October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Although the campaign to raise awareness for the disease, which constitutes nearly a quarter of all cancers affecting women, is decades old, it’s message has never been clearer, and support for the effort has never been stronger. Advocacy for coping with and ultimately defeating breast cancer has grown into a large-scale social movement that commands the attention of big brands, calling them to contribute to causes that are greater than their own business.
This movement is an example of how not-for-profit organizations actually achieve brand advocacy from the companies who sponsor or honor the cause.
Each year, the efforts to combat the #2 killer of women culminate in a month where awareness of the disease is pushed to the forefront of the nation’s attention. Businesses of all sizes join the millions of individuals who dedicate their time, money, and effort to show their support for victims and survivors. In this particular month, buildings across the country will be brightly lit with pink, the NFL’s players will don pink gloves, cleats, and captains patches, and other organizations will show their support with more symbolic use of the distinctive color. Workplaces and public spaces everywhere will be filled with people wearing pink clothing or proudly pinning on the iconic ribbon. The list of corporate sponsors for one of the month’s signature annual events, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, illustrates how many large and influential brands also answer to the responsibility to address such greater causes.
These brands forego their own unique value to answer this call to contribute to the greater good. As the Breast Cancer Awareness brand is strengthened, sponsors adopt its core values and tone while extending their own influence through cooperation with other prominent brands. The result is a mutually beneficial relationship and an amplified, unified message. For sponsors, contributing to a cause strengthens brand image, deepens community networks, and caters to a fiercely loyal niche market. Moreover, employees of these companies generally take on the corporate sense of duty as their own, serving to extend not just the company’s reach, but creating more advocates and extending the brand for the movement as well.
Brands of all sizes are clearly motivated by the opportunity to join a unique brand awareness cycle while doing some good. Sponsorship or at least participation in these worthwhile undertakings certainly isn’t mandatory, but brands that take hold of the initiative will benefit and make a positive impact in the process. With this mutual support, causes like the fight against Breast Cancer are significantly bolstered, a win for everyone.