A Millennial’s View On What Works (& What Doesn’t) In Brand Activism

A Millennial’s View On What Works (& What Doesn’t) In Brand Activism
SHARE
THIS



In this guest post, PHD strategist and Gen Y-er, Remi Baker (pictured below), says she’s a big fan of brands who get this whole brand activism thing right…

Our trust in companies, politics and advertising is at the lowest it’s been in 20 years.

It’s therefore no surprise that we are looking to brands to have a point of view, especially when it comes to cultural, social and political issues that are important to us.

Screen Shot 2017-07-17 at 4.21.43 pm

Our distrust in politics has been fuelled by a string of global events: First Brexit, then the US election and the more recent UK election. These events have brought important topics like immigration, equality and globalisation to the forefront of our agendas and have triggered a reaction, especially amongst millennials like myself. They reignited our passion to stand up for what we believe in, and with it came a feeling of responsibility; a growing realisation that it’s now up to us to influence change.

Which in turn, altered what we expect from brands. We no longer want them to simply sell us something, we want our brands to stand for something.

And don’t the big brands know it.

You just need to look back to the Super Bowl earlier this year, which was a show reel of brands trying to save the world.

They make it easy for us. I mean, what better way to feel like we’re making a difference than without actually having to venture away from the comfort of our day to day: buying a latte from a barista whose coffee supports refugees, investing with a bank dedicated to driving marriage equality and driving a car that supports gender equality. It requires minimum effort, but still makes us feel like we’re doing our bit. Like our purchases are helping save the world, even if it is just one frothy coffee at a time.

There’s been a lot of negativity around brand activism recently: Is it right? Are brands simply jumping on the bandwagon? It’s brought debate and divided opinion. Do brands have a right to play in this space? As a Millennial, I think they have a responsibility to… providing they play by the rules.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying every brand should be mindlessly badging their name onto a cause. That’s exactly the problem. There needs to be a clear, meaningful and authentic connection between the brand and issue. If there isn’t, we’re not buying it.

So just how can brands foster authentic activism to help connect with this notoriously sceptical audience? Below are a few guiding principles:

  1. Build around a single-minded brand purpose – The best brand activists have a clear and unwavering brand purpose that runs through everything they do. Their activism is a natural extension of their existing positioning and they are single minded in their approach. It’s therefore important that your brand chooses its cause wisely and focuses on only one. Brands who try to do too much end up undermining and diluting their message.
  1. Policy not politics – Don’t focus on a political stance or going up against a party or leader as that means venturing into very dangerous territory. Instead focus on a policy or issue that is important and relevant to your brand and your audience. The key word here is ‘relevant’. Tiger beer recently launched their ‘Clean Air Gallery’ campaign, partnering with Air-Ink to help transform harmful pollution into harmless ink. Whilst a nice idea, without an intrinsic link between the brand and cause, it seems a little meaningless.
  1. Practice what you preach – Make sure your brand aligns its external and internal values. Trust me, if they don’t, we will find out and it will bring everything you say into question. A good example of a brand who practises what they preach is US clothing brand Patagonia, who are committed to social and environmental conservation. Not only do they spread a message promoting conservation, but they live by the premise, with their clothing made from almost 100% recycled materials.
  1. Demonstrate your commitment – Go beyond traditional marketing, from rallying governments to leading petitions, put what you say into action. Take Air B&B as an example who are a global brand that believe in equality. How do I know that? Not just because they tell me they do in their ads, but because their actions show me that they do. From their ‘Ode to Acceptance’ Super bowl ad, to their commitment to providing free accommodation to 100,000 refugees.
  1. Stick to your guns – Every cause has two sides and when you champion a POV, there are always going to be haters. How you manage those with opposing viewpoints will say an awful lot about your brand and a brand that sticks to their guns will earn greater respect. When Holden partnered with Mardis Gras earlier this year, the biggest star to come out of the campaign was their social media team. Whilst the brand received a torrent of negative comments across their social channels, the responses from Holden remained positive and true to their cause.

Brands need to fight harder than ever to get our attention and having a point of view can be a point of difference for a brand. Yes, there’s risk involved, and the few brands that have dared tread into this territory have seen a mixed response. But those who live up to their promise and truly believe in what they say, have seen the benefits and earnt respect amongst millennials.

So, I guess it comes down to one question: who will be brave enough to take a stand?

Latest News

PHD Melbourne Wins Dodo & iPrimus’ Media
  • Advertising
  • Media

PHD Melbourne Wins Dodo & iPrimus’ Media

Media agency PHD has announced its appointment by Vocus Consumer Division, as the media agency of record representing the telcos Dodo and iPrimus brands. The appointment comes off the back of a series of wins for PHD’s Melbourne office in the last 12 months including Carlton United Breweries, Speakeasy Studio and the Caydon Property Group. Simon […]

Quiip Announces Raft Of New Business Wins
  • Marketing
  • Media

Quiip Announces Raft Of New Business Wins

Australian social media and online community management firm Quiip has announced a raft of new business wins and contract renewals. Publicis Worldwide (Australia), Sydney Adventist Hospital and the Museum of Australian Democracy have all recently enlisted the services of Quiip. The company has also had contracts renewed with VicHealth and beyondblue. Quiip is providing a […]

Women In Media Profile: Judy Sahay
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Judy Sahay

B&T's Women in Media profiles are like a wave washing over you. Even more so if an actual wave washes over you.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
How B2B Companies Can Use Their Customer Data More Effectively (And Why They Need To)
  • Marketing
  • Opinion

How B2B Companies Can Use Their Customer Data More Effectively (And Why They Need To)

In this opinion piece, SalesPreso co-founder and CMO Joel Thomson (pictured below) explains how B2B companies can use their data more effectively and deliver a personalised customer experience that matches their B2C counterparts. From the Cambridge Analytica scandal to the EU’s recent GDPR legislation, this year has prompted individuals all over the world to consider […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
M&C Saatchi Launches THIS Film Studio
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

M&C Saatchi Launches THIS Film Studio

Not one to rest on its laurels, M&C Saatchi unveils new production studio it hasn't called 'Not One To Rest On Laurels'.

Creative Agency Launches Project Management Tool ‘Hassl’
  • Advertising
  • Technology

Creative Agency Launches Project Management Tool ‘Hassl’

Yesterday at TedX Melbourne the team behind award-winning, Melbourne-based agency Your Creative launched their new tech venture Hassl, the project management platform taking on Trello and the likes. With the belief there was a better design solution to project management, the platform has been developed over the last two years in collaboration with their clients. […]

ABC Axes Tom Ballard’s Tonightly
  • Media

ABC Axes Tom Ballard’s Tonightly

It's one of the ABC's edgier, controversial shows, but Tom Ballard's proven too edgy and controversial for ABC chiefs.

Taboola Strengthens APAC Programmatic Offering With New Partnership
  • Advertising
  • Media

Taboola Strengthens APAC Programmatic Offering With New Partnership

Global discovery platform Taboola has announced a strategic partnership with Wider Planet, Korea’s largest demand-side and data management platform. The partnership builds on Taboola’s programmatic efforts in Asia-Pacific, and will bring together Korea’s largest demand platform for agencies and brands to provide access to Taboola’s global audience through premium publisher placements. The partnership means advertisers […]

The Haus Picks Up Two New Clients
  • Marketing

The Haus Picks Up Two New Clients

The Haus announces two new client wins. Admittedly, not as good as winning three, but far better than losing four.

businessman using tablet PC and information communication technology concept. IoT(Internet of Things). GUI(graphical user interface). paperless office.
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Smartly: The Future Of Martech Is Automated

Automated ad buying platform, Smartly was at the centre of the tech innovation stage at the Online Retailer conference 2018. Smartly head of ANZ Marta Bonzanini (pictured below) discussed the integral role automation plays in the future of marketers and creatives. “If an ad is not performing as well as planned, you probably have some […]

Messenger Launches Video Chat AR Games
  • Technology

Messenger Launches Video Chat AR Games

For the moments when we can’t be together IRL, Messenger video chat helps you connect in real-time with the people you care about most. Chatting face-to-face live makes all the difference when you have exciting news to share, you need a study buddy for a big test, or you simply want to pass the time […]

Sphere Wins Stockdale And Leggo
  • Media

Sphere Wins Stockdale And Leggo

Sphere snares Stockdale & Leggo business, which is a real estate group & not a simmer sauce as first reported on B&T.

Aussie AgTech Start-Up Leads Global Farming Innovation
  • Technology

Aussie AgTech Start-Up Leads Global Farming Innovation

With Aussie farmers facing so many challenges, could the answer be Blockchain technology? Ranking top 10 at this year’s Overseas Talent Entrepreneurial Conference (OTEC), pitching against 32 other start-ups from around the world, Aussie start-up Agunity are leading AgTech innovation. Having won the right to represent Australia during Investible’s nation-wide pitch competition, AgUnity took to […]

Women In Media Profile: Carolyn Bollaci
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Carolyn Bollaci

Facebook's Carolyn Bollaci is the latest to sup at B&T's truth serum we prefer to call our Women in Media profiles.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Vic Govt Unveils ‘Tafe + Jobs’ Via Fuel Agency
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Vic Govt Unveils ‘Tafe + Jobs’ Via Fuel Agency

The Fuel Agency has launched the new ‘TAFE + Jobs’ campaign, aimed to promote and drive applications and enrolments for courses starting in 2019 There’s a lot happening in Victoria, with record investment in road and rail projects, and in the health, community and disability sectors. As a result, there’s greater demand for skilled workers. […]

Rakuten Marketing Appoints New CEO
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Rakuten Marketing Appoints New CEO

Rakuten has a new CEO. However, judging by the tired handshake photo, B&T doesn't have any new ways of illustrating it.

Why Consumers Block Your Advertising
  • Advertising
  • Opinion

Why Consumers Block Your Advertising

Who better to explain why your ads are getting blocked than a real ad blocking expert. As B&T has done right here.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Women In Media Profile: Jackie Crossman
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Jackie Crossman

B&T has spared no expense with today's top Women in Media profile, save for suit hire, corsage and dry-cleaning.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Kantar certified by Google as a verified Measurement Partner
  • Technology

Kantar certified by Google as a verified Measurement Partner

The announcement designates Kantar as an approved third-party measurement provider for brands looking to verify their media spend performance on Google owned platforms. Kantar is approved globally to provide both Brand Lift Insights for evaluation of brand impact from campaigns and for independent measurement of audience reach from campaigns on Google properties. Kantar CEO Eric […]

THIS
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

Final Call! B&T Late Entries Close Today!

B&T Award entries officially close at 5pm today! Good news if you've almost finished, bad news if you haven't started.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Australian Women’s 15s World Cup Bid Kicks Off
  • Campaigns

Australian Women’s 15s World Cup Bid Kicks Off

“It’s 2018”, is something you hear a lot when you talk to the players, coaching staff and fans involved in Rugby AU’s bid for the ‘Rugby World Cup Women’s 2021’ tournament. There is this sense that they are not only ready for a greater stage, but raring to go. As one player said “Ready?! We’re […]

Aussie Silk Brand Harnesses Kardashian Marketing Power
  • Marketing

Aussie Silk Brand Harnesses Kardashian Marketing Power

Shhh Silk is an Australian brand that quickly grew in popularity among celebrities like Gisele Bündchen and Kim Kardashian West. Shhh Silk has just received a $1.8 million order from a very large brand in the US, and CEO Olivia Carr’s projections is for this to be a $50 million business in five years’ time. […]