Where were you when social media platforms discovered anger drove more post shares than likes? How about when major brands moved messaging away from product-centric ads around holidays to hardcore political activism? If you have been lucky enough to have lived under a rock the last ten years, you may have stepped out in dismay at the level of brand activism. Whether this is a good thing or not isn’t the question. What the long-term impact activism has on a brand is. Art of Strategy Consulting has the advice you need.
The uncommon truth brands must remember is “anything you say on social media will be held against you, forever.” Are brands feeling a push from customers to affirm their position on social issues, or is someone in marketing filling the brand’s sails with the latest trends? Some marketing is as simple as “when in Rome, do as the Romans do.” But complex social justice positions can leave brands with compromised images, especially if their company has a long but dubious past.
An antidote to the maelstrom of Brand Activism is advocacy. Companies whose brands put in the time to support a cause, regardless of how the market winds are blowing, is advocacy. Smaller brands are more adept at advocacy than larger ones and appear more genuine. Examples would be a restaurant group that offers support for waitstaff suffering from pandemic-related job losses. Is there a difference between “speaking-out” and lending a hand? You have to decide what your brand is willing to do.
Too Big to Fail
Disagreements between billion-dollar corporations and government are bound to continue – they’re both still learning how social media works. But a billion-dollar corporation can survive a temporary decline of its customer base. Can you? Like it or not, how outspoken or silent you are can depend on if you are too big to fail. Luckily, you don’t get to sit on the sidelines and hope controversy passes. Entrepreneurship is risky, but anything worth having is.
Speaking out, taking a stand, or supporting your cause is your choice. Whether you choose activism or advocacy is up to you. Take risks. Art of Strategy Consulting is here to help get your message across and put you back on the right track if things get out of hand.