Building Your Brand In A Socially Conscious Way
Socially conscious or socially responsible branding is likely a concept you have been hearing about. Done right, it can pull your company well ahead of your competition by providing consumers an important reason to seek out your brand.
Marketing in a socially conscious way is all about operating your businesses with and eye toward activities that benefit society. Quite a few national and international companies have adopted socially responsible themed product/s and used brand positioning as a means to set themselves apart from their competition – and draw appropriate attention to what they are doing.
The concept is simple, but making it work for your organization can be tricky. First, you want to focus your efforts on attracting consumers who are not only interested in what you offer, but also are interested in using their purchases to make a positive difference.
Just as importantly, you also want to put craft the right message in an appropriate way – using the right media for your campaign.
So, where to begin? Here’s what the studies said about the way consumers looked at socially conscious brands:
- A 2015 report by Nielsen surveyed 30,000 consumers in 60 countries. Nielson found that 66% of consumers were willing to pay more for goods from brands that demonstrated social commitment. More studies since then have solidified this commitment.
- A 2017 Corporate Social Responsibility study by a national public relations and marketing firm indicated that 87% of Americans would be willing purchase a product because its company advocated for an issue they cared about.
Whether your company uses recyclable packaging, creates awareness of societal issues, or directs proceeds to likeminded charitable groups, the way you talk about what you are doing is very important.
Putting on appearances about being environmentally conscientious, is a thing. Called greenwashing, environmentally astute folks will absolutely call out a businesses for promoting deceptively environmentally friendly processes or products. Especially on social media. Obviously, this will undermine both your brand and your company’s work. No one wants to be called out for being a fraud.
Consumers are also getting bombarded with messages and have become pretty cynical. They can smell a gimmick a mile away, and by and large, are leery of efforts that are not genuine or seem ineffectual. In fact, a recent study found that 65% of Boomers, Millennials and GenX’ers say they will research a company’s stand on an issue. So, obviously, authenticity has to be built into the mix. And then reflected outwardly with care.
The best examples of socially responsible marketing occur when there is a natural fit between a brand and its socially responsible endeavor. A great example of this is the Toms shoe brand and its “one for one” campaign. Beginning in 2007, for every pair of shoes customers bought, Toms donated a pair of shoes to a child in need. In 2019, Toms’ founder Blake Mycoskie committed to manufacturing shoes in areas around the globe where he donated them—Cuba, India, Kenya, creating more than 700 jobs. The program is a good fit. Toms has a great reputation, one that is well known by consumers and respected by marketing firms.
So – the bottom line here is a fine line. You not only need to make sure what you do passes the smell test, you also need a surefire connection between your product and how/what you are doing for a good cause. Importantly, you also need to strike the right tone for how you communicate that vision and your work.
The best campaigns do all of the above, and do it well. To begin your brand’s socially conscious journey, get some knowledgeable help with a marketing firm that can help strategize your socially responsive brand and fine tune your message – to just the right audience.