We don’t need to read the global stats to know trust in government is down.
Consumer expectations for business to make better societal decisions are at an all time high. And according to a recent a recent Nielsen study fifty-five per cent of global online consumers across 60 countries say they are willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact.
If you don’t know what a social brand identity is, keep reading. You’ll know in moment and have 5 reasons to create one.
1. Globally there’s a trend
Consumers care more about the environment, poverty and social impact than ever before. And what’s more interesting, is that people are now care where materials are sourced and the footprint left behind by companies as part of the production process.
This trend is presenting an opportunity for companies to stop and think about how they provide a meaningful impact on their community. Companies that raise their consciousness and connect with their social purpose or societal improvement are more likely to build healthy community around them.
2. We’re emotional creatures
If we think about the word ‘social’ for a moment, it comes from the Latin word socialis which means allied, partner or comrade. While the term brand has its origins in Old Norse brandr, as in to burn and then later became associated with the identifying mark made by a hot iron.
Exploring this idea further and beautify articulated by design author Debbie Millman in her book Brand Thinking, ‘Brands promise a certain affiliation that we end up benefiting from — the benefits come from the association and the affiliation. Then we can use them to project how we want to be seen in the world.’
Naturally the combination of being more socially conscious (the trend) and wanting to be seen in the world as such (associating with brands that share our values) has spurred the evolution of the social brand identity. Whereas sustainability and traditional corporate social responsibility reporting has become laborious, and greenwashing—where companies promote themselves as environmentally friendly, even if they’re not—is common.
3. Consumers are empowered
More empowered than ever before, consumers are acting with their purchasing power to buy products and services with a strong social purpose. Expectations are held that companies will give back to the community. Those companies that defy this trend or seek to skew perception for gain face an online torrent through social media channels.
Countless examples of products not living up to standards are publicly identified, named and shamed via CHOICE’s annual Shonkys Awards. A recent—and classic—example of consumers taking their beef to social media is with the latest ‘Shonky’ awarded to Arnott’s Tim Tams Peanut Butter Flavour. Not only did the newest peanut butter flavoured Tim Tams to hit the stores contain no real peanuts but the exact same packaging contained two less biscuits.
Saying that, on the flip side, there’s something wonderful about witnessing the transition in company ideology from profit to social good. Companies like Goodcompany, Good Magazine and the many other change makers are connecting businesses and the socially conscious with ways to give back.
4. Create shared value
Every company has a social purpose, whether they know it or not.
Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer initially brought the idea of shared value into the public domain in an article published by the Harvard Business Review in 2006, ‘Strategy and Society: The Link Between Competitive Advantage and Corporate Social Responsibility’, as an approach by which any organisation can create economic returns by developing solutions to social (societal) problems. These may be whole of society issues or those more local to a company’s operations and markets.
5. Drive the new normal
Trends usually have a way of quickly becoming the norm. Organisations that have invested in creating a social brand identity are leading the pack. Why not join them?
Talk to us about purpose.
Image credit: via Flickr Creative Commons