On Wednesday March 21st, a few members of our team attended the AMA-Toronto Chapter event, “The Impact of the #MeToo Movement on Marketing”. As a company that values trendsetting products, we are required to stay in the know regarding ongoing social movements and global issues that impact society. There is no doubt that social activism has been around since the beginning of time; however, in the digital age (especially with social media), social movements and their impact have reached new heights. We saw this particularly through the large awareness of the #MeToo movement that started in October 2017. In the past few months, millions of digital interactions have been posted in support of the movement, and it is clear our social landscape is changing. More recently, we have seen the emergence of the #MarchForOurLives movement. What we found particularly interesting about this discussion was the concept of observing how a Brand responds (or does not respond) to a social conversation.
Brand Interaction with Social Movements
With the strength of social media, a Brand in today’s day and age becomes personified with personality and presence especially on platforms such as Twitter and Instagram. These platforms attract a large public audience and provoke engagement through conversations and comments. We’ve seen in the past year through examples such as the Kendall Jenner Pepsi campaign and H&M failed retail advertisement that incorrect or negligent commentary on a social movement or stance can cause serious repercussions for a large and established brand. From a more positive perspective, brands such as Dove choose to align themselves with movements to establish strong connections within a community and take a social stance against the negative effects of societal social constructions. However, the question lies – when is it genuine to align your Brand with a social movement? After discussing this with a panel of successful experts at the event, Shelli Baltman, President of The Idea Suite, notes that if a social movement is not genuine and organic from the brand’s employees and culture, than it is better to not make a comment at all.
Do you judge a Brand based on their Social Stance?
It is unrealistic to suggest that you will walk down the isle of a Department store and choose your purchases while looking up which organizations and social movements supported by the brand of each product. However, as Nicole Galluci, VP of Fuse Marketing Group suggests, in the Marketing industry, people are choosing where they apply for jobs by more than just the perks of a company. It is more likely that an individual will look up the cultural values of a company rather than if they have a ping-pong table and casual Fridays. As consumers and employees we recognize that the intrinsic values of the places we work and brands we surround ourselves with have an integral impact on our own independent social constructs. In lieu of this, as a Brand – you not only have to focus on what the consumer thinks of you and your cultural/social beliefs, but what potential employees do as well.
How can your brand work in tandem with Global Movements?
It is important to ensure that the moral and cultural values within your company are strong and respected by your employees and clients. Aligning your brand with a movement to stay relevant or receive attention is not organic, and can be very apparent to users, followers, and potential clients. Our advise – if support is not authentic and verifiable by the community behind your brand, sometimes saying nothing is the best thing to do. When creating campaigns, always be sure to think consciously and keep aware of social issues around the space you are advertising your product. However, if you, your employees, and your brand truly support and demonstrate a need for change in society, then by all means go ahead – support that social movement and use your brand to leverage! What will consumers think of your support? They will see a strong community of people that respect each other and share a common goal for social change for the better.
How can you leverage Social Media with your brand to promote Social Movements?
As mentioned above, Twitter and Instagram are a great way to market public opinions and provoke conversation. The use of hashtags such as the #MeToo campaign helps individuals engage with one another and share experience by reading stories or viewing pictures associated with that hashtag. There is no doubt that large brands have huge followings behind them, and using these networks to leverage social messages and movements is very empowering. What we can take away most from this discussion is that Brands and Social Media both hold a lot of influence on today’s society, and there is a great power. As the famous saying goes “with great power, comes great responsibility”; therefore, ensuring you make the correct choice and taking the influence of your brand’s power into consideration is extremely important.
Of course, we need to tie this back to what we know best – PROMO! So without further ado, here are our top picks for the best promotional products to demonstrate support of social movements with your brand:
1. Awareness Bracelets
Bracelets are a great item that are always trending. Print your social movement large and bold for optimal visuals and a bold,strong message!
2. Inflatable Mega-Phones
This product is both convenient and safe. When walking around rallies, crowds can cause friction, so an inflatable piece ensures you are not accidentally injuring those around you carrying a large megaphone or other device. Print your slogan or message on the side of the mega-phone and others will hear you loud and clear!
These trendy tech-pieces are great places to display a strong message! Our phones are on us constantly, so showcasing something bold that makes a statement will be recognized immediately by others.
These popular noise-makers have striking impact that speak even louder when branded. Branded bam-bams will force your audience to listen wherever you are!
5. Custom Buttons
Buttons have been around in the promotional world for an incredibly long time, but that is precisely what makes them iconic. But your brand alongside a impacting statement to make your movement remembered.
Did this post inspire you to be the change you want to see within your workplace or brand? As employees of the marketing industry, we have the potential to create bold and striking products that can inspire others to take action and create positive social changes within our society. The power of social media and social movements is incredible. Promotional products have the amazing capability of propelling awareness of movements to the next level.