The Six Ps of Brand Activism
When we think of Ben & Jerry’s, we likely think of the quirky named, deliciously created ice cream concoctions. But there is more, much more, to Ben & Jerry’s than their frozen sweet treats. They are one of several global brands that is a Certified B Corp, like us – committed to social change and running a business that is not just about profit, but for the greater good. They understand that companies, whether they be large corporations or small businesses, can make a positive change in our world if we just stay committed to the cause. This article explores the framework upon which companies can build to join Ben & Jerry’s, Russell Herder and many other organizations in our effort to make the world a better place.
Why it matters:
As consumers, and thus companies, begin to recognize the importance of where they are spending their money and what they are supporting, we have seen a global shift in the world of business to be more intentional about the impact each is making. No, corporate-social-responsibility is not new. But this is more than just an annual donation to a charity to check a box. This movement is challenging brands to put their money where their mouth is and actually carry out the beliefs they claim to support. This is beyond selling products and growing your brand, it’s about living your core values, making a positive impact on not just your bottom line but the world around you.
Great Creative. Greater Message.
In this heart-warming Academy Award-nominated animated short subject, “Hair Love,” by Matthew Cherry and Karen Rupert Toliver, an African American father tackles styling his daughter’s hair for the first time not only was an Oscar winner this year, it underscores the importance of hair and heritage in the black community.
Why it matters:
Not only is this an award-winning example of outstanding creative, it demonstrates the importance of how messages – well done – can not only deeply appeal to target markets but stand to educate those far beyond.
Gen Z is Not a Single Audience Segment
Urban Nerds, a London-based marketing agency, is taking an in-depth look at inner-city youth culture to understand how brands can connect with hard-to-reach young audiences more effectively. The agency argues that there’s a clear blind spot when it comes to research findings on Gen Z because the “less privileged” members of that generation are often overlooked. While diversity in terms of gender, race, religion and sexuality are frequently considered when trying to understand the Gen Z audience, socioeconomic class isn’t necessarily taken into account. We must keep this in mind that when younger audiences are the target demographic for our messaging. That is not to say other generations have not experienced this divide, but with increasing polarity on so many topics, one must stop and consider, “what is the human experience that shapes their mindset,” and tailor the messaging accordingly.
Why it matters:
As a full-service agency, we know the importance of understanding the target audience and incorporating the findings when building out a trusted brand. Reaching two different cultures on the same topic requires significant research, as does reaching audiences in different socioeconomic classes. Taking the time to truly explore a target audiences’ values and mindsets helps us ensure we are building campaigns, messaging and brands that are genuine, relatable and relevant to those who will benefit most.
Back to Business
Gone are the days in which companies can rely upon creating a standalone ad. With more ways to connect now than ever, consumers are focusing on the entirety of their experience with a brand. Thinking of touchpoints in silos is a surefire way to guarantee a disconnect in the consumer experience, thus decreasing the strength (and credibility) of your brand. As we enter this new decade, it’s time to shed the trends of the last. Yes, while it is important for brands to take a stance on hot button issues, the over-saturation of promoting their social activism can overshadow what they really need to promote: the consumer experience.
Why it matters:
Trends in advertising come and go and brands must adjust to stay relevant. However, this article highlights what can sometimes be forgotten, the most important thing to communicate to your audience is what your brand can provide them. Consumers are becoming more conscious about brands with which they choose to interact based on their societal impact, but bottom line is this: regardless of your cause, no one wants a brand that can’t live up to basic expectations.