Drawing on the brand alliance, cause marketing and corporate social responsibility literatures, the authors introduce the notion of international cause alliances. The authors conceptualize international cause alliances as strategic partnerships between international causes and for-profit companies with the stated purpose of raising funds for the cause. Beyond signaling that companies are socially responsible, international cause alliances may also help companies increase brand awareness or expand into new markets. Because international cause alliances take many forms and differ in the extent to which the brands are integrated, they have very different strategic implications. The purpose of this paper is to discuss these implications in a framework as well as providing managerial direction for both for-profit companies and causes when forming such alliances.
Using literature on brand alliances, cause marketing, and corporate social responsibility as a foundation, the authors introduce the notion of international cause alliances. The authors review literature to understand the many forms of alliances and investigate the extent to which brands are integrated. The authors then use these implications to develop a framework that can guide managerial decision-making for both for-profit companies and causes when forming such alliances.
The research suggests that to effectively develop international cause alliances, the organization involved must be aware of the challenges and potential benefits that these partnerships produce. For instance, while highly integrated alliances involve large resource commitments they also facilitate brand image spillover. As such, these alliances are a great way for companies to alter customers’ perceptions of their brands. Alternatively, low integration alliances require fewer resources and facilitate market expansion.
This research identifies strategies that companies and causes can use to either expand their markets or alter customers’ perceptions of their brands.
This paper presents a framework that companies and causes can use when forming international cause alliances.
Newmeyer, C.E., Obeng, E. and Hulland, J. (2020), "Joining forces for doing good: getting the international cause-alliance right", International Marketing Review, Vol. 37 No. 5, pp. 829-839. https://doi.org/10.1108/IMR-04-2019-0122
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