Zach Boyette is the co-founder and managing partner of Galactic Feda remote growth marketing agency with staff in over 17 countries.
Many consumers today are looking for more than just good products or excellent services from brands. A clear mission statement and an indication that the company is contributing to positive social change has become practically essential in today’s world.
According to a Kantaro study, 68% of consumers expect brands to be clear about their values. Younger generations seem to prioritize this the most, with 46% of millennials expecting brands to speak up and show themselves for change, followed by 42% of Gen Z.
At my company, evoking positive social change and making a difference in the world is an essential part of our business. With our non-profit arm, we are able to partner with agencies and freelancers to provide marketing services to companies doing good in the world and to support those in need in times of war, hardship and political strife. Most recently this involved assisting in the evacuation of 11 women and children from their unsafe homeland to a new location.
Use your business for good.
If the thought of helping refugees displaced by war or fleeing, campaign as Nike’s impressive “For Once, Don’t Do It” seems daunting, it’s okay to start small. Here’s how.
Find effective collaborations.
My company’s nonprofit thrives with the support of our team members and other agencies and partners. The family rescue was in partnership with others who helped us coordinate accommodations and travel and enabled us to raise more money faster. We also relied on team members to raise awareness of the family’s needs and help us directly on the ground in their country.
If your brand is just starting out with creating a mission and moving towards positive change, it’s essential to look for partnerships and mentors to help you get there.
“Don’t try to solve big problems on your own”, writes Sarah Clark, a public relations expert. “Involve your customers, suppliers and other stakeholders in creating solutions. Find out how to scale your efforts to gain real momentum.”
Do it step by step.
There are a plethora of social issues for your brand to focus on: climate change, racial injustice, poverty, war, etc. If you want to donate to charities that support all of this, that’s great. If your business doesn’t have the opportunity to do that, pick one that your brand values right now and start there.
You can always feel that your company could and should do more, but this can eventually lead to ‘burnout and fragmented effort’, as explained by informed† “If you have a concrete goal for your corporate social responsibility, you can make concrete plans to achieve it. Plus, it helps you identify and measure the effects you want to get out of your efforts. You can also align your social initiatives with your organizational goals to fully integrate into the culture of your company.”
Actions rather than words.
When you say you’re going to work as a brand to evoke positive social change, promise. Explore how you can help effectively, involve team members in planning, and get to work.
It is also important to support issues that: really important to your business. Don’t risk looking tone-deaf or performative, as that can backfire.
In 2020, for example, L’Oréal Paris joined thousands of other brands to speak out against racial injustices and support the Black Lives Matter movement. A model who worked with the company, Munroe Bergdorf, accused the company of racist and performative actions. This caused a huge public reaction to the brand, but in the end they were able to to learn of this and start taking steps in the right direction.
L’Oréal Paris president Delphine Viguier spoke directly with Munroe and the two were able to have an open and constructive conversation. Shortly afterwards, L’Oréal announced that Munroe would join the company as an advisor on the UK Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board. Munroe also noted that L’Oréal pledged to donate money to charities in the UK that support the fight against racial injustice and support trans and gender diverse children. Despite the negative start, L’Oréal was able to come back, learn from its mistakes and move forward as a better brand.
If you want to take action as a company, it is important that your mission and motivations match the goals you support. This will make the work you do to help appear authentic with good and true intentions.
Now is the time to engage your brand in creating positive social change in the world. With a passionate and goal-oriented team, there is no right or wrong way to start. Dedicate your time, money and resources to goals that matter to your business and start as big or as small as you can.
You are ready to make a difference. And by doing this, you are not only helping others in the world, but you are also helping your employees instill a higher sense of purpose in their work, resulting in a boost in company morale and motivation.
So what are you waiting for?