Social and Environmental Responsibility of Brands

In the past years, consumers have been more concerned about price and convenience. But now, the way consumers think has changed entirely. They are being more driven by beliefs and values. They consider taking care of the environment and society their responsibility. When it comes to brands, companies, or organizations, they expect the same from them. They want to see more businesses that can help improve the world along with generating their sales and revenues. When they face a social or environmental issue, they look towards the brands instead of the government as they are now capable of making changes through their products and marketing strategies.

When brands focus on the features of their products, it doesn’t affect the intent of the consumer as much as it does when brands focus on the value. For instance, one of the most renowned brands, Starbucks, is supporting gay marriages to make it possible for adults to live with their partners without the fear of being judged or criticized. In addition to this, brands are also incorporating the values in their loyalty programs. As a result, they experience a boost in their sales as more consumers get attracted to their products or services.

However, we must know the difference between a good and bad social campaign as a marketer to be able to make wise decisions.

Difference between a Good and Bad Social Campaign

Brands are running social campaigns by pairing up their promotion with a social or environmental issue. It requires a lot of courage to go this way, as it can lead to controversies as well. The brands need to analyze the issue properly to ensure that they can handle it wisely. However, they must also know the thin line difference between a good social campaign and a bad one.

In a good social campaign, the product will be used to convey a positive social message to the audience. It helps promote the product but in a subtle way. On the other hand, in a bad social campaign, brands use the message to promote their product. The bad social campaign can also backfire as consumers are getting more awareness over time. If they observe a brand not being part of that specific social or environmental cause which it is promoting in an ad, they would stop trusting the brand and react negatively.

A good social campaign offers a lot of benefits, i.e. it will cause to increase both customer engagement and customer loyalty. The youngsters are more responsive to a good social campaign with no hidden cost, purpose, or agenda. Moreover, people from other age groups also feel attracted to a good social campaign naturally. Another great example of a good social campaign is “The New York Times”. It started a campaign “The Truth is Worth it” and promoted it on multiple platforms to keep its consumers updated and informed. It caused a positive impact on its target audience as it didn’t deviate from its mission or goal.

Some consumers might not be able to see the connection between the campaign/ad and the value/message of the brand clearly. So, a good social campaign will highlight the purpose of choosing a specific social or environmental issue. It would also make its customers understand why and how the issue is related to the brand or product. Those days are long gone when the companies were only concerned about selling their products without realizing any social or environmental responsibility. Brands that understand the consumers’ needs and their responsibility are growing at a fast pace.

 Importance of taking a STAND based on a social or environmental cause

To make the consumers feel better

Consumers are looking for those companies or brands that can promise them a better future. The value of a brand and its product is now determined by its contribution to making the world a better place for people. It is also reported that most consumers feel better about themselves when they make a purchase that can help improve their society or environment in any way. They are more comfortable buying products that are produced sustainably and can also be recycled.

To get a competitive advantage

Consumers are no more interested in brands with old-school thoughts that are not associated with a greater cause. Such brands need to modify their marketing campaigns to compete with the younger, new, and purpose-driven companies. One-third of the consumers make their purchasing decision based on the social performance of a brand or company. Moreover, when you connect your goal with a social cause, it helps attract a skilled workforce that can further drive financial success. According to a recent study, 85% of people have admitted that they recommend those brands or products to others that have a strong purpose or value.

To Drive Change

As an individual, it becomes impossible and overwhelming to bring change in the world. But when different companies or brands cooperate to take any action, it leads to greater changes in the world. For instance, Unilever took a stand for using palm oil from sustainable sources. It cooperated with NGOs, the government, and even with its competitors for environmental benefit. It didn’t only help the company grow but the industry also adopted sustainable palm oil.

In a nutshell, brands need to realize their social and environmental responsibility. However, it doesn’t mean that they have to sacrifice their profits. Instead, when they integrate a greater cause in their business strategies, they ultimately find success in the way.

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