Internal culture and values are the driving force behind successful brand marketing. Thanks to technology and social media, consumers can see a brand’s true colors. Something as simple as a Snapchat story or a retweet can instantly spread how consumers perceive a brand, making honesty the best policy in marketing and advertising.
The key to making this work to your company’s advantage is to embrace the responsibility to evolve with the changing times: Take bold action and speak clearly to define your brand values. Radical transparency has changed business as we know it, and the constant exposure can work highly in your favor. At a time when politics has the country emotionally charged, positivity on social media is a much-needed breath of fresh air. Consumers long to connect with brands that target both hearts and minds, proving they are committed to changing the current state of the world.
People are hungry for positivity, so it is up to brands to embody the positive change they wish to see in the world.
Humanizing your brand is also a step in the right direction. A brand that shares the same meaningful, ethical and sustainable beliefs is attractive to the consumer. Refinery 29’s “67 Percent Project” is an excellent example of this. They realized they were lacking diversity in their ads and made internal changes to reflect these values by incorporating women of all sizes, backgrounds and races into their work.
Unilever has also made tremendous strides with their #UNSTEREOTYPE campaign. They encouraged their brands to change the way the gender is portrayed to keep up with the rapid transformation of gender identity in society. Aline Santos, Executive Vice President of Global Marketing for Unilever, said that “by using our influence responsibly, we can contribute to positive cultural change as well as making better connections with people through our advertising.” Developments like this are creating a domino effect, inspiring global companies to become advocates of change.
Pepsi’s now-infamous campaign featuring Black Lives Matter protests is a prime example of an attempt at social advocacy that missed the mark. Although their goal was to connect with their audience on the importance of unity, peace and understanding during this challenging time in American history, they faced major pushback for placing Kendall Jenner (a white, privileged female) at the center of the ad, insinuating that simply sharing a Pepsi would be enough of a catalyst for this necessary change.
It is the responsibility of brands to embrace change as the world continues to evolve.
Brands need to embrace the ever-changing cultural norms to appropriately relay any bold statement they make. Anyone can be an advocate for change, but those who can prove that they embody positive values are the ones that will connect with consumers. Additionally, constructive change must start inside an organization to reflect the values a company wishes to demonstrate externally.
It is the responsibility of brands to embrace change as the world continues to evolve. Put simply: If you tell compelling stories about the strides you are making as a brand, consumers will listen. Advocacy is key in today’s cultural climate. People are hungry for positivity, so it is up to brands to embody the positive change they wish to see in the world.