Cause Related or non-profit organizations benefit from licensing in two ways: merchandise sales help the parent organizations bottom line; licensing programs are important in building brand awareness and creating trust in the marketplace. It also helps keep the Cause in the public’s eye. Some of the biggest Cause Marketing licensing programs include Sesame Street, The American Red Cross, the ASPCA and the World Wildlife Federation.
There are several strategies that can be used in Cause Related Licensing. Brand extension is when the licensee creates a new product that is a logical extension of what the nonprofit brand represents. An example is Red Cross Disinfectant Gel. A second strategy is promotional and focuses on a portion of the purchase goes to the Cause. You often see this promoted on product labels and packaging. The third strategy is a Seal of Approval, lending credibility to the product or service which is co-branded with the non-profit brand. An example is the American Heart Association, whose brand is found on a number of food and beverage products.
Cause related licensing offers a number of benefits including brand visibility, product (or service) credibility and differentiation, an appeal to “conscious consumers”, and can be more affordable than the big corporate brands.