Brand activism is the right thing to do (for business too)

2022-06-29T12:55:20-05:00March 8, 2021|Opinion|

Many modern companies have a heart for issues that matter, from advocating for racial justice and gender equality to making the workplace more trans-inclusive, addressing the homelessness crisis to promoting awareness about animal testing, and much more. 

At the end of the day, your business wants to establish itself as an industry leader that customers can trust to deliver high-quality products and reliable services, as well as one that stands up for important causes and sticks to its word.

But engaging in social activism isn’t just the right thing to do, it can also benefit the bottom line. While you may lose some customers by speaking up and making a commitment to social, political or cultural activism, you will better identify and resonate with an audience that aligns with your values.

How is brand activism good for business?

Consumers who buy from brands that prioritize social issues like racial justice are fiercely loyal. If you stand up for the best interests of your customers in a measurable way, they will not soon forget. In that way, brand activism is a great strategy for long-term profitability by ensuring more life-long brand loyalists.

Customers don’t just notice companies who are doing good, they see and call out companies who stay quiet when it matters. Playing the middle ground can feel safe, but in an age of increased awareness surrounding issues such as gender equality, treatment of immigrants and more, silence can speak volumes. If your audience doesn’t feel supported, they will take their business to a competitor who stood up, showed solidarity and made them feel supported.

Certainly, consumers are happy to see their favorite brand posting on social media for LGBTQ+ Pride or Black History Month. However, it can also feel like the companies they admire often don’t do enough to actually back up their verbal show of support. It’s better not to try and capitalize on social justice issues if your company is not willing to commit to authentically helping positive change happen.

Brand activism also clarifies your company’s mission and promotes brand awareness. News of your commitment to diversifying your hiring, paying a living wage or donating to local causes will spread, and promising sales leads that you may never have reached will want to find and learn more about your organization. 

You’ll attract higher-quality hires by engaging in brand activism too. Employees feel better about working at a place that cares, and they may be more willing to go above and beyond, stick around longer or speak favorably about your organization. In this way, you save time and energy dealing with employee turnover or recruitment, and time is money.

Advocating for causes like a fair wage or solutions to alleviate poverty are great for people, and they’re great for the economy. When more workers have a stable job and aren’t living paycheck to paycheck or fighting homelessness, they are more able to pay into the economy, and in turn are more able to support your business.

What is a simple way to commit to brand activism?

Staying current on the latest social movements also helps you to stay relevant online, which is crucial for brand awareness, lead generation and sales. If you mean what you say, share diverse perspectives and amplify voices that need to be heard or are saying something different, your audience will begin to take notice. 

Many of the most engaged Millennial and Gen Z consumers discover almost all of their favorite brands online, especially if they have an engaging social media presence. These groups have huge buying power and bestow an approving cool factor when they share your brand with their peers online. 

If you want to get involved, but aren’t sure how, start by building a dedicated landing page on your website for a cause or causes you are connected to and make clear what you are planning to do. It’s great to support a variety of movements for equality, but spotlight the ones that are most relevant or meaningful to your business. On this new landing page, put your socially responsible company values statement regarding workplace equality, ending world hunger, supporting immigrants’ rights, or the cause for which you’re advocating. 

Express the tangible steps you are taking as an organization to address the issue. Be open to accountability by sharing what your company has done so far, or how much further you have to go. Display stats, such as what percentage of profits were donated to a specific charity or how much more diverse your staff is now compared to a year ago. Lastly, provide a way for supporters to donate or participate and collect email addresses so people can follow your campaign over time.

Get involved today

Some large companies have come under fire for publicly claiming to support activist causes, then privately donating to groups or engaging in business practices that do the exact opposite. Of course, many organizations do have true, good intent but still are not perfect, and they should be ready to humbly address criticism and improve themselves. Push back is just part of the process.

Every business is in it for profit, there’s no getting around that. But remember that trying to do the right thing for social reasons can also have a positive economic impact on your company in the long run. 

PowerPublish believes that all organizations and groups, especially those that have historically been silenced or marginalized, should have a voice and be able to promote their business, social cause or community effort successfully. For companies that are interested in brand activism, we can help you transform how you create and publish original, high-quality content in a way that is more authentic, affordable and engaging than expensive, traditional ad agencies. Do more than marketing around social issues; PowerPublish your brand activism. Contact us today for a demo or to order premium content.

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