To most people CRM stands for ‘client relationship marketing’ and is a vitally important topic I have written about on a number of times. There is another lesser-known CRM, which stands for ‘cause-related marketing’, which is about connecting one organisation with a non-profit organisation or charity for the purposes of mutual benefit. That connection may be used to support a cause financially, in kind or by helping to raise awareness.
A well-known example of cause-related marketing is the MoonWalk in London, which raises money for breast cancer treatment and research. We took the opportunity to participate this year as part of a staff team event, and I met many other lawyers who were entering or had done so in the past. The MoonWalk has a very successful partnership with Wonderbra, with each participant receiving a free sample – it was a great way to get 15,000 people to try one of their products. On a similar, albeit smaller local scale, a law firm may give away branded T-shirts at a fun run in aid of a local charity, and many firms support cash-strapped local sports clubs with donations of kit. All these activities raise the profile of your firm’s name with the participants and their families.
More often than not though, lawyers can really help through providing their time and expertise to a good cause, with many solicitors acting as trustees and advisers to a wide range of organisations.
One such example of legal advice to a good cause which dropped through my email box was the notice that ‘11 Top lawyers tell high-street shops to "lose the lads’ mags" - supermarkets and newsagents open to legal action from staff and customers’. This piqued my curiosity, as I have often wondered when it became legal for what I considered to be top-shelf stuff to be displayed at all, never mind at the same level as sweets – child’s eye level. A quick check on the website today revealed that 17 lawyers are now backing this advice.
In any contentious campaign, there are two sides to every argument and so putting your head above the parapet may also attract a share of negative comment online. (I suspect we might get more than the normal number of ‘anonymous’ blog contributions on this particular topic!)
The third piece of good cause-related marketing that caught my eye this week was a notice regarding the Anglo-American Symposium on Diversity and Inclusion in the Legal Profession, which is running two events in Birmingham on 24 July and in London on 26 July. The members of this organisation may not see their activities as cause-related marketing, but their activities will bring together other like-minded and forward-thinking people and an opportunity to build relationships.
All cause-related marketing increases your exposure to a potentially broader audience that supports the chosen cause. It provides an opportunity to meet new people and connect on an area of mutual interest. It can be a particularly useful way for young lawyers to start building their network and developing broader commercial experience. It is also personally very satisfying when you can help a particular cause make positive progress.
There is such a broad range of cause-related marketing opportunities out there that there really is something for everyone.
Sue Bramall is managing director of Berners Marketing and advises law firms in the UK and overseas