This week, agencies and major brands convened in New York City for the Holmes In2 Innovation Summit – exploring the innovation and disruption that continues to redefine influence and engagement. As the day continued, a common thread began to emerge. Although session themes varied from subculture marketing to the speed of change, all conversations inevitably turned to Purpose – and how brands are communicating their authentic roles in society in a rapidly evolving landscape of social issues and calls of injustice.
Brandon Graham’s strip-sack late in Super Bowl LII wasn’t the only fumble during the game, as advertisers failed to take advantage of a massive audience to bring awareness to key issues and reinforce authentic advocacy. Instead, they played it safe, largely avoiding politics and purpose in favor of humor.
It’s no secret that women’s rights and female empowerment have taken center stage in today’s society. Just this past weekend hundreds of thousands of women and men, again took to the streets to make their voices heard across the US on human rights, gender equality and parity, immigration reform, healthcare, reproductive rights, racial and LGBT equality and countless other issues.
Although it may seem counterintuitive for a company to discourage consumers from buying its products, we have seen this strategy work in brands’ favors in the past – Patagonia’s “Don’t Buy This Jacket” campaign resulted in an overwhelming positive response from consumers who took extra time to learn about the brand’s mission before making a purchase.
Over the past year, we’ve seen companies take the lead to drive critical social and environmental change – with compelling campaigns standing up for social justice issues, companies tackling disaster relief in new and effective ways and organizations sparking conversations on sometimes uncomfortable topics. We’d like to invite you to ring in the New Year by reflecting on the corporate social responsibility (CSR) trends and initiatives that helped move the needle forward in 2017 – and how we can further make a difference in the year to come.
By Alison DaSilva, Executive Vice President, Cone Communications
As we look back on the past 365 days, there’s no denying we live in tumultuous times. 2017 was rife with political and social divide, unrelenting extreme weather and disasters, unconscionable violence and global strife in many forms. To most, the outlook may be bleak.
Ninety-four percent of Gen Z believe companies should take actions to address critial issues that may not be relevant to everyday business operations, according to the 2017 Cone Gen Z CSR Study: How to Speak Z.