How to Become a Socially-Conscious Brand
Why the Pandemic Is an Opportunity to Become a Socially Conscious Brand
Let me start by throwing some numbers at you — a survey conducted in Aug-Sept of 2019 found that between 44% (millennials) and 28% (Gen X) people said they wanted companies they bought from to support social or environmental causes. Cut to the brave new post-pandemic world and researchers that found 90% of consumers were willing to switch brands for causes close to their hearts. So, if you haven’t given a thought to creating an empathetic and socially conscious brand profile, now is the time to do it. Watch the episode to learn more.
Go beyond mandated CSR.
Most companies have some kind of Corporate Social Responsibility program, but a significant proportion are just going through the motions. Perhaps the company makes a contribution to a charity or sponsors/ lends its voice to a ‘worthy cause’. This isn’t good enough anymore. And you now have the opportunity to do more, be more to your ideal audience. Today, your brand has the opportunity to become relevant to the larger community. You are no longer just a manufacturer or service provider. You now want to be seen as a brand that wants to make a difference and this cements the trust your people have in your brand.
Now is the time to think about expanding; giving proverbial wings to your brand. In this super-connected, always-online world, your brand has a never-before opportunity to appeal to newer audiences. There is an untapped Blue Ocean market out there for you to exploit right now.
The four E’s of being a socially conscious brand.
Broadly speaking, socially conscious brand initiatives can be categorized into Education, Employment, Equality and Environment. Which one is relevant to your brand, your product, your service? Where can your brand be most relevant and make the biggest impact? Take education for instance. At Disney they created a skilling program called Aspire that financed the upskilling of their employees. This was not conditional upon continued employment; just something good that the company was doing for its people. Some 45,000+ Disney employees signed up! Disney invested big, but the returns were big too — in terms of the loyalty of its employees and the company’s cachet as an empathetic company willing to use its deep pockets to create positive change in the community.
No, you don’t have to be a global brand with deep pockets to become relevant and beloved to your people. Funding the education of underprivileged local kids in your community can be something you can do. Sponsoring a sports event at a community school or building them a lab — all these can create visibility for your brand and strengthen brand loyalty. In fact it will attract more people into your brand when they perceive yours as ‘better’ and more relevant to their community.
Similarly you can be perceived as an eco-friendly company if you source locally and responsibly, make it a point to use minimal, biodegradable packaging. This not only strengthens brand loyalty but creates positive word of mouth that will set you apart from the competition. Employment and social justice are other causes you can become aligned to as a brand.