Social Responsibility: How Brands Can Use Marketing to Send a Strong Message

Diversity. Inclusion. Equality. Wellness.

All of the words above have one thing in common: they are current issues that are now at the core of marketing and advertising. Why is this? As with any time period, social movements often take precedent when it comes to creating strong messaging.

And this approach makes a lot of sense. After all, aligning a brand’s mission and messaging with social themes can often pay off in the form of loyalty from customers. However, this can’t be a project that’s done without forethought. In fact, approaching a messaging shift to align with social themes can often backfire when done improperly.

Be Authentic

At its core, a value-driven marketing approach must be authentic. This cannot be emphasized enough. Consumers are smart, and much information is public. If a company simply uses diversity as a poster, without shifting core values, enacting updated policies to improve the approach to diversity, or uses a spokesmodel of color to simply shift attention away from a faux pas committed in the past, then this will come to light. And it won’t be pretty.

So the first step to a value or message-driven campaign is to ensure authenticity. This means that including a more diverse cast of models is not the only part of the company that shifts to be more inclusive. This means that diversity will be embraced in all corners of the business, even those invisible to the public eye.

Long-Term Change

A value-driven campaign should not be temporary. This is why social causes are so powerful — they enact long-lasting change, not just a trendy shift in visuals.

Above all, a brand’s marketing efforts should be genuine. The campaign should truly empower those it speaks to, and it shouldn’t be done for appearances only.

What about creating the campaign itself? What are some ways to ensure the messaging is genuine and authentic?

First, consider the target audience for the campaign. What do they want to see, hear, think? If you don’t know the answer to this question, ask! Create a survey that can be distributed. Form a focus group. Find ways to solicit feedback from members of the target demographic, and structure the messaging around this feedback. This prevents issues such as tone deafness.

And find genuine connections between the business, the mission of the brand, and the values that the campaign is aligning itself with. For example, a campaign for a business for CBD products may align well with the popular wellness movement, but marketing it using language associated with equal rights may not really connect with the target audience. Marketing it with language associated with wellness or with diversity? Fair game, and much easier to do authentically.

At its core, any marketing campaign worth its salt should evoke a reaction from those it reaches. It should spark an emotion, prompt the viewer to take action. How will your marketing campaign speak to the target audience?