Things Brands Do Before Jumping On The Social Responsibility

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The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

By Alex Friedman

Today, brand culture and pop culture are practically ubiquitous. Current culture determines the impact brand messaging has on the public, and smart brands are constantly shifting to adjust to consumers attitudes and preferences. Most notably, Millennials interest in social responsibility has driven the momentum of brands with a social component. TOMS is probably the most famous example of a socially conscious brand. It operates on a one-for-one model that has been emulated by dozens of companies, including Warby Parker.

These brands social initiatives arent completely altruistic, though. Companies understand that making consumers feel like theyre contributing to a greater cause makes a brand more meaningful, and meaningful brands typically outperform the stock market by as much as 120%. So is this shift toward social good engineered, or does it stem from a real desire to make a positive impact?

The truth is, its usually a little of both. Brands can tap into these cultural values to win consumers, but their messaging has to be authentic.

Here are four strategies smart brands use to tap into social responsibility:

1. Research Trends and Gather Intel Intel

Evolving cultural attitudes and consumer behaviors directly affect brand perception. Social responsibility messaging cant be an afterthought for brands hoping to jump on the do good bandwagon. Rather, this social component has to be ingrained in the product or service being offered.

Marlboro Marlboro was the model of consumer branding in the early 50s and 60s, but as the correlation between cigarettes and cancer became clear, pop culture shifted against messaging that encouraged smoking. TheTruth.com was a meaningful brand founded by the American Legacy Foundation in the late 90s, which corralled growing momentum against Big Tobacco and pushed anti-smoking initiatives in brand messaging.

 

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