t is possible to balance social impact and financial goals. After all, if you want to make a big impact, you need money to do it. And if you have a lot of money, you should be making a social impact. Profit and ethics are not mutually exclusive, nor are they paradoxical. In fact, they are the new black!
Purpose-lead marketing and Social Procurement has increased for a reason, and that reason is because the expectations of target audiences have changed and are continuing to change, and many brands have reacted accordingly. Millennials range from their early twenties to their late thirties – depending on who is categorising the generation – and represent a large portion of both current and future contributors to the economy. While much is said about this generation being lazy, self-entitled, entrepreneurial, amongst other things, they are also passionate online activists. From Black Lives Matter to #metoo, the digital generations have a wider scope of influence than previous generations and enjoy getting behind social initiatives (even some questionable ones).
Digital generations have also been bombarded with online advertising for most of their lives, and because of this message dilution, brand alignment and loyalty have become more important than ever in the buyer’s decision-making. While we aren’t advocating throwing caution to the wind and running an advertising campaign on changing society, we are pointing out that if your brand doesn’t align with and support a social cause, then you can consider yourself soon-to-be-disrupted by your competitors who do.
When evaluating which causes you should get behind, consider your audience and your product or service. A women’s clothing brand would do well to support domestic violence related homelessness in the markets in which they operate for example. Businesses not wanting to align with a cause can implement a Social Procurement policy to ensure that all purchasing decisions prioritise sourcing from ethical or social suppliers. If you’re unsure or your solution is broad, check out Pledge 1% and join the likes of Salesforce and Atlassian in the growing corporate philanthropy movement.
If your brand needs a bit of finessing before you pick your cause and shout it from the rooftops, let us help you.