The past few years have been full of one atrocity after another. Even though this is disheartening, there has been a beautiful, uplifting side where people have been driven to become activists in order to fight against this. As people are getting more involved with social issues, they want brands to support something other than just profits. Most importantly, they are willing to spend money on brands that support their beliefs. In response to this, brands are becoming vocal on the issues. However, taking a stand can sometimes lead to potential backlash. So, it is crucial to act carefully. Before we go into the types of brand activism that companies should be aware of, let’s get an understanding of what brand activism actually is.
What is brand activism?
Brand activism refers to the efforts a company makes to promote changes that align with its core values. These changes can be environmental, political, economic, or social aimed at improving the world or the society.
However, taking a stand by releasing a statement is not enough. People want meaningful actions from brands or else the latter will be viewed as hypocritical.
Depending on what you want to support, brand activism can take many forms. This includes creating sustainable packaging, focusing on green energy, offering clean products, or creating opportunities for the queer community. A great example of his is Olay’s #FacetheSTEMgap campaign that supports women in STEM. They also have pledged a donation of $500,000 to the UNCF.
Types of brand activism
There are six types of brand activism that all brands should know about:
1. Social activism
Some common examples of social activism include equality in age, gender, race, and so on. It can also cover cultural and social concerns, including education, school funding, and more.
With recent events around the world, the fight for equality and justice has been brought to light. People are getting involved in peaceful gatherings and marches and participating in political debates. They want to be a part of the movement that tackles systemic injustice and racism. How an organization responds to this changing landscape, the decisions they make, and how they execute them are being watched by the consumer. Having a big statement is not enough. People don’t want half-hearted attempts. They want to do business with purpose-driven brands.
Organic content is crucial for the success of the brand. Consumers share their opinions and recommendations on brands based on their personal experiences. They can also inspire innovative actions. Such types of social conversations provide a spontaneous and unbiased overview of important things. Brands now can discover in real-time exactly how they can make a change. It is important to work on execution with the appropriate social, economic, political, and geographical context.
2. Economic activism
Economic activism covers tax and minimum wage policies concerning asset transfer and income inequality. This involves brands using their wealth and economic power to work on the changes that align with their social or political values.
3. Business activism
This form of brand activism involves CEO salaries, corporate policy, labor, workplace benefits, governance, industrial negotiations, and more. For brands, this is an opportunity as well as a challenge. It offers a chance to advance inclusion, equity, and diversity in the organization. However, thanks to technology and social media, workplace issues have become more visible. Company leaders are under the spotlight. Employees are now ready to call out their companies publicly, which poses unique challenges for the brand.
4. Political activism
This covers campaigning, policies, voting rights, and other such political issues. In the era of social media, brand political activism is still new and fresh. Companies that, a few years ago, would have remained silent on issues are now weighing in their opinions on topics ranging from immigration, free speech, and gun violence. They are changing their sales and marketing strategy to fit the changing political landscape. For example, Dick’s Sporting Goods banned the sale of assault weapons in their store after a customer named Nikolas Cruz shot his classmates in Florida. Tech giants like Facebook, Google, and Apple have also made a statement against the immigration ban that targeted countries with Muslim-majority populations.
However, it is important to note that political activism is a decision based on issues. This should be not only conscience-led but also brand-aligned. Whatever stand you are taking should make sense to your customers and be true to your brand. Also, once they wade in, they should note that they are in for the long game. The public hates hypocrisy and will destroy the company on social media. The best way to approach this is to be authentic and stay put while trying to make a difference.
5. Environmental activism
Environmental activism refers to the conservation, land-use, water, and air pollution regulations. Companies can start by prioritizing reputational resilience. This should be a key organizational objective. Brands have to sense the mood of the public on major issues, and, if need be, make changes quickly. By partnering with the marketing team, corporate affairs can turn social, environmental, and governance reporting into consumer-friendly storytelling.
Today, in order to calculate the viability of a product for the long-term, brands have to focus on consumer sentiment as well as the social sentiment. People expect brands to prioritize their needs as well as the environmental impacts of their products and processes. A brand’s reputation is driven by communication, behavior, and performance. They must focus their efforts on authentic and credible actions addressing consumer values.
Bring about positive changes to your branding, marketing, business strategy, design, and content
Now, companies can no longer sit on the sidelines. Brand activism is not just an option, but a priority. Brands have to decide what issues align with their core values and take a stand. An important way to promote their efforts is by hiring the services of a professional like Thrust. We can ensure that your marketing efforts make a positive impact on your brand’s reputation. With the help of their well-informed and creative team, you can bring about positive changes to your branding, marketing, business strategy, design, content, and more.Request a Quote