With more people staying at home in the past year, we have become increasingly in touch & aware of the communities around us. Whether it’s the plight that minority groups are facing or the taboo concerning sensitive topics like racism and mental health, one trend has stood out more than ever – the advocacy of social causes.
Especially with June being Pride Month, many brands globally are jumping on the bandwagon to stand up for the cause through new marketing efforts. So when does carrying out social change campaigns seem like a one-off corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative, or a movement truly aligned with a brand’s values? Let’s take a look further at how brands incorporate social change campaigns into their brand purpose.
What are Social Change Campaigns?
Otherwise known as cause marketing or social purpose campaigns, this occurs when a brand’s marketing efforts seek to both increase its profitability and better society through supporting a cause. This marketing trend has become more prevalent with time, especially since millennials today make purchases based on values and support brands that show off their political and social beliefs.
The support received through these campaigns can then be in the form of fundraising money, in-kind donations or even a simple raising of awareness for the cause. Through these initiatives, organizations aim to show their ethical side and that they are in-tune with their consumers’ thoughts and beliefs.
The Risk of Tokenism
With so many causes being championed for at the same time, how then does your brand stand out and solidify its stance on a social issue? This is where the line between a brand’s values & an act of tokenism may start to blur.
In carrying out a social change campaign, there is a need to ensure that real impact on the society is created and that there is longevity to the initiative. This is because consumers can get skeptical about the purported cause of a brand’s efforts when it does not show tangible or evident outcomes. Rather than carrying out symbolic acts that come about with every trending cause, brands need to ensure that they are picking causes that truly resonate with their own purpose and can be weaved into the brand, not bolted on.
Doing It Right
Change comes in all forms, whether it’s big ones like community fundraising or small ones like raising online awareness. Sincerity and transparency are key in attracting your consumers’ attention and sustaining it through the long-run. For instance, Dove’s Real Beauty campaign is one of the most successful social change campaigns worldwide as it conveyed it’s brand vision of beauty coming in all forms, by championing for body positivity amongst women. Not only did this campaign advocate for a topic near and dear to many women, it also managed to sustain for over 10 years and pioneered the shift from product-centric advertising to a consumer-centric one.
Talking about social issues does not need to be all serious and weighty though. We decided to call out the salient complaints new moms had towards their husbands in this Nestlé Mom & Me campaign. Through a fun & innovative social experiment, we let men have a taste of pregnancy by donning pregnancy suits and feeling the physical discomfort their wives felt during their term. This social experiment resonated deeply with the mom community in Singapore and raised awareness and understanding amongst men about the difficulties women face during pregnancy. Videos of the experiment even became viral and the brand followed up with a ‘Daddy & Kids’ video the following year.
Besides raising awareness on social issues, fundraising is another way a brand can show support for a cause. For example, during National Day last year, Yeo’s released special edition cans that allowed its consumers to create #YeosMoments together and co-create happy memories amidst a pandemic. Besides enhancing the unity amongst Singaporeans, the brand also gave back to society by donating a total of S$10,000 to 5 charity organisations to support underprivileged families and children in Singapore. This evident contribution to society helped Yeo’s position itself as a brand that truly cared for its community and consumers.
So, what are you waiting for? Make a real impact on society today and be the change you want to see. Let us show you the best & most innovative ways to do so. Speak to us now!