We’ve reached a point where brands can no longer, and should no longer, stay silent about broad-reaching social issues. Employees are speaking up to hold their employers accountable to their own missions, and customers are loyal to brands they believe align with their personal values − whether that’s about sustainable practices such as the use of plastic water bottles or livable wages. It’s an exciting time for consumers and employees and is also the right time for brands to be thoughtful.
Supporting causes as a brand is important. You have a platform and audience that can be used for social good. But even with the best of intentions, supporting a social cause can cost brand equity if consumers sniff out inauthenticity.
However, there are steps you can take to ensure supporting a social cause, particularly when it’s tied to a marketing campaign, does not go awry: 1. Pick your cause(s). Try to stick to one that matters to your employees and customers, but be aware there are a multitude of worthy causes out there. 2. Rally employee engagement and internal alignment. If you don’t have internal buy-in, taking a stance on a social issue is never going to appear authentic, because it isn’t. 3. Understand what you’re trying to accomplish. What creates authenticity is recognizing what you want to achieve as a brand and owning that.
Today, brands can’t stay silent, and we shouldn’t be afraid to try and affect change. Let’s be the change.