You’ve likely heard that the modern shopper is more belief-driven than ever before, and there is ample data to back that up. Belief-driven consumers now make up the majority across all ages and income levels, meaning that shopping with intent is one of the newest and largest consumer trends to date—but understanding how to tackle social issues in your marketing materials is an issue that requires nuance and know-how.
Customers want to give their business to brands that align with their beliefs, and while making a social statement might be intimidating for a business, it is worth considering if you’d like to increase your share of this revolutionary market.
Why Brands Should Consider Taking on Social Issues in Marketing
Social media has given rise to an opportunity for activism that didn’t even exist 10 years ago—and when brands are active in the social space, many consumers expect them to make use of their platforms for good. In fact, 64% of consumers want to support brands that take stands on current issues—and for these people, brands staying silent on social media when big events happen can be perceived as a statement all its own.
While there are a lot of things worthy of change in the world, you shouldn’t feel pressured for your brand to address every problem. Instead, focus on the causes you are truly passionate about, whether it is a community charity or a national cause. It doesn’t need to be directly related to the goods or services your brand provides, but it does need to be a cause you authentically care about and want to get involved in for the right reasons. There is a fine line between virtue signaling and truly taking a stand, and the savvy consumer will want to see that your brand’s values have direct action to back them up.
How to Showcase Your Brand’s Commitment to Change
Have a Proceeds Campaign
Perhaps the most common way that brands choose to take a stand is through a proceeds campaign. Donating a percentage of sales of a special-edition product or from a designated time period is a smart way to raise awareness about your products and contribute to a good cause at the same time.
Get Your Employees Involved in the Community
For many organizations, the best way to help them is through time and direct action, and volunteering as a company is a great way to increase morale. Schedule a company volunteer day to get everyone involved together and get hands-on in the fight for change.
Make a Statement (and Back It Up)
If sales campaigns and volunteer days aren’t your brand’s style, you can still make a commitment to make a change. Making a social statement to show where your brand stands and referencing action items you’re taking to make a difference shows consumers that your priorities are aligned with theirs. For example, you could make a statement on global warming and back it up with ways you are increasing recycling and composting efforts around the office and at home. As long as you can back your stance up with action, consumers will immediately see the authenticity.
Provide Needs-Based Services That Align With Your Mission
If your business offers a good or service that’s useful to others, you have a fantastic opportunity to make a difference by providing it to those who need it at a discounted or cost-free rate. Restaurants donating meals to nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic is a recent example of this, but there are plenty of creative ways that you could use what your business is already producing to make a difference in the community.
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The way brands need to talk to consumers has changed. This change has accelerated due to Covid-19 and the resulting economic downturn, but an evolution in brand marketing was already underway.