Our previous blog looked at why socially conscious brands are the future of business.
It should be noted that what we mean when we talk about socially conscious brands, these are brands that understand the meaningful role that they can play to uplift society, communities and for the multinational brands, make a global impact for the good.
Socially conscious brands do real stuff.
We are not talking about window dressing, or to use a more popular modern term – woke washing.
There are brands that have been built from the ground up on ethical standards and practices who use ethical supply chains and even those whose very products conform to what is perceived as ‘green.’
There are also many brands built on conventional standards who have recognised the need to become more ethical and socially conscious.
These changes may include employee empowerment, ethical supply chains, reducing carbon footprints and social outreach programs.
Too many brands though, even today, consider a good marketing and story-telling strategy as their way to address cause marketing.
This is why the concept is still met with considerable mistrust from conscious consumers, particularly among Generation Z and millennials.
The socially conscious brands we deal with, and have worked with in the past, all do proper work on the ground to impact positively on communities; “For benefit over For Profits”. Profit will and does come from this approach.
Our job is to make sure that the genuine good work that they are doing reaches their desired audiences.
These audiences are consumers, donors, community leaders and any other entities that can be impacted positively from their campaigns and will have a positive impact on their business too.
The world wants more from brands
The 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer Global Report tells us that trust is still a big challenge for businesses and NGOs, although there was a modest rise in this from 2018, where trust was deemed to be at an all-time low.
The Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 will no doubt have a severely negative impact on trust considering the current state of global affairs.
So, there is much work to be done for brands and a lot of it will mean looking at meaningful ways to give back to society, and the environment, as the world looks to recover from 2020.
Getting it right, getting it wrong…
TOMS is a shoe company that practices social enterprise.
They started with their “one for one” model which gave a pair of shoes to someone in need after every customer purchase.
On the surface you would think this was a win-win formula for brand and conscious customer, however they were heavily criticised, some even saying that the brand was simply playing ‘fairy-godmother.’
Not to be deterred TOMS listened to the criticism and improved their program even more. Their tagline to this day is ‘We’re in business to improve lives.’
Currently TOMS is directing one-third of their net profits to the TOMS COVID-19 Global Giving Fund.
Unilever’s Chief Executive is on record as saying ‘brands that don’t stand for something will be disposed of.’
MasterCard’s 2018 FIFA World Cup campaign was an example of a brand being out of touch and getting it horribly wrong.
They made the cardinal error of linking their ‘giving’ program to an innocuous set of conditions, thus trivialising the cause.
The brand proposed that for every goal scored by superstar players, Messi and Neymar Jr, in the tournament, they would donate 10,000 meals to those in need in developing countries.
The natural outcry was that the multi-billion-dollar company should donate the meals irrespective, which Mastercard conceded to do in the end but the PR damage was done.
They were left red-faced and the traction they were hoping to gain from a well-intended, but ill-conceived campaign, backfired and they received publicity for all the wrong reasons.
Our next blog continues with the theme of socially conscious brands as we serve up a list of epic wins and fails by brands in the cause marketing space.
Don’t forget to drop us a message on the form below if you’d like more info on how we can assist in your cause marketing campaign and strategy.
- A Cause marketing case study: The Limitless Potential In Self
- Using WhatsApp Business for Social Impact Campaigns & Business
- Storytelling that doesn’t suck: beyond content marketing