Brand accountability. Company transparency. Ethical business practices. Social awareness.
As companies continue to hone which messages resonate with millennial consumers, or more importantly, which ones backfire, these trends are no longer what make companies stand out. They’re baseline requirements.
The key to operating in a space where consumers are more aware than ever of the social responsibility that corporations assume, is understanding that the new baseline requirements are more than just messages. Companies no longer have the luxury of just looking the part to become future dandies of the younger generations.
They have to evolve their entire purpose.
If Company A runs a campaign emphasizing female empowerment in the age of #MeToo, Company A better have in place healthy female representation in decision-maker positions and have taken steps to improve gender equality in both company wages and leadership.
If Company B runs a campaign showcasing their philanthropy efforts, Company B should be aware of the optics of spending more on the ad than the charity donation itself. The company should also be ready to talk about charitable donation as a cornerstone of their business in a way that’s both transparently true and substantial.
The question many millennials are concerned with is much less, “What is this product doing for me?” and much more, “What is this company doing to alleviate the problems in society that it’s played a part in creating?”
Bottom line: Brand accountability means more than tight marketing, because the social media generation can sense a fake when they see it.
It means changing the root of how a business operates, who it stands to benefit and why its products need to make a bigger positive impact than negative. It means not using political movements to sell products. It means issues with the environment, myriad inequality and social struggles are used in marketing first to solve those problems, not to make more money.
When big brands change their internal structures to become part of the solution instead of the problem, the younger generations, who have just recently become the biggest consumer group, take notice.
Do you think Gen Z is any different? Nope—they’re millennials on steroids.
From here on out, companies will have to focus on empowering their audience to be vectors of positive change. That can only be achieved with earnest, forthright changes in a company’s core purpose.
At our agency, we create lasting change by generating audience-centric, positive outcomes for our clients. Please reach out to us today to talk about transforming your brand for this generation of activist consumers and the next.