Did you know that more than 80 percent of a company’s market value is based on intangible assets, including brand and reputation? The public judges heavily on a brand’s stance and social presence. Investment Executive says: “Corporate reputations can thrive or plummet, based on how companies treat their people and communities.”
For most of 2020 and 2021, the world has been dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. People struggled with their varying comfort levels; businesses had to roll with the punches with constant changes in public health mandates–there was a lot of fear of the unknown.
In a crisis like this, it’s important to come together as human beings and support one another with compassion.
In today’s blog, we will share some insights and tips on how you can position your brand marketing to appeal to the masses in this new age!
Ask yourself these questions regarding your brand:
- What drives and motivates our company?
- What do we as brand care about? Communities? Mother Nature?
- What are initiatives we can execute to show that our actions align with our values?
- What emotion does our brand evoke in people?
- When people hear of our brand, what is the first impression that comes to mind?
- How can we show that we care as a brand?
Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is being socially accountable. To demonstrate Corporate Social Responsibility, brands should provide positive social value by giving back to their community.
A survey revealed that 65% of consumers say it’s important that the companies they buy from actively promote diversity and inclusion in their own business and, or society.
Let’s say, XYZ’s mission is to save the planet by reducing waste. To practice Corporate Social Responsibility by offering zero-waste packaging and planting a tree for every purchase made.
Since the pandemic hit, there has been a shift from “corporate” to “Community” Social Responsibility. This means being community-focused is now being emphasized by the public.
An example is War Room Inc, an advertising agency that has worked with the local SPCA for years that fosters kittens in the office. They also have a program for their employees and clients to match donations to the charitable organization of their choice to amplify efforts in giving back to the community.
Other examples to demonstrate this could be offering ethically-sourced products, being women-led or minority-owned, tying in charitable causes (e.g., proceeds go to supporting education for girls in third-world countries), locally-produced and more.
It will help if you put your community first by being supportive and kind. Highlight that in your social profile and marketing creative–images, copy, etc., because it will help build you a positive reputation.
Companies that do this usually have a webpage dedicated to their mission. A great example is TOMS, the footwear brand. They have a section on their website called “Impact”, which talks about their story and values, how they give back to their community, changes they aim to make towards sustainability, all decked out with beautiful, visual examples. An important note is that nowhere on this page do they showcase any of their products.
When it comes to social responsibility, it’s not the place to sell. It shows that they are serious about their mission and builds trust. Consumers are more likely to support a brand like this when spearheading a cause people believe in!
Diversity & Inclusion
Consumers are showing that they care what brands are doing in the community and that they are more than willing to support and purchase from businesses with missions that align with their values.
According to Statista, 61% of Americans believe diversity in advertisements is important. This means people prefer to see your ads showcasing diversity.
This article shares a study we could all learn from. It’s called “Diversity in advertising: the art of being self-aware and giving a damn.” They shared Google’s story: Google hired an NPO to review and evaluate their ads for unbiased opinions. What Google learned was even though there was plenty of racial diversity, there was a lack of representation in genders and socio-economic status. Google was able to take these learnings and created a training course on diversity, and 90% of their company was able to complete the course.
It’s not about just showing diversity and inclusivity in ads, but being able to live it every day. To be an inclusive company means welcoming and embracing people, regardless of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic, or other statuses.
In brand marketing, we must be aware and compassionate. We should strive to be an ally and speak up when we see inequality. This creates a safe environment, and it’s something your employees and consumers would get behind in a heartbeat.
Here are some examples of big brands’ take on diversity (https://youtu.be/cvb49-Csq1o)
Aside from racial and gender inclusivity, it’s worth thinking about people with disabilities, the LGBTQI+ community, and the elderly. They don’t get as much representation in brand advertising or marketing—but they make up over a quarter of our society.
Here’s Nike taking on diversity, inclusion, and the pandemic all in one touching ad: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcXTnyCmQbg
Now that’s a beautiful ad!
People are suffering from pandemic burnout and are seeking sincere kindness from brands and their ads. So be proactive when it comes to observing the temperature in the room when it comes to the ever-changing social landscape.
For example, A&W is a household Canadian fast-food chain that sells burgers.
This is a typical ad they run all year long:
But during the beginning of the lockdown, they released this ad:
Filmed on a smartphone, much like how everyone was on Zoom or Facetime, it was relatable and heartfelt, making us feel like we are not alone.
Hyundai came out with a brand film at the peak of the pandemic lockdown too:
As you can see, there is no product placement or outright selling. It’s about establishing yourself as a reliable, trustworthy, and understanding brand!
So instead of hard-selling, think of perhaps teaming up with a local charity or volunteering in your local community. Your actions are what show that you care.
You might find some of these tips helpful:
- Spread positivity.
- Relate to the moment and demonstrate in an on-brand way that you care. This could be through paid or organic marketing content.
- Communicate openly and honestly.
- Be real. Don’t do it just for show. Consumers can smell it from far away.
There you have it, a few tips on why compassion is quintessential when it comes to brand marketing. Stay kind!