Pocket Rocket Agency

Do Brands Really Care or Is It All PR?

Have you noticed the trend that more and more brands have started doing charity work? The participation and implementation of various social projects has become a kind of flash mob. Doubts creep in from such hype: are brands really interested in this for noble purposes, or is everything being done for the sake of PR?

As a rule, charity is the most important PR tool, it is able to form an image and reputation as a socially responsible company, become an important informational occasion. The introduction of charity into the communication activities of a commercial company is an indicator of its stability, seriousness, legality and success.
Some catchy statistics:

  • 71% people think that companies should take a stance on social movements, they unsure whether businesses are genuine and whether it even matters as long as it raises awareness for an important issue or cause.

  • Twenty-nine percent of people (29%) think businesses support social movements for self-serving reasons, like to earn more money: attract specific customers (20%), and earn media coverage (19%).

  • Twenty-eight percent of people (28%) think businesses support social movements because they care about the issues the movement addresses
What does a real social-oriented brand mean?
  • Social marketing campaigns based on values are aimed not only at promoting a product or service, but also at promoting a set of values that correspond to the target audience.

  • Such campaigns are aimed at establishing contact with the audience, appealing to its values and beliefs, and not just to sell a product.

  • Authenticity is a key element of value-based social marketing campaigns. Consumers easily recognize dishonesty and react badly to it.

  • Value-based social campaigns can have a positive impact on society by promoting social goals and encouraging positive behavior.

  • Such campaigns require a long-term commitment to the values they promote, as well as a short-term marketing strategy.
Nike's brand activity
At the end of May 2020, US residents took to the streets to protest against the death of George Floyd and a rally in support of social equality and justice. In this tense situation, Nike has raised its voice: in a video entitled "Don't Do it this Time", released on May 29, 2020, Nike spoke out against racism, against inaction and silence and called on everyone to become part of the change.

Nike was not alone. In the following days, a number of brands joined the campaign, including Netflix, Visa, Delta Air Lines and Toms, to speak out against social injustice and racism.
It's not a secret that Nike is one of the most social-oriented brand. For example When Nike co-produced a commercial with former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2018, some buyers called for a boycott of the brand. Their voices were largely drowned out by mass advertising support, which was a great marketing move that affected Nike's profits.

Nike's stock price rose 5% after the announcement of Kaepernick's merger with the company. In addition, the company made a profit of $ 6 billion, and the advertising campaign was highly appreciated. The subsequent issue of Kaepernick shoes was sold out by Nike on the very first day.

Subsequently, the company pledged to donate US$ 40 million to organizations dealing with social justice issues.
How can brands participate in social programs and not succumb to criticism from consumers?
A community-first approach should be used and work directly with communities to find out what they really need and how they can contribute to long-term change.

As one of the respondents of HS Rolodex said: "When brands decide to participate more actively in social projects, they can do so if their ambitions go beyond selling more goods. They need to choose carefully which social cause matters to them. This may be due to a genuine tradition, a cultural event, or a long-term vision that connects the business and the brand for the future. Short-term sales of goods and social actions can be perceived as cheap and provoke the wrong message."
For example over the past few years, Tommy Hilfiger has become known for its socially oriented companies dedicated to topics such as diversity and sustainable development. Tommy Hilfiger's latest initiative, Moving Forward Together, is also based on the social good and aims to help the fashion industry and creative workers overcome the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. When AW20 was first launched, consumers were asked "not to throw anything away, everyone, In accordance with the brand's commitment to the principle of "everyone is welcome", they were invited to participate in the joint digital creation of new clothes from surplus fabrics (as well as to support participants who were unemployed or in any way affected by the pandemic).
Define your brand authenticity
Authentic brands are those that prefer to be transparent and consistent in their messages and branding initiatives. And, most importantly, they are honest.

Do you know what happens when customers don't trust a brand - when they feel that the brand isn't authentic? They often start looking for other brands that they can trust.

The credibility of your brand has never been so important. According to the latest data from Stack, 90% of buyers call brand reliability an important factor when deciding which brands they like and which brands they support.
Choosing the right values is crucial for a successful social campaign that will resonate with your audience.

When choosing company values, it is also important to take into account current cultural trends and events.

For example, if there is currently an active movement towards environmental sustainability, then it may be effective to highlight environmentally friendly working methods.

Keeping track of what is most important to your audience will help keep your company relevant.
Why brand authenticity is crucial for winning customers?
Targeting the younger generation

Generation Z today accounts for 20% of the market. It is also worth considering that teenagers have an impact on the purchasing habits of the older generation. Research shows that Generation Z and millennials prefer "real and organic" brands over "perfect and well-packaged" ones.

According to a study conducted by DoSomethingStrategic (via MarketingDive), two-thirds of Generation Z respondents said that their "favorable attitude towards brands has increased due to their connection with a social purpose." They want companies to support the issues they care about. Brands cannot afford to lose customers by ignoring the demands of these generations.
Create an emotional connection.

Authentic ideas and messages often arouse people's sympathy. They create an emotional connection between the brand and the consumer.

Emotional marketing is a powerful tool for increasing sales and building customer loyalty. By harnessing consumers' emotions and strengthening emotional connection, companies can create more compelling marketing messages and encourage action.
Rise above the noise.

The business world is overflowing with information. It's not easy to separate authentic messages from authentic brands.

Customers often use ad blockers and anti-spam tools to filter messages. If you carefully make sure that your words and actions are authentic, customers will do word-of-mouth marketing for you.
Noble Brands
In 2023, six noble brands will lead the world in the field of social justice:

  • Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream
  • Patagonia, a clothing company
  • Warby Parker, eyewear company
  • TOMS
  • Zero Motorcycle Shoes
  • Seventh Generation brand of cleaning products

These companies speak at the global level on a variety of issues - from climate change to access to education and healthcare.
Each brand gives priority to. For instance:

  • Ben & Jerry's prioritizes fair pay in its supply chain.
  • Patagonia pays special attention to environmental sustainability.
  • Warby Parker provides affordable glasses to low-income people.
  • TOMS Shoes donates a pair of shoes to a child in need for each pair purchased.
Companies advocating for social justice are like superheroes inspiring their fans to take action. Just as superheroes use their powers to fight for justice and protect the innocent, so companies advocating for social justice use their influence and resources to positively influence society. When buyers see that companies are taking an active position on issues such as racial equality, LGBTQ+ rights and environmental sustainability, they themselves are inspired to take action. It's like seeing superheroes in action and being motivated to do good deeds in your own communities. Moreover, just as superheroes have loyal fans who look up to them, so companies that prioritize social justice have loyal customers who support their mission and values. These clients become defenders of the company and talk about its initiatives, just as superhero fans share their love for their favorite heroes with others. Ultimately, companies that prioritize social justice are not just companies, but agents of change, inspiring their customers and giving them the opportunity to change the world for the better.

But remember: brands should only get involved where they can truly share their thoughts, opinions and social decisions, or they have a reason to participate, and not when it's just fashionable or if it's done in terms of making money.