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BRAND ACTIVISM. SOCIAL POLITICAL ENGAGEMENT OR JUST TO FIT IN.

AN ARTICLE WRITTEN BY CLAUDIO RIBEIRO KRAUSE, HEAD OF STRATEGY AND CO-FOUNDER AT FIRE CAN BURN.


We were not familiar with the term "brand activism" a short time ago.

This is a phenomenon that has spread around the world and is being used as a tool to increase the popularity of some brands, especially those that already have a strong presence in different social media channels.

Should brands always raise a flag against injustices and have a more active political participation in the world?

Most brands today do not take a step forward without the help of research and big data. When we think that some of them are putting their reputation at risk by showing their face and increasing the volume of their voices, you can be sure that in many occasions this risk is calculated.

Taking the example of the American market, almost 60% of the population wants the companies from which they buy products to take a stand on issues like racial discrimination and social justice.

In a report by researcher Derrick Feldmann, half of respondents said they often do online surveys to see how a brand reacts to social issues.

The survey also points out what consumers expect most from a company beyond quality products and services.

  • Focus on product sustainability.

  • How the company treats its people.

  • A company should share a position or opinion about racial equity.

In other words, raising a flag is important, but it does not represent something so heroic these days. Everything is scientifically measured.

Although Nike received criticism from part of their customers regarding its positioning after George Floyd's death, their sales grew 31% from Sunday to Tuesday compared to the previous year.

But it's always important to examine a few points and make a movement from the inside out. It is worth answering a few questions before acting, for example:

1) Do your brand values have an essential alignment with a certain cause or is your company simply following a wave? Its good to understand that some brands have this urge in their DNA, in their archetypes, others do not.

2) Does your brand really care? The relevance of these manifestations needs to be based on truth, through a reaction that comes from within, which is also based on example 1.

3) Your company has a financial amount to invest in these actions and bear the consequences. Because it is not just getting likes or comments, it is being able to afford constant maintenance so that the message has strength and permanence, in addition to bearing possible losses and restructuring of positioning or campaign, in case the rejection is greater than the support of your audience.

Pepsi had to withdraw an ad with American celebrity Kendall Jenner after criticism that he had trivialized the Black Lives Matter movement. The company said it was "trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding".

It is important for a brand to speak publicly about a cause, it is a right they have and in many cases a duty, but it is fundamental, that before trying to protect the world, brands must first protect their reputation and take care of their purpose , always remembering to make a movement from the inside out and not the other way around.

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