We’ve all grown up reading or listening to stories about heroes who stood up for what they believed in, raising their voice from the herd of millions – to be heard.
We all love these heroes.
But what if you could turn your brand into a hero?
Social consciousness in branding and marketing (also called Cause Marketing) can help you position your brand as a socially responsible brand, someone who cares, someone who is not afraid to stand up for what’s right.
According to a 2015 Nielson report, 66% of people said they are willing to pay more for products if the brand’s values are aligned with their values. The rising awareness about societal and environmental concerns have been driving conversations (and heated debates) on social media.
And everyone is on social media, even the brands. And brands can leverage SMO to drive more attention to their communications.
That’s why it’s easier than ever for brands to become a part of a conversation or strike a dialogue with its consumers about things they care about. It builds trust in the brand and inspires your consumers to form a lifelong relationship with your brand.
Moreover, when you use SMO (social media optimization) to align your messaging to talk about social and environmental issues, your consumers become your brand ambassadors. You’ll receive mentions and shares on social media, you’ll be lauded for your efforts and people will talk about your initiatives for many days to come.
What are the Types of Socially Conscious Marketing?
There are many ways brands can implement socially responsible marketing into their campaigns or activities they can take part in that may or may not directly affect their consumers.
It could range from taking corporate social initiatives like philanthropy, volunteering, and ethical production to running cause promotions and behavior change campaigns towards a better, more responsible society. As G. D. Wiebe wrote in the winter issue of Public Opinion Quarterly in 1951:
Why can’t you sell brotherhood and rational thinking like you can sell soap?
Socially responsible marketing is an umbrella term that covers a lot of different issues concerning anything from hyperlocal issues to global problems and can be broadly categorized into one of the following types:
- Social Good: Promoting health and social awareness to influence behavior change for the greater good of the individual and the community as a whole.
- Cause Marketing: Promoting a cause through brand messaging and communication including but not limited to activism.
- Green Marketing: Changing or improving products, production processes, and other activities to reduce the negative effects on the environment.
- Quality of Life: Promoting wellness and happiness covering areas like beliefs, liberty, and equality for better social environments.
Why is Socially Responsible Marketing Important?
It Resonates with your Customers
Brands tend to put people into buckets, called demographics. Although this approach helps in targeted advertising and helps in creating relevant content, relying on it too much can prove to be disastrous.
We, as humans, share deep-rooted beliefs and emotions in spite of glaringly different lifestyles and appearances. Abstract concepts like love, belonging, acceptance, and truth are some of the key emotions that resonate with all people across genders, geographies, ideologies, and lifestyle choices. At the core, we have more similarities than we may notice.
Brands can create campaigns around global, or even hyperlocal concerns, to tap into these universal emotions to build better relationships with their customers, increasing the chances of brand loyalty. Services like SEO and SMO help you take these campaigns further, targeting your most ideal customers.
It Invites Talent
As mentioned earlier, the masses have woken up to concerns bigger than themselves and a lot of these people want to make an impact on the world around them.
The result is a highly motivated group of people who are willing to go the extra mile to build something of value, participating in change. This motivation allows them to pursue greater, and bolder, goals which could be beneficial for brands as novel and innovative ideas take shape.
These people could be valuable assets to your business and they are out there looking for jobs that don’t just pay but provide an opportunity to proactively participate in initiatives taken for the greater good.
Investors Notice It
Investors breakdown ideas to the basics and there’s a good reason for it – they’re putting their hard-earned money into it. They want to know what their money is used for and how.
Most of the investors out there are looking for brands and ideas that are going to impact the world in their own little ways because that’s a sign that the company will become successful – adding value.
Socially responsible marketing puts you on the investors’ radar and they notice that you’re contributing to a better world and how it might impact the society at large. It becomes easier to bring and retain investors on your mission.
It gives your Brand a Purpose
In a world that’s running haywire with disruptive technologies and higher competition, there’s always something a little better or a little easier. In a pool of so many brands fighting for attention, it’s difficult to stand out.
Unless you’re a business with a purpose
Having a purpose gives you a story and everyone loves stories. Your story will tell the world that what you do is not just for profit but you have got a purpose that’s much required, that you’re there to inspire, to motivate, to make people take action. To build a better world.
The sense of purpose is a comforting thought and when you are brand, it’s not just you who belong to this mission of yours. Everyone associated with your brand is part of it, be it the customers, your employees, or investors.
That’s why it’s important for you to create marketing strategies that are not just focused on selling but contributing to some positive change.
However, creating a social media campaign around a cause is risky, especially when you don’t have any history of corporate responsibility to fall back on. There’s also the chance that your campaign might take an uglier turn if your stand is controversial or if the intended message got lost in the translation.
What makes a Socially Responsible Marketing Strategy Successful?
Cognitive marketing is the science behind socially responsible marketing or any marketing for that matter. It involves creating campaigns and messaging based on a deeper understanding of the state of mind of potential customers.
In simple words, it involves communicating with them about things that are already going on in their minds and presenting positive thoughts to give them a slight nudge, asking them to buy your product.
Let’s discuss how you can create a successful socially conscious campaign:
Know your Audience
As mentioned before, understanding your customers’ thought process and state of mind is probably the most crucial part of creating your successful campaign. Progressive technologies like Artificial Intelligence is helping brands understand customer behavior through hard data to extract what’s going on in your customers’ minds.
Concept expansion and sentiment analysis are some of the strategies being used by brands to find precise communication for their campaigns. Moreover, knowing your audience well will help you in implementing search engine optimization in your marketing strategy, another great way of increasing your reach.
Find your Cause
Once you understand your customers at a deeper level, you understand their stance on various environmental, social, and ecological concerns. You get to know what changes they are hoping for, or even better, working towards. Tap into this cause and find ways you’ll communicate similar sentiments to them.
Choosing your cause at random, or something that’s trending, might not help you if it’s not your most ideal customers are looking for, or worse fighting against. It can have some serious ramifications as shown by some of the biggest blunders in socially responsible marketing including Pepsi’s controversial ad.
Create Unique Content
Whatever your cause, there might be some brands that are already championing it or at least trying. There’s always the chance of repetitive and cliched ideas being shared about the cause with nothing thought-provoking or fresh.
This gives you an opportunity to create unique messaging to communicate your ideas and thoughts about the cause and present it to the customers in creative ways. It’s important to keep these messages positive as positive messaging always triumphs negative emotions when it comes to communication and you don’t want to be on the losing side.
Timing is Important
Although keeping your cause or social responsibility as an integral part of your brand identity is important, you’ll come across times when the cause itself is buzzing around the world. You can leverage the renewed interest on social media and jump on the bandwagon as discussions happen.
This window of opportunity doesn’t last long which is why it’s important for you to stay updated with what discussions are happening among your consumers. Swoop in at the right time and you’ll find yourself inviting more engagements than you had anticipated.
Social consciousness for brands might seem a little counterproductive but when done right, it can drive huge revenue and build a loyal following of customers that stick around for a long time.
The Go-To Guy!is an end-to-end branding and marketing agency that aims to disrupt the conventional methods and approach to marketing and create strategies that compel and convert like never before. Get expert consultation and services ranging from Search engine optimization (SEO) to Social Media optimization (SMO) and more.