Sunday, May 9, 2010

Brand Loyalty: Avon's Cause-Related Marketing

For those who don’t know, Avon is a cosmetics company dedicated to the betterment of women’s lives through beauty, health, fitness, and self-empowerment. The company has a very well known, worldwide Avon breast cancer campaign, which has raised over $660 million in over 50 countries. Avon has developed and implemented a very important cause-related marketing campaign for breast cancer awareness, which has helped increase brand loyalty. Choosing this cause was important for Avon because it is something that resonates very personally with its target audience - women.

According to its website, Avon has a history of CRM dating back to 1942 when the company began donating 40% of its output to military manufacturing. This move was strategic because the war was a current event that was affecting every American citizen in some way.

In 1989, the company launched its first breast cancer awareness campaign in the U.K, with a U.S. launch the following year, enlisting over 500,000 sales representatives to raise awareness and funds through the “pink ribbon” product line. For every purchase of a “pink ribbon,” product, a percentage of the sales went to breast cancer awareness and fundraising. Over the years, that percentage has varied, and is currently at 68% of the sale price.

The most important part of Avon’s cause-related marketing is the company’s choice of cause. Avon describes itself as an organization dedicated to the empowerment of women. With such a clearly defined vision for the betterment of women, and product lines that are created for women, it was imperative that Avon chose a cause that resonated with women. Considering that there is a new breast cancer diagnosis every three minutes and a life lost to breast cancer every 14 minutes, breast cancer was a logical choice for Avon (

Avon achieved its loyal customer clientele, in part, because of its connection with a cause that is important to many women. Avon aligned its whole company with the cause. Breast cancer’s color is pink; so is Avon’s, which helps to remind consumers of Avon’s dedication to the cause. Avon created a three-day walk for the fight against breast cancer, which takes places annually in different locations across the United States. This is directly linked to the company because the highly publicized event is titled “Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.” This name is plastered across banners, signs, blogs, websites, T-shirts, bags, pens, water bottles, etc. The brand is everywhere and it’s associated with an admirable and necessary cause, which resonates strongly with Avon’s customer base.

In the CEO’s message on the corporate Avon site, she mentions the Avon Foundation’s dedication to breast cancer awareness within the first paragraph. The bottom line is that Avon works hard to make sure no one ever forgets its dedication to bettering the lives of women and the fight against breast cancer. Whether you are on its corporate site seeing links to the breast cancer campaign, or on the Avon Foundation website with links to the corporate site; the two are branded together. Avon’s name is plastered all over the Foundation’s page. And if you type in breast cancer awareness on, you’d find that three of the top ten hits are related to Avon. That’s successful CRM.

A good marketing campaign is especially important for Avon because it is a direct seller company, so it needs to be creative in how it reaches consumers. Reaching women through breast cancer awareness drives them to the Avon site and creates a sense of familiarity and trustworthiness with the brand.

Avon cements its brand loyalty through the telling of personal stories. On the Avon Foundation site, people have the opportunity to share about their experience with breast cancer, whether that is fighting it personally, or participating in a walk in support of someone else. With the Avon name at the top of the page, or in the corner of a video, the Avon brand is even further engrained into the viewer as they connect with the brand through an emotional appeal. An emotional connection is a strong way to build brand loyalty.

Cause-related marketing can be a highly-effective tool for increasing brand loyalty. Avon did it best by choosing a cause that was important to its audience. That’s my PR thought for the day.

All information regarding Avon was found on Avon's corporate website, I am in no way affiliated with Avon

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