As the business world evolves, brands must tailor their strategies to suit their customers. If you've been paying attention to what other companies have done over the last few years, you've probably noticed the increase in brand activism.
If your brand does not already participate in some form of activism, it's time to join us. And the only way to ensure success is to properly align with your content strategy.
What is brand militancy?
"Trademark activism is a natural evolution of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Through CSR, brands make decisions that benefit communities or audiences affected by their brands, "says content marketing specialist Amanda Dodge .
Examples: a consumer electronics company encouraging its customers to recycle old laptop batteries or a local landscaping business working to promote water conservation.
"Brand activism goes even further in CSR," says Dodge, "where brands become visible entities that pave the way for a cause."
Although CSR has been commonplace in the business world for a while, brand militancy is relatively new. In the past, companies were afraid to get involved in social and political causes for fear of alienating a large part of their customers.
As Michael Jordan once said when asked to publicly support a US Senate candidate, "Republicans also buy shoes." His message was loud and clear: when you support a problem, you are also opposed to the question. By remaining neutral, you avoid rocking the boat. In his case, why would he want to alienate half of the people who would probably buy his shoes?
While Jordan's logic is still valid – and has been the predominant approach for brands and public figures for years – the number of brands that are silent is dwindling. This is largely due to market pressures, especially social media.
Despite the many opportunities that social media has offered businesses, they have also created additional pressure and exposure. While brands have been able to sit silently and hide behind an invisible curtain, they are now exposed to harsh public criticism if they choose to remain silent about issues the market expects to engage in dialogue.
"Anyone can directly contact the brand on a public platform and in real time", expert in content marketing Nicole D'Angelo writes . "If someone is mad at you, your social media people will have a hard day at work. If enough people are angry at you, it easily turns into a boycott and your financial results may be in danger. "
An example would be Uber, who recently dealt with the implications for sexism. It was so strong that a whole #DeleteUber movement came into being almost overnight and sent thousands of customers to Lyft, a direct competitor.
In all honesty, Uber did not make much difference to what other companies have done in the past: "But because of the scrutiny of social media, these practices would probably have gone unnoticed two decades. of international outrage, "says Angelo. "Instead of appearing in a few newspaper articles here and there, corporate injustices are now posted online and broadcast around the world faster than a public relations team can blink."
For better or for worse, this is the current situation and the best option for companies is to be proactive and take advance on these issues.
Using Content to Advance Brand Activism
Content plays a vital role in brand advocacy work. In reviewing your own content strategy, here are some things to consider.
1. Identify your cause
The motivations for your content will become clear. If you want your brand's activism to be genuine, you need to identify a cause that is important to you. More importantly, your marketing team needs to worry about this.
2. Think of your audience
As with any element of marketing and branding, the public also counts. You should find a problem that cuts across the interests of your brand and the interests of your customers. This helps with responsiveness and reinforces the relatability of your brand.
3. Using social media
Your content strategy has a lot of room, but social media should be at the center of your brand's activism. This is where the masses come together and it's the best place to maximize your return on investment.
Remember that social media is a two-way street. Do not just broadcast content and bark your subscribers. Take the time to listen, engage yourself and respond to comments. The more you make your activism a conversation, the more transformational it becomes.
4. Take Action
It's not enough to share content on social media. If you want your audience to take you seriously, there needs to be follow up.
"Social media allows everyone to communicate, but these voices must be followed by action so that the role of social media continues to have an impact" Chioma Azeh writes for InMyArea . "Otherwise, the hashtags will lose their power as a driving force for collective action and historical change."
Find ways to align your content with concrete actions and you'll get much more from your brand activism. This is probably the hardest part of the equation, so take your time with this part of the strategy.
5. Stay consistent
In the end, it's all about consistency. If you want to try the brand's activism, you must create a plan and stick to it . Your content can not deviate from the message and you can not contradict yourself or give your audience a reason to question your motives.
Do not be distracted
You can no longer afford to be sidelined. At best, it makes your brand irrelevant. At worst, it allows you to be a target. By identifying a cause you believe in and pursuing brand aggression through a computed content strategy, you can stay ahead of the market and push your brand to the next level.
If you want to see how organized content can help you get your communities involved and spread the message, download our eBook!