Cause Marketing and Cultural Movement Selling

Cause marketing is growing. Movements are afoot. Our culture is changing. The “establishment” is considered by many to be evil—or at least irrelevant. And cultural movements and cause marketing become more amplified in an election year cycle when stoked by the masses. It’s an unfolding of history before our eyes and it’s an opportunity for marketers to learn the nuance of positioning and selling during an era of cultural movements.

Uprisings like we’re seeing today can spill over into how we’re perceived and how we sell. Whether its cause marketing, politics, or issue-oriented policy, marketers have an opportunity to seize the moment by leveraging the relentless news cycles that keep cultural movements front and center. 

So what is cause marketing and cultural movement marketing? Some define it as grabbing an idea rising in our culture, and adapting a strategy that ties it to your product or service with a positioning (or repositioning) of who you are. 

With movement marketing, you start with an idea that is relevant to a significant group of people in the culture. Then you cleverly, and with authenticity, tie it back to your brand.

When you spot a new cultural movement afoot, you have an opportunity to mine it for your marketing purposes. Individuals engaged in cultural movement are passionate about a cause. A high degree of emotion drives decision-making in ways that are distinct from those when the temperature is more moderate.

By inspiring people to rise up for your idea you can tap tremendous power—or more precisely, passion—by creating a values-based community. Through your skillful use of social media, these people can help you grow. 

With an uprising of change, you can join and fuel the movement to attract potential, new, raving fans. But be aware that success may depend on repositioning your organization. Of course, your brand must align with the mindset of the cultural movement. You can’t fool consumers, especially those who are passionate and spread messages on social media.

Finally, consider that if you don’t respond to cause marketing and a shift in culture, you could become the “establishment” brand. There’s nothing wrong with that, and maybe that’s exactly where you should be. But make sure you know the values of your audience, and evaluate if being an “establishment” brand is the lane you want to be positioned in.


Gary Hennerberg

After a lot of years in marketing and sales, this is what I know works:

Stories sell. Think unique. Stimulate emotion. Close deals. And here are a few other gems from my new book, “Crack the Customer Mind Code.” Know the persona, interpret your offer and let your prospect give themselves permission to buy. That’s how the brain is wired. It’s how people think.

What else? When I’m not breaking down complex topics (or ones marketers over-complicate) into easy-to-grasp stories that sell, I crunch numbers. Manage projects. Write. Teach. Lead.