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Digital Marketing 6 min read

Using Your Brand For Positive Social Change In Any Industry

Zach Boyette photo

Written by Zach Boyette

Co-Founder & Managing Partner @ Galactic Fed

Dallin Porter photo

Expert reviewed by Dallin Porter

Marketing Director @ Galactic Fed

Published 26 Jun 2023

This article was originally published on Forbes on 15 Jun, 2022

Many consumers are now looking for more than just good products or excellent services from brands. A clear mission and indication that the company is helping enact positive social change have become practically vital in today’s world.

According to a Kantar study, 68% of consumers expect brands to be clear about their values. Younger generations seem to prioritize this most, with 46% of millennials expecting brands to speak out and show up for change, followed by 42% of Gen Z.

At my company, evoking positive social change and making a difference in the world is an essential part of our business. With our nonprofit arm, we are able to partner with agencies and freelancers to provide marketing services to businesses doing good in the world and support those in need during times of war, hardships and political strife. Recently, this involved assisting with the evacuation of 11 women and children from their unsafe homeland to a new location.

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Use your business for good

Brands such as Ben & Jerry’sNetflix and Disney have all stepped up to the plate when it comes to raising awareness of current issues and injustices and evoking positive social change. You can be next.

If the thought of helping refugees displaced by war or running a campaign like Nike’s impactful “For Once, Don’t Do It” seems daunting, it’s okay to start small. Here’s how.

Seek out effective partnerships

My company’s nonprofit thrives with support from our team members and other agencies and partners. The rescue of the family was in partnership with others who helped us coordinate accommodations and travel and made it possible to raise more money faster. We also relied on team members to make us aware of the family’s needs and to help us directly on the ground in their country.

If your brand is just beginning to create a mission and work toward positive change, then it is essential to seek out partnerships and mentors to help you get there.

“Don’t try to solve big problems on your own,” writes Sarah Clark, a public relations expert. “Engage your customers, vendors, and other stakeholders in creating solutions. Figure out how you can scale up your efforts to gain real momentum.”

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Take it one step at a time

There are an abundance of social issues that your brand can focus on: climate change, racial injustice, poverty, war, etc. If you want to donate to causes that support all of these, that’s great. If you aren’t in a place to do that as a company, choose one that your brand feels strongly about currently and start there.

You may always feel like your company could and should be doing more, but this can eventually lead to “burnout and scattered efforts,” as explained by Updeed. “Having a definite goal for your corporate social responsibility allows you to create concrete plans to achieve them. Moreover, it helps you identify and measure the impacts you would want to get out of your endeavors. You can also align your social initiatives with your organizational objectives to fully integrate within your company’s culture.”

Put your money where your mouth is

If you say you’re going to work toward evoking positive social change as a brand, then commit to it. Do research on how you can effectively help, involve team members in planning and get started.

It’s also important to support issues that truly matter to your company. Don’t risk appearing tone-deaf or performative, as that can backfire.

For example, in 2020, L’Oreal Paris joined thousands of other brands in speaking out against racial injustices and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. However, one model who worked with the company, Munroe Bergdorf, accused the company of racist and performative action. This brought immense public backlash to the brand, but, in the end, they were able to learnfrom this and begin taking steps in the right direction.

L’Oreal Paris president Delphine Viguier spoke with Munroe directly, and the two were able to have an open and constructive conversation. Shortly after this, L’Oreal announced that Munroe would be signing on with the company as a consultant on its U.K. Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board. Munroe also noted that L’Oreal pledged to donate funds to U.K.-based charities that supported the fight against racial injustice and supported trans and gender-diverse children. Despite the negative start, L’Oreal was able to bounce back, learn from its mistakes and begin going forward as a better brand.

If you want to take action as a company, it’s important to make sure your mission and motives align with the causes you are supporting. This will make the work you do to help come across as authentic with good and true intentions.

Let’s get started

The time to get your brand involved in creating positive social change in the world is now. With a passionate and purposeful team, there is no right or wrong way to begin. Dedicate your time, money and resources to causes that matter to your company and begin as big or as small as you can.

You are ready to make a difference. And, in doing so, you will not only help others in the world, but you will also help give your employees a higher sense of purpose in their jobs, resulting in boosted company morale and motivation.

So what are you waiting for?

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Zach Boyette photo

Zach Boyette

Co-Founder & Managing Partner @ Galactic Fed