How brand communicators should address societal marketing messages

Brand activism makes for great conversation and, if implemented properly, can lead to great PR. For evidence, you needn’t even look any further than Nike’s Colin Kaepernick marketing campaign that surfaced late last year.  

Even though PR professionals are well aware of the power of meaningful activism on a new degree, the 2019 Global Communications Report by USC’s Annenberg Center for Public Relations highlighted that the majority of CEOs from the U.S. feel their No. 1 communication objective is to sell products and services, while others place standing out among the competition because of their best communication goal.

Corporate communications professionals flip-flopped within their responses. More comms professionals were focused on differentiating the brand rather than advertising, but neither the CEOs nor the PR pros in this research expressed concern about addressing societal issues — and neither group wanted to create a priority if placing business communications targets.

When does shooting on societal issues impact a new? The solution is . There are several ways vocal social activism can negatively impact a new, and this threat must create communicators nervous. But there is also enormous potential upside if you opt for a worthwhile cause and establish your position using a pre-determined strategy for execution.

Take, for example, an AMA article from 2018 that coated the Edelman Brand Reportthat highlighted that 64% of customers want to buy from brands that take a stand on social issues. That statistic alone makes a strong case for taking a stance on social issues. And thus does helping to make a positive effect on society.

The crucial for communicators when recommending any type of contentious stance on an issue is to make sure it contrasts with the newest. Communicators of all kinds, even B2B brands, need to make sure their crucial communications goals really align with that they are and that they are seeking to connect with.

We, as communicators, must be the last line of protection on whether shooting on cause-related stances is much more than just a fantastic storyline. We need to be sure any social stance rings authentic to the core values of the business and is reflected from the executive brand message and potentially even at the company’s product or service offering. It’therefore exactly what we do best, when performed well.

Having said that, anytime you choose a stand on a controversial matter, there is the risk of coming up as tone-deaf or misaligned with your intended audience. And there are many examples of this — believe Pepsi and Kendall Jenner. That was a catastrophic marketing message that didn’t even align with all the Pepsi brand.

It’so up into the communications specialist to comprehend how to develop and deliver good cause-related communications messaging and also be strong enough in their opinions to squash the messages that are horrible if they seem edgy and creative initially.

At our company, we have a formula for these types of issues. When our creative strategy passes through those four framework questions, we proceed forward with producing either the messaging statements or the engagement ideas. If you are looking to integrate some cause-related messaging, use these questions on your next creative assembly:

• Does this align with that we are and what mark we want to depart the world? If yes, proceed to question number two.

• If this social stance offends a number of our customers because of the problem (we don’t purposefully offend), are we OK with that? If yes, proceed to question number three.

• Is it important to impact change on this statement, idea or strategy than it is to market products and services? If yes, ask yourself question number four.

• Are we currently doing or saying to make a statement for change on a societal issue or because we think it is creative and we are seeking to bring in more eyeballs? Hopefully, the answer to the latter portion of this question is no, and you may proceed having a stand for something contentious, but socially impactful for your brand.

How organizations respond to and address societal issues increasingly plays a critical part in communications and general organizational success. With a measured, strategic strategy that thoughtfully addresses the above queries, your communications group is going to soon be armed with all the knowledge required to browse making a stand your own business — and its customers — can really feel proud of.

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