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Authentic Social Responsibility Can Help Brands Connect With Consumers
More and more brands are focusing on the stories they tell their consumers, creating a bond that encourages brand loyalty. Often a brand’s story includes a mission asserting the brand’s internal values and larger cultural worldview, which ideally matches that of their customers. Brands may go about mission-based marketing in a variety of ways, including empowerment messaging, sustainable manufacturing practices, directly linking sales to support for causes or simply being true to what their brands promise.
According to a 2018 Forbes article, “nearly seven in 10 U.S. Millennials actively consider company values when making a purchase.” The article also indicates Gen X (51%), younger Baby Boomers (41%) and older Baby Boomers (33%) are increasingly making value-based decisions before making purchases.
Unilever’s Axe Campaign Chooses To Promote Body Positive Messaging
Unilever, a consumer packaged goods (CPG) company that owns more than 400 brands, decided, after years of doing the same Axe cologne campaign, to change things up and offer a more positive message. Unilever felt the famous Axe commercials of models throwing themselves at men who wore Axe, even if the men weren’t traditionally good looking, no longer matched the modern man or the society their customers live in. Instead, the new Axe commercials embrace a body-positive approach. “Find Your Magic” is series of Axe ads showing different types of men happy with who they are.
“Now more than ever, guys can be what they want, dress how they want, love who they want. That has fundamentally changed how brands engage with men — including personal care brands like Axe,” said Unilever executive Rob Candelino.
Tanka Products Support Native American Causes
In 2006 on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Native American Natural Foods created Tanka, a buffalo-based food product company that supports Native American communities and sustainable buffalo herd maintenance. Native American Natural Foods embraces several value-based business initiatives including minimally processed foods, promotion of an under-served community and a foundation, the Tanka Fund, that supports causes that align with their products. Despite being a smaller business, Tanka Fund offer donors the ability to set up sustaining donations online.
Nature’s Path And Patagonia Continue To Evolve As Brands Committed To Their Missions
Nature’s Path considers themselves “organic pioneers.” As the first USDA-certified organic cereal producer, their mission hasn’t changed, but continues to evolve. For Nature’s Path, organic is a philosophy that drives their business — including converting conventional farmland to organic and promising wholly sustainable packaging by 2025 through a partnership with Loop. Additionally, Nature’s Path donates $2 million in food each year, supports urban gardens and promotes other environmental organizations that protect animals and habitats. Their built-in audience of “moms, foodies and health nuts” allowed Nature’s Path to launch a “Love Crunch” granola with a multichannel campaign and promotion, tapping into their customer loyalty.
Patagonia is another brand that has maintained a culture of corporate responsibility, including fair labor practices, protecting migrant workers and supporting environmental causes. As Patagonia introduces new items, their mission remains the same. For instance, the mussels in Patagonia Provisions use planet-friendly organic aquaculture and local sourcing.
Brands Must Commit, Connect And Be Straightforward In Their Missions
More than a fleeting trend or an advertising tactic to attract Millennials, committing to a company mission has emerged as an imperative for corporate success, and in polarizing times can even be an opportunity. When a brand takes a stand on a controversial issue, 67% of “belief-driven buyers” are more willing to try that brand for the first time, and 48% are open to defending that brand against attacks. Even beyond social issues, consumers today want brands that are consistent, truthful and willing to connect with their customers. Meaning, whether a brand has a larger mission, or is simply trying to be true to their what their products promise, authenticity is essential when planning branding and marketing strategies.
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