Connecting Cause Marketing with Brand Mission for Good

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Consumers are looking for a cause. Sixty-four percent of consumers said that they would boycott, switch or avoid brands based on their public stances on social issues, and two-thirds of millennials and Gen Z expressed a preference for brands with a socially conscious point of view. IEG reported an average three times increase in spending on cause marketing since 2000, exceeding 2 billion by 2018. Retail brands are heeding the call to stand for something, channeling social responsibility into their growth marketing and customer acquisition strategies. This can take many different forms ranging from an entire company shift in business practices to align on a goal to a one-off campaign addressing a relevant issue on social climate. 


Cause marketing plays a central role in Tumi’s marketing and mission. As holding company, Samsonite facilitates Tumi campaigns supporting charitable causes like All Hands & Hearts and Waves for Water, as well as partnering with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Tumi’s work with All Hands and Hearts and Ways for Water helps make travel easier for volunteers bringing water to and rebuilding schools in areas decimated by natural disasters. Using their brand mission of making travel comfortable and streamlined, Tumi not only connects itself to these causes but connects its customers as well.


All Hands & Hearts provides immediate and long-lasting disaster relief to communities all over the world. The aim of the volunteer team is to help families recover faster in the wake of natural disasters using their Smart Response strategy: Response, Recovery, Resilience, and Renewal. Among their relief efforts, their teams help to rebuild damaged schools, homes and infrastructure. Tumi engages its store and customer base with this mission through their “Back to School” campaign, which has raised over 1 million in support of their projects around the world.


Waves for Water (W4W) centers its cause around the benefits that clean water can bring to a community, spanning physical health as well as social well-being. By providing communities with the tools to access clean water efficiently, they empower people to live healthier lives and achieve more with the time and energy previously spent finding and purifying available water. They aim to create sustainable programs within the community that can span beyond the aid of their volunteers. Tumi’s annual “World Water Day” fundraiser has helped W4W to implement 4,381 filtration systems, 28 rain-catching systems, and 12 wells, impacting over 300,000 people around the world since 2018.


Tumi’s customer acquisition and retention efforts focus on making travel easier for people who make a difference. Tumi provides resources to all of their charitable partners to help facilitate the travel that brings their mission to life. Their partnership with St. Jude is no different, touching the lives of each family receiving care from their facilities. St. Jude provides care free of charge to children and families affected by child cancer. Since opening their doors in 1962, St. Jude’s research center has contributed to a 60% increase in childhood cancer survival rates in the United States. St. Jude’s global passion for treating and eradicating childhood disease is shared by many, with 85% of their funds sourced from public donation. As a partner to St. Jude for ten years, Tumi has adopted this mission and used their support to help make the lives of these families and their transitions into and out of the hospital as comfortable as possible. Their most recent product connected to the partnership is inspired by St. Jude’s “no-chemo parties,” celebrating their patients’ remission from cancer. The luggage features a confetti motif, designed to emulate the joyous occasion and to make the trip home that much more special for the children and their families. 


As a brand partner for cause marketing, Tumi aims to maintain authenticity in furthering the mission of these charities while staying true to their own brand promise. Cole notes that the businesses engaged in the corporate social responsibility (CSR) landscape have to work hard to reach their business and mission objectives, engaging with causes that not only align with their brand message but also the missions of the charitable partners. Samsonite and Tumi are approaching their tenth year of partnership with St. Jude, collecting over 5 million dollars in support of their mission. By staying close to their roots of travel, Tumi is fostering authentic and effective cause marketing while simultaneously creating change; this kind of alignment is “hard to fake,” according to Cole. The secret to their success rests at the top- aligning upper management with these missions allows for the full integration of cause marketing into the DNA of the company. By giving employees a cause they can believe in, cause marketing helps to bolster not just the faith of the consumer but that of the very teams involved. 


CommerceNext is proud to play a part in the admirable work that St Jude does to provide children and families with the care they need to live healthy lives in the pursuit of remission. As CommerceNext co-founder Allan Dick stated, we aim to not only create an environment for learning, but also a force for good. Thanks to our generous attendees and our 1:1 meeting program, we were able to donate over $20,000 to St. Jude this year in cash and in-kind.