Opinion

Brand Activism: Another Name For Risking The Brand

One of my favorites things about Marketing is that is constantly being reinvented.  You could say this probably about every field, however in marketing  this process happens really fast. Lately I have been watching  close one of the most popular trends: Brand activism. By definition, Brand Activism is the mix of business efforts to promote, impede, or direct social, political, economic, and/or environmental reform or change with the desire to promote improvements in society while hopefully being still profitable.  Many brands have jumped into that wagon.

Cobb-KaepernickNikeAd

I recommend you to check these cases of studies presented by the great Philip Kotler Stand For Something by Nike or Puma’s Brand activism based on Gender Equality, Criminal Justice Reform and  universal Equality  

Brand activism was born as the offspring  of the Social Corporate Responsibility Practices. They are family but they are diferent. Brand activism is driven by a fundamental concern for the biggest and most urgent problems facing society while social responsibility  is concerned on values.  However, Brand Activism is winning the culture and  has also become an indispensable topic in workshops, syllabus and talks of marketing around the world.

Although this trend has been happening for a while (and many millennials marketing managers are fully embracing this philosophy),  it does not ignite a spark in me and this is why: Still haven’t see a case who has not suffer an expensive backlash. I can quickly think of Gillette, Boy Scouts Of America, Target, Nike, Netflix, Coca Cola, Starbucks, among many others.  So here are my Two Cents.

Even when many things are highly dynamic in marketing, there are things that must remain still. One those things are Company values. You can target and personalize or that you want, but you can not become the doormat of the values of every potential customer. That’s madness.  See, the traditional approach used to be:  you have a product o service, a brand story to tell, your values, passion and from there you go to the market to find customers.  The moment you try to accept  girls in Boy Scouts   in the name of inclusion, what common sense tell you is going to happen? (Specially when there is already a Girl Scouts)

Same message goes also to the Advertising agencies as well. Stop proposing these Kool aid strategies. What is going to happen when you earn a reputation (including  all the awards) as the best Brand Activism agency but also the best agency in making your clients filing for bankruptcy?  It’s really worthy to risk the brand to that point? Wet woke go broke will keep rising too.

If you have been following this blog for a time, you know, there is a constant recommendation: Don’t jump on every  new trend. Be authentic. People still appreciate  and pay for that.  So there you go, Stand for something. 

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