Taking a stand and tackling taboos

Taking a stand and tackling taboos

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As consumers become increasingly interested in brands’ identities and what they stand for, we’re seeing more and more brands using marketing campaigns as an opportunity to tackle social issues.

According to the 2018 Edelman Earned Brand report, nearly two-thirds of consumers want companies to take a stand for a cause and global brands sure do look to be in a strong position to do this.

By using their loud and notable voice, brands are potentially able to reach parts that more conventional voices just are not able to.

The report also revealed  56 per cent of consumers believe that marketers spend too much time trying to push them to buy and not enough time thinking of ways to make consumers pay attention. So could this strategy of speaking the language of a target audience be a critical element in the success and lifespan of a brand?

Brands tackling social issues via advertising and marketing channels has proven to be successful in cutting through the noise to grab audiences’ attention, but is also arguably one of the strongest manifestations for social good.

It can catalyse debate, challenge prejudice and confront those uncomfortable issues in a highly positive way. A great example of this is Airbnb, with its #WeAccept campaign. The popular home-sharing site drew national attention with the airing of its politically charged TV commercial in response to President Trump’s nation-dividing travel ban. The ad boldly declared ‘we believe no matter who you are, where you’re from, who you love or who you worship, we all belong’.

The stance was on an issue that directly aligned with the brand’s service, and was backed up by the promise of real action – to reduce the negative impact of the ban.

However, taking on a social issue isn’t something that a brand should take lightly. Get it wrong and companies are at risk of tarnishing their brand.

Gillette’s #MeToo campaign, for example, caused consumer perceptions of the brand in the UK plummet for its attempt to tackle toxic masculinity, and Dove’s promotion involving limited-edition body wash packaging presenting diverse representations of female bodies was met with genuine concern from consumers.

So, how do you get it right?

Do your research – If you don’t have a deep understanding of the issue you’re trying to tackle, then steer clear!

Does it align with the brand? – It goes without saying that the cause needs to fit with the brand identity and tone of voice in order for consumers to trust the brand.

Commit to the cause – if you’re going to do it, then go all out! Actions speak louder than words. Don’t just dip your toe in the water, tackle it full on and be authentic, or you could leave yourself open to criticism.

Partner up – To take a real stand and make a bigger difference, don’t be frightened to find partners that share your vision Are you a brand looking to take a stand and make a difference within your marketing strategy? Then get in touch today.

Photo credit to AirBnb

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