Consumers see through ‘wash wake up’ - but real change is possible for brands

Consumers see through ‘wash wake up but real change.jpgsignature171690fa640802b7b052a021cf8adaa9

With brands increasingly embracing social change initiatives and influencing “purpose-driven”, now is the time to ask one or two big questions: is strategy a workable strategy? this, and how dubious should we call the “brand” action?

In just a few weeks, Ben & Jerry's has unveiled a new ice cream flavor called "Change is Brewing" to support black businesses and raise awareness of the passed Public Response Act proposed to establish a new public safety body in the USA.

Lego said he would encourage inclusive play and address harmful sexual stereotypes with his toys. Mars Food rebranded Uncle Ben’s rice to Ben’s Original in response to criticism about the racist images marketed.

At the same time, businesses have a checkered track record of tackling social problems, from the social practices of social responsibility-led “tick box” self-service to shifting consumer responsibility ethical choices make (such as reusable coffee. cups).

Recently, “laundry” has seen logos promote social issues without taking meaningful action. Consider fast fashion brands that promote International Women’s Day while at the same time benefiting from taking advantage of female employees.


    Change from the inside

    How can logos legitimately take responsibility for supporting or promoting social transformation?

    Our research covers the concept of “transformational branding”. This includes companies that work with customers, communities, and even competitors to co-create brands that lead on both market and social domains.

    Transformational branding can be achieved by for-profit organizations, not for profit and social enterprises. The common factor is balancing business and social goals to create change from within the market system.

    Concepts of marketing with social margins have grown in the last 50 years, but finding real solutions has never been more successful. We ask how a corporation can make a real contribution to society and show how transformative branding can help brands carry that responsibility. Beyond making money

    Transformational branding works through two key elements that shape the market: leadership and collaborative connection. These allow companies to engage with stakeholders to transform their business landscapes.

    First, leadership involves building a vision for the transformation. This requires leaders to think flexibly and creatively, work to long horizons and keep up with changing ideologies. This involves fundamentally rethinking what branding can do - more than make money.

    Second, collaborative engagement involves implementing this vision across the different dimensions of the brand. The key to this is to mobilize stakeholders, including customers, employees, investors, suppliers, governments, communities, and competitors.

    When the brand and its stakeholders together throw the weight behind the goal of transformation, it celebrates commitment, disseminates knowledge and resources, and establishes legitimacy.

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    Leadership and collaborative engagement work together to change the business environment. Our research shows that this has strong implications, creating opportunities for transformation of economic, regulatory, socio-cultural and political environments. Transformational branding in practice

    Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard is a prime example of transformational branding at work, especially in his candid acknowledgment that the idea of ​​a fully sustainable business is "impossible". Instead, Patagonia has refreshed its priorities in terms of responsibility, with Chouinard reimagining the brand as a solution to environmental pollution.

    This vision is at the heart of the brand's flagship "Don't Buy This Jacket" campaign, which aims to shift the ideology of consumption from purchase to repair.

    Recently, Patagonia's "Buy Less, Demand More" campaign and the "Worn Wear" custom clothing scheme have incorporated global economy awareness into the company's strategy to promote a reusable culture. buying new.

    Dutch chocolate brand Tony’s Chocolonely demonstrates collaboration in its campaign to clean up production and supply chain practices in the chocolate manufacturing industry and eradicate today’s illegal child labor and slavery.

    The company's "open chain platform" helps all business players, including competitors, to nurture fair and transparent supply chains and ensure that living income is paid for. For cocoa farmers. The brand is actively eroding its potential competitive advantage in the process.

    Staying skeptical

    But transformational branding is complex and dynamic, and authenticity is paramount. For example, earlier this year, Tony was removed from the list of ethical representatives of the Slave Free Chocolate watchdog group over his partnership with a major chocolate producer accused of using slave labor .

    Tony responded by saying that it was important to educate and encourage business partners and competitors to adopt ethical principles and practices.

    This complex and slow process of negotiating what it means to be ethical is all part of transformational branding. It varies according to the different goals and values ​​of many stakeholders.

    And while transformational branding offers a path to a more sustainable and equitable future, we should continue to keep a close eye on brands that claim to be a force for good, a challenge. give them and hold them to account where necessary.

    Article by Amanda Spry, Lecturer in Marketing, RMIT University; Bernardo Figueiredo, Associate Professor of Marketing, RMIT University; Jessica Vredenburg, Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Marketing, Auckland University of Technology; Joya Kemper, Senior Lecturer in Marketing, University of Auckland, and Lauren Gurrieri, Senior Lecturer in Marketing, RMIT University

    This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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