador for #BeYou, television personality Erin Cebula, who went on location for several launch events and provided extensive social media involvement. Morgard’s social media reach extends to more than 1.8 million.

Understanding that even one local store has the power to make a difference, Toronto retailer Over The Rainbow revived their annual Denim Drive in support of Out of the Cold Foundation. In its fourth year, customers were asked once again to bring in a pair of gently used denim to receive $25 off a new pair. As an added incentive, a bonus draw ran during the drive for a free pair of jeans. All donated pants, and additional cash contributions, were generously donated to Out of the Cold Foundation, an organization dedicated to providing food, clothing and shelter to the homeless in Toronto.

Creative from Over the Rainbow's Denim Drive event.

Creative from Over the Rainbow’s Denim Drive event.

Being strategic about the timing and target of a cause campaign can be –
So Worth It!

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