Making a difference

While listening to a well-known classical radio station today, I heard an advertisement for a leading alcoholic spirits brand, informing me that if I bought one of their bottles, a donation would be made to the ‘Help for Heroes’ charity.
The creative idea was that this is an easier way to donate than some of the strenuous or risky fund-raising techniques like sky-diving etc. – all good stuff I thought.
But then we got to the numbers – for each purchase (typically around £15 I think); the brand is going to donate 10p to the charity. Now, on a national level it’s a big brand selling lots of bottles, so I can easily imagine that the total donation would be quite a sizeable amount for which ‘Help for Heroes’ would be very grateful. But on an individual level, it didn’t seem very much to me.
As my thoughts wandered, a phrase came to mind – ‘making a difference’. I have often heard it used in connection with voluntary activities and donations to charity, but I also think it’s a great test of marketing activity.
Every piece of marketing investment should be intended to make a difference – if not, why are we doing it? Will it make a difference to what people think, or what they do? Ideally, the latter, but sometimes we need to change thinking to make behaviour change possible.
So, to return to the spirits promotion – does it pass the ‘make a difference’ test? As mentioned previously, there is likely to be a significant total donation to the charity so for the trustees and the people the charity helps, it should make a difference. For the customer? Will a promised 10p donation make me feel better about myself? Will it make me feel differently about the brand? Will it change my behaviour – will I switch to the brand, buy more or be more loyal?
So a challenge to ourselves – before we spend the next chunk of the marketing budget; do we know what difference it is intended to make and how we will measure the results?
If that all sounds too difficult, just pick up a bottle of the right brand at the supermarket, pour yourself a drink(*) and relax in the knowledge that you’re helping to make a difference in another way.
Happy investing,
(*) For the avoidance of doubt – Aardvark Marketing Consultants promote responsible drinking