Cause & Purpose Marketing Expanding Beyond COVID-19 to Core Issues

By Weather Channel InSites Archives
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As consumer, corporate, and governmental attention has appropriately centered on response to COVID-19 threats, the crisis is also generating increased recognition of environmental sustainability as a connected priority. While health and family welfare are dominating today's purpose marketing campaigns, environmental sustainability is steadily climbing in consumer polls as a related and equally critical concern. A Bain & Company report acknowledges the threat that COVID-19 represents to corporate and governmental sustainability initiatives, but argues that "for each headwind threatening sustainability, there are several corresponding tailwinds, many of which will be longer lasting. For example, consumers favor companies and brands with purposes that benefit the broader community." By 2021, it is expected that sustainably minded shoppers will spend up to $150 billion on sustainable products.

Bain advises its clients that "stocks of companies with strong ESG (Environmental. Social, Governmental) credentials have proven a safer haven in this period of market disruption. In fact, the coronavirus pandemic could elevate ESG factors. A group of 300 mutual funds that consider ESG factors when making investment decisions saw inflows of $21.4 billion in 2019, vs. $5.4 billion a year earlier, according to Morningstar. Now, such funds' relatively lower losses vs. the market overall may accelerate that trend." According to a NYU Stern School for Sustainable Business study, "U.S. sales of products marketed as sustainable grew 5.6 times faster than other products."

With 63% of all brands shifting their marketing messaging to Cause and Mission Marketing, they are also more focused than ever on telling their brand story in a safe and trusted environment. The focus on brand-safety is not new. A recent study published by The Myers Report identifies brand-safe environment as advertisers' most important media placement criterion, pacing slightly ahead of relevant audience reach and trusted partnerships. Although the study was conducted just prior to the COVID-19 health and economic crisis, several current studies reaffirm that consumers are more inclined to purchase products and brands that align with their personal values. As consumer sentiment shifts throughout the stages of crisis and recovery, The Myers Report predicts marketers will expand their purpose marketing initiatives and focus on environment and sustainability as their top priority.

Sustainability is not only a smart economic path, but it offers brands compelling visuals and storytelling opportunities. The Weather Channel, among the most trusted sources of environmental news, sustainability advocacy, and education, has throughout its history explored Earth's challenges, celebrated its progress, and elevated new voices. With the expansion of Pattrn, TWC is elevating the conversation to connect its growing audience – and its advertisers -- to climate heroes, champions and stories that are shaping the environmental future.


Pattrn, first established on Twitter, has recently expanded to Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat, producing over 175 new pieces of original content in a short time frame. Authentic storytelling has been the priority focus and followers are engaging, resulting in over a 44% growth in month-over-month impressions. Reinforcing visual storytelling, Pattrn features images such as this stunning video of a electric blue wave as microscopic algae released a chemical that glows when irritated (pictured at top.)


With almost 70% of the U.S. Population holding the belief that global warming is occurring, according to @UCSanDiego, and with a need for education and information replacing politicized debate, Pattrn is focusing on easily understood, entertaining, compelling content that offers brand marketers a brand safe environment, reaching relevant and engaged audiences across the 90+ million footprint of The Weather Channel, Local Now CTV Channel, and multiple social media channels. The Weather Channel team is collaborating with advertisers and agencies to develop and implement ESG campaigns such as its Starbucks branded sponsorship.

As Pattrn expands its presence and commitment to sustainability education and insights, TWC has committed to several regular content features, including:

Do It Greener: Series highlights small acts you can make in your daily life that can have a big impact on the planet

Ask Pattrn: Beloved Meteorologists from The Weather Channel answer followers biggest questions about climate change

60 Second Solutions: The Weather Channel's Meteorologists give tips on living sustainably in 60 second tips.

What is...: Quick animations define some of the terms often heard in climate change & sustainability stories

Climate-smart cooking: Well-known chefs demonstrate how to cook climate-smart meals, good for you and the planet

Earth champions: Inspirational stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things to help the planet, culminating in an end of year Awards Show.

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