Gone are the days when having a superior product or service is enough to be a success in your industry. More and more, consumers are choosing to do business with brands and companies that align with their values. A recent study showed that consumers are more likely to research the causes and culture of a company before buying. This is particularly true of Gen Z and Millennials. Businesses must clearly communicate the causes it is committed to, as a result. But how do you do that?
First of all, a socially conscious brand is authentic. The entire culture of the company reflects the cause or causes the brand is associated with. This isn’t a matter of choosing whatever social issue is popular that day and throwing money at it. This gets into a company being able to show internal policies and behaviors that support the issue, on top of the donations, volunteerism, etc behind it. Otherwise, the public will quickly be able to poke holes in the validity. In turn, the public will lose trust in the brand.
Companies that adopt this type of culture have to be prepared for the policies to be applauded AND criticized. Take, for example, Patagonia’s reaction to the announcement that the size of protected land in the U.S. would be significantly reduced. The company changed the homepage of its website to simply say, “The President Stole Your Land”. Given that Patagonia’s mission statement is “[w]e’re in business to save our home planet” and that they’ve long been known for sustainability and a commitment to earth- and land-related causes, this stance rang true for the brand, and many approved of the brand making such a bold statement. However, some felt the statement went over-political and crossed a line. Either way, it drove engagement in a way that was aligned with what the brand has been known for.
Similarly, to truly be seen as a supporter of a cause, a brand needs to be aware of events and times of year that are significant to the cause. Then they should build timely supportive content around that. If your brand’s cause is supporting the LGBTQIA+ community, you should be broadcasting your support during Pride month and posting your opposition to legislation against same-sex marriage. If your brand aligns with environmental conservation, Earth Day would be a significant event each year. You should also be speaking out against any environmentally-harmful legislation that comes up. No matter what causes your brand aligns with, missing the opportunity to speak out makes your “support” ring hollow to those whom your support means the most.
Make sure your brand isn’t missing the boat when it comes to its efforts on social issues. Contact Asterisk Creative, and let’s get your branding strategy on the right course.