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Brand Can't Say They Care Until They Prove They Care

Releasing a statement to show how aware your brand is of the sociopolitcal issue of the day is OK to do... if it's backed by real action.

Many brands have been caught out and called out by consumers in the last year of social unrest when they've sent out a message that they support the oppressed and care about equality in its many forms but haven't done anything material to change the situation.

Many have just changed the colour of their logo on social media and put up a banner on their website reaffirming their position on the issue of the day. No resources have been allocated or initiatives started. It is to be discussed whether the reason they stop short of action is because of the teams behind the communications intend to use the occasion to get attention or to just satisfy stakeholders.

If you genuinely cared about an issue, wouldn't you put your money where your mouth is? The same goes for brands and the people behind them.

You see, brands are not required to say anything in these situations. They are corporate entities that exist to make money for their shareholders while providing a product or service that a market needs or wants. If humans had thicker feet Nike would still exist but it just wouldn't sell shoes - it'll sell what people need: trousers and shirts.

Brands will always exist and live through most societal events with not much consequence.

But brands are also made up of people and these people won't live as long as the brand and societal events affect them so they personally feel as though they must say something. And they put that on the brand they work for as a requirement.

So, on the one hand brands have employees who care strongly about the issue and feel like it's the brand's responsibility to use its platform to sway the public towards goodness.

And on the other CEOs understand that the company will exist long after this social issue is resolved and forgotten and doesn't want to put it at risk of criticism. After all, there's not much upside in the long run if you issue an unsubstantiated statement of support.

The way to win everyone over - consumers, employees, government, and budget-restricting stakeholders is to donate time. Donate the time of the employees who care the most about the issue to run workshops on the brand's behalf. For every issue of the day, week, and month there will be a member of staff who is a true expert in the topic. Appoint them the head of education and create a taskforce for implemented social responsibility (ISR if you want to use it) that rapidly deploys itself in response to social issues. These time-investments can be internally facing or externally facing. Internally is easy enough to organise. Externally workshops could be exclusive to customers and you can create an experience out of it.

This is where your task force can get creative and give some substance to the new colour the logo has taken.

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