Tips for Cause-Marketing: What We Can Learn from Stella Artois

by Belfort Group | Consumer , Nonprofit , Thought Leadership
February 16, 2018

“Can I offer you a drink?” Stella Artois is not only in the business of crafting beer, it’s also helping others.

In a recent Super Bowl ad starring Matt Damon, Stella Artois used its time slot in conjunction with, an organization dedicated to providing clean drinking water for those in developing countries, to promote its new partnership. The 30-second ad promoted a special limited-edition Stella Artois chalice and claimed each purchase would help provide water for one person in a developing country for five years. Since the ad on average cost $5 million dollars to premiere, the content needed to be perfect.

Social media users, and even NPR, were skeptical of the claim and asked a valid question — how does buying one chalice (that will contribute only $3 to the organization) give someone clean water for five years? Stella attempted to reply to the skeptics on social media by responding with links to relevant information, but consumers were still left with questions after visiting the sites.

In their “Tap” campaign, Stella Artois and certainly generated attention for their partnership, and in doing so, needed to have a robust and readily available stream of facts on social media and on their website. This situation demonstrated how important clear, factual messaging can be for cause-marketing. To help your organization stand out in positive ways, here are a few tips on crafting messaging that mobilizes people to donate:

1. Be Concise and Easy to Understand

Every organization’s campaign requires an “elevator pitch”—a short message about your campaign and why people should participate. Often elevator pitches are way too long and complicated. Finding the right words to describe your organization that encompasses all your good work can be difficult, but it’s important to keep your messaging brief, clear and to the point. Stella Artois’ commercial didn’t include the correct information to make its elevator pitch clear to everyone. We suggest answering these four questions in three sentences max: What does your organization do? Who are you helping? Why should someone care? and How can people get involved?

2. Be Factual but Not Overwhelming

Stella Artois wanted to keep its information simple and to the point, focusing more on the emotional aspects of the campaign. Unfortunately, it didn’t explain the mechanics of how the campaign worked. When Stella Artois tried to explain, the information given was unclear and confusing. When you begin a campaign for your nonprofit, there may be multiple statistics or pieces of information that you believe your donors will want to know. While people appreciate the facts, donors generally respond better to stories that illustrate the facts along with information about how your organization has enabled this good work to happen. In your ongoing marketing and fundraising, always pepper in the facts, but stay focused on telling emotional stories that support your mission. Give donors a way to engage after hearing the story so they can inspire others.

3. Connect the Dots for Donors

When asking for donations, there needs to be a clear connection between how your organization is using the money and the impact it will have on constituents. Stella Artois attempted to explain how selling the chalice would help those who need clean drinking water but its audience was not convinced. Consumers were confused on how a $3 donation could provide so much water for so long a period. By not clearly articulating the value proposition, viewers were not convinced that their contribution would be significant. Remember, to enroll others in your cause, consumers need to believe they are helping in a significant way.

4. Look Outside Your Organization

As with any organization, those closest to the work can sometimes lose sight of the truly important elements of the campaign will appeal to the public. When developing key messaging, it is crucial to involve individuals outside of your organization, like volunteers, donors and Board Members, to review your messaging. Stella Artois could have benefited from an outside perspective, someone who might have noticed the flaws in their messaging. Seeking outside opinions will give you deeper insights and ensure your campaign speaks to target audiences.

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