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Published 5/27/2021

by Amy Fillhouer

If there is one takeaway from this past year in marketing, it’s that people are watching. These days, “staying out of it” can have the opposite effect that brands hope for. In fact, the majority of consumers expect brands to speak up and be clear about their values. 

Aligning your campaigns with social issues may sound like a risky advertising move but statistically, people favor brands who use their platform to take an active role in conversations about societal issues. Authenticity with a deliverable impact or plan of action is the secret to building trust between you and your consumers. With that in mind, here are four brands who loudly took a stand to make a difference:

Nike: For Once, Don’t Do It

After the murder of George Floyd, the media was flooded with images of riots and protests. Nike adjusted their famous slogan from “Just Do It” to “For Once, Don’t Do It” to urge the public not to turn their backs on racism, don’t sit back and be silent, and don’t think that these events don’t affect us all. The athletic apparel brand has spoken out against racism in more careful, orchestrated campaigns in the past, but this campaign was an immediate, vulnerable response to an issue that struck the entire world.

AirBnB: We Accept

Following discrimination accusations against their rental platform and a controversial travel ban administered by the U.S. government, AirBnB took advantage of this opportunity to actively fight prejudice against immigration. The company showed support for immigrants and refugees by donating $4 million to the International Rescue Committee and providing housing relief to 100,000 people over the course of the next five years. Additionally, they used their voice to encourage followers to donate to similar charitable causes.

Procter & Gamble: #DistanceDance

In the wake of last year’s quarantine, social media users around the world downloaded the popular video app, TikTok, as a means for entertainment. Procter & Gamble leveraged this craze to promote TikTok dancing as a safe way to stay connected. They partnered with one of the platform’s most famous influencers, Charli D’Amelio, to launch the #DistanceDance campaign and committed to donate to disaster relief funds for every one of the first 3 million videos. The #DistanceDance hashtag has received more than 17.7 billion views on the popular app.

Ben & Jerry’s: Endangered Flavors/Silence is NOT an Option

In 2016, Ben & Jerry’s listed some of their most beloved flavors on their website as “endangered” to emphasize the impact climate change has on our everyday world. Their blog post explained what could happen to their key ingredients if humanity doesn’t adjust some of our detrimental habits. The ice cream brand urged consumers to sign a petition supporting the goals of the Paris Agreement. This is just one of many statements the company has made to use their platform for good. They released arguably the boldest PR statement as a response to the murder of George Floyd, stressing the need to dismantle white supremacy while calling out specific individuals, legislations, and departments that need to be changed.

 

As younger generations grow more interested in making an impact on the world, they will subsequently support brands who are doing the same. Inspiring your audience doesn’t necessarily mean supporting the most provocative issues or giving away the greatest sum of donations – it could be as simple as decreasing your carbon footprint or participating in local philanthropy with your team. 

At Media Bridge, we believe the best marketing strategy is to care. It’s why Leading with Heart is at the forefront of our core values. And it’s why we actively use our brand as an opportunity to be part of something bigger than ourselves in our most authentic form. Read more about our mission to Lead with Heart.

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