In Times of Uncertainty, Brands Need to Double-Down on Community

Share this post

By Evan Brandoff, Co-Founder and CEO, LeagueSide 

Just as stockbrokers are becoming increasingly wary on where or how to invest in today’s pandemic-influenced market, so too are marketing teams becoming increasingly wary on where or how to invest their budgets. Unlike stockbrokers, though, marketing teams have a unique—and relatively safe—investment opportunity: their communities.

In its 2018 “From Me to We” study, Accenture asked nearly 30,000 consumers, “What attracts you to buy from certain brands over others (beyond price and quality)?” The study reported that:

  • 62 percent of consumers seek brands that have ethical values and demonstrate authenticity.
  • 52 percent of consumers seek brands that stand for something bigger than just the products and services they sell.
  • 50 percent of consumers seek brands that stand up for societal and cultural issues they believe in.
  • 50 percent of consumers seek brands that support and act upon causes that consumers care about.

In 2018, these stats may have prompted one to think, “It could be important to think through how to align the purpose of my business with consumers’ interests.” In 2020, these stats should prompt one to think, “It should be important to think through how to align the purpose of my business with consumers’ interests.”

And today, the focal point of those interests is community.

Purpose isn’t defined in a vacuum

Aligning oneself to the community requires purpose, and never before has the spotlight shone brighter on brands and their purposes. As Larry Fink, CEO and chairman of Blackrock, once noted, “The public expectations of your company have never been greater… Every company must not only deliver financial performance but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society. Without a sense of purpose, no company, either public or private, can achieve its full potential.”

Purpose isn’t a nicely written set of sentences framed on a whiteboard or hung via posters around the workplace. Rather, it’s a set of actions and principles that a company lives by. It’s a culmination of values that a company exudes and actions that a company pursues unconditionally. It’s the intangible value that, according to over half of consumers reported in the Accenture study, could pave way for new avenues of tangible value.

The unconditionality associated with purpose makes enacting it easier said than done. Yet some simple rules can help brands move from envisioning purpose to enlivening it. For this, Accenture has provided a three-part framework:

  1. Be human: Look for ways to engage consumers to build emotional connections with them.
  2. Be clear and authentic: “Standing for everything means standing for nothing.” Narrow your sights to be laser-focused on a few things your brand wants to stand for.
  3. Be creative: Explore non-traditional engagement models to find novelty.

The winners of tomorrow will be the brands today that are aligning themselves to their communities in human-centric, clear, authentic and creative ways. And that’s because things are going to be very weird for the next few months. People are going to be scared, intermittently locked down and cut off physically from their normalcy and routines. People will be increasingly looking for deeper connections to their communities; they will be increasingly looking for avenues of trust, places of belonging, and moments in which they’re cared for.

Brands should view this as an opportunity to support their communities. This support shouldn’t be viewed as benevolent acts of sacrifices, but rather investments of goodwill. Why? It’s because the world will return to normalcy. And when it does, people will be seeking the opportunities in which they can be part of their communities the best way that they know how: in-person and together. The brands that are already there—the brands that have supported normalcy within communities in anything but normal times—will be the ones that remain fixtures in everything that follows these troubled times.

Share this post
1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.