If ever there was doubt about how passionate consumers are about issues that are important to them, George Floyd’s tragic death and the resulting uproar from the masses, with a renewed focus on the #BlackLivesMatter movement, has provided an important wake up call. The movement for fighting and challenging injustice has driven heightened transparency and awareness around how companies are operating, where their money is going, and what they’re doing to foster diversity and inclusion.
Now, more than ever, socially conscious brands and businesses, are responding to the need to be open about the causes that are important to them, and their internal and external audiences.
Socially Responsible Marketing
Shantini Munthree, author of LOVE+FEAR: Mastering the Primal Motives of Buyers is a proponent of conscious branding which she says “takes a stance on a larger social, political or cultural debate.” It doesn’t, she says—and probably shouldn’t in most cases—mean picking a side. Instead, conscious brands focus on communicating brand support for things that matter to customers, and society as a whole.
“Brands’ voices appear most credible when an issue directly impacts their customers (47 percent), employees (40 percent), or business operations (31 percent),” according to a report from Sprout Social covered by ZDNet.
Unfortunately, too much content that is produced fails to achieve the objectives of conscious brands. Adweek points to a recent poll that found that “60% of the content produced by companies is poor, irrelevant or failing to deliver.” It doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, video can help marketers reach out to and resonate with consumers in very impactful ways with socially responsible marketing campaigns.
Video is a great platform for sharing socially conscious messages in a brand-supporting way. Here’s a look at some best practice examples.
Social growth in ways that matter
S&P global points to organizations’ increasing focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in their communication efforts. It’s a focus that consumers are responding to, they say, noting that the social bond market has a sense of purpose and clear goals that had previously been lacking. From a bottom-line standpoint, their video points out, corporations can become financially effective through a focus on the things their audiences can most about—their health, the health of the planet and meaningful change. That’s what makes these examples stand out as among the most socially responsible companies and marketing campaigns.
Shining the light on progressive products
Futuri, a company that offers cloud-based audience engagement software, used video to highlight five African American-owned businesses viewers could support to aid in the fight against racial injustice. From a bookstore, to a beauty and cosmetics products companies, to a company offering plant-based feminine care products, to a latte superfood, Futuri’s video shines the light on some innovative businesses while strengthening their own brand.
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Recognizing others who make a difference
Socially responsible marketing campaigns often call out others who make a difference. Highlighting 10 educators innovatively serving the needs of diverse students in a variety of settings, Education Post calls out the important work of educators focused on serving children of diversity in unique and meaningful ways.
Making a meaningful call to action
Membership organizations have a unique opportunity to call upon their loyal and engaged members to help them in their efforts to raise social consciousness and take action. That’s exactly what the American Jewish Committee (AJC) does in its video on what Jews can do to support the Black community. Through messages from its partners, the organization highlights voices in support of supporting “our friends and family in the Black committee. As one of the spokespeople in the video says: “It’s time to speak out.” That’s exactly what AJC provided members with a platform to do in this video.
Managing the Metrics
In 2019, Hogan Lovells, a UK-based law firm ran a self-ID campaign encouraging its staff around the UK to share their diversity data. Video provided a great way to personalize members of the firm and their efforts. Dave provided an opportunity to quantify the impacts of the firm’s D&I efforts. Progress has been made. In 2019, 17 percent of the firm was identified as being from a Black, Asian or other minority ethnic background—and increase of 13% from the prior year. Hogan Lovells is being transparent about its ethnic pay gap as well, using video to help share the message.
Inspiring socially conscious action
You may never have heard the name Mary Mahoney—but it’s the name of a woman that made a big difference as the first professional trained African American nurse in the United States. CEUfast, a company that offers continuing education for nurses, shares her story via video as an inspiration to others.
Brands walk a fine line between being appropriately supportive of critical issues in alignment with their brands, and not appearing to be opportunistic with their support. Importantly, conscious brands need to make sure that their support of social causes is aligned with their brand and a regular part of their company story—not an attempt to follow trends with the sole purpose of making more money. Real, and really aligned, action really matters.
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