Communicating your company’s commitment to a polarizing topic can bring on paralyzing fear. The idea of taking a firm stance on a cause your brand believes in, especially when your competitors are not vocalizing their own beliefs or making their own commitments—whether it is climate change; gender equality; diversity and inclusion; fair labor practices; sexual assault; or LGTBQ issues—can feel risky. This is especially true in 2020, with the way that information is consumed and spread at such a rapid pace with one small, vocal commitment having the potential to go viral.
But fear is no longer reason enough for brands to not take action. Consumers are clamoring for the brands that they support to take a stand for the causes and beliefs that impact them.
Gillette standing alongside the transgender community. Disney standing up to the State of Georgia for its position on abortion. National Grid standing behind our planet, stating clearly, as a utility, its position on global warming.
Yes, taking these risks can be scary. One way to assuage that fear and persuade those hesitant to move forward? Hearing from your brand's customers. Customer research was conducted before any of the above positions became public. And that research strongly supported the messaging from these companies.
These unconventional marketing approaches are only unconventional to conventional business—which describes most businesses in America. While businesses may still be conventional, their customers and prospective customers are not. And while we can debate these social issues, companies like Disney, Gillette and National Grid are separating themselves from competitors by taking a stand.
The result? Standing out in a chaotic and overcrowded market with a great deal of media attention—all while identifying with their target audiences’ need for happiness.
Financial success is driven by the emotional connection between brand and customers, and there are several important social issues to form that bond over. The real question is this: Will your brand team be bold enough to stand up in a place where everyone else is sitting down?
PS: Attending AESP's 30th Annual Conference in two weeks? Us too! Let's connect.
PPS: We're excited to be co-hosting a webinar on home batteries and the homeowner's perspective in partnership with SunCommon and AESP on February 27th! Learn more and register for the webinar here.