Despite all the talks about digital and how it forever changed marketing practices, many companies still fail to realize THE most important change that it brought - transparency.
And with transparency comes accountability.
This is not to say that everything the company does suddenly became visible. It is true that a lot of tactics and decisions are kept within the business. However, if the person doesn’t like the product - they will say it, if they don’t like how you run your business - they will see through you and they will say it and if they think you don’t deliver on your values - they will say it too.
Hence, modern brands MUST have a clear purpose, preferably the one aimed at greater social good, especially in the climate of elevated consumer consciousness. And that purpose has run through everything you produce and communicate as a company (no pressure :)
“According to Forrester, nearly 70% of U.S. consumers say that a company’s social responsibility reputation influences their purchasing decisions, and 41% want to buy from a company associated with social, environmental, and political ideals.”
Millennials and Gen Z are even more radical, with 74% of them wanting to interact with companies that have a clear social stance.
So how do you do that?
- Commit to a purpose
- Be authentic
- Speak directly to your customer
Define a clear mission for your company and stand by it. Even if it is a one-man-brand. Design your campaigns, your content and other marketing activities with this mission in mind. Ask yourself: “how does this article/post/ad feed into our values and overall mission?” every time your produce something.
By the way, to prove your mission - statements are not enough, so choose it wisely. You should find ways to combine business and brand initiatives with wider social/political/environmental factors you are addressing and you should actively tell your customers how you are acting on those. Granted the scale of these pursuits might be different, but their value is still enormous.
Represent your customer community, let them see themselves throughout your brand. Do not commit to a mission that is irrelevant for your target audience. Talk to them and represent their voice. For example, if you have committed to anti-discriminatory movement, use different size and race models in your campaigns.
Authenticity is key to your brand and your marketing strategy. Yet, it requires a LOT of work. Constant data analysis, generation of insights, customer relations - all of this to really understand your consumer and answer their needs beyond your product or service.