With the rise in awareness of social and environmental issues, consumers no longer see these concerns as the sole responsibility of governments. Consumers are now taking control of their own impact on society and their purchasing decisions are not simply based on price, quality or product but are influenced by the values and causes that they are perpetuating.
Not only do consumers look to engage with organisations that align with their own values and beliefs, but they also consider a brand’s company culture, supply chain and how it wields its position of influence before deeming it to be ‘good’. As a result. brand reputation is built as much on values as it is on product or service delivery.
Following recent violence and racial injustice in the US, Black Lives Matter has dominated the media landscape again calling for change. The message is aimed as much at individuals and organisations for ignoring systemic racism for too long as it is at politicians and law enforcers. It is a conversation for everyone.
Bloggers, journalists and known personalities have used their own platforms to respond and share the ways they are educating themselves and changing how they work with brands to ensure that black voices are represented, regardless of their own heritage. As a result, there will be a renewed and stronger focus on diversity in the board room, as well as diverse brand imagery and messaging.
While we have seen many brands rush to communicate their support for change, many have been criticised for ‘talking the talk but not walking the walk’. Even Nike, widely praised in 2018 for its campaign supporting NFL player Colin Kaepernick highlighting police brutality towards African Americans, has come under fire for a lack of diversity in its management.
For many organisations, articulating corporate messaging around topics including race, disability, gender and sexuality feels awkward. The fear of being insensitive led to a culture of tokenism and the misnomer that only individuals from these communities should speak about certain topics. Yet this has limited progress. Instead, brands must participate in the conversation and should consult with people from different backgrounds to share an informed vision that is truly representative of their current and future customers and employees.
As with all communications for corporate responsibility, generic fluffy statements lacking conviction will fall flat. Focusing on facts and allowing the data to show the results of your actions is far more authentic than a long line of sympathetic superlatives. Start by outlining your commitment and then ensure that all of your organisation’s activities support and help you to deliver against it.
To discuss the role that high impact and authentic corporate communications can play in building your reputation, contact Caroline Walker on 01732 779 087.