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Why is it relevant for brands to take part in the social conversations

76% of consumers would boycott a company they thought behaved irresponsibly76% of consumers would boycott a company they thought behaved irresponsibly76% of consumers would boycott a company they thought behaved irresponsibly76% of consumers would boycott a company they thought behaved irresponsibly

By Amit Tripathi

Moment marketing has been a defining piece of brand communications for sometime now. While, Amul has been using this kind of messaging for decades, but with the advent of social media we see a host of brands have picked up this trend in the past few years. With social media platforms becoming the primary means of customer engagement, topics like social issues, political matters, economic challenges or even simple statements made by an individual / celebrity can become a trending topic of discussion in a fraction of a second.

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Recently, #BlackLivesMatter has been a widely discussed topic across the globe, turning into a movement that has compelled many brands to take immediate actions of rebranding, changing their positioning and revamping their brand communications. Major giants like Johnson & Johnson and Unilever have transformed their marketing strategy to support the cause. George Flyod’s death gave the final spark for a country wide war against racism in the United States which spread across the globe in no time.

Today’s consumers are keen on picking up brands that they can connect or relate to. Brands need to showcase sensitivity and be supportive towards the environment. The choices have become ethical and questions are raised immediately when they sense something faulty or inaccurate. In this scenario, it is very important for brands to take part in the social conversations and give it a spin in the most constructive manner. It showcases that the brands are updated and care about bringing a meaningful change in society.

A research conducted across the globe reveals that 87% of consumers would purchase a product from a company that advocated an issue they cared about, while 76% of consumers would boycott a company they thought behaved irresponsibly. Many global brands stopped their advertising campaigns on Facebook recently. This was caused by Facebook’s inability to address hate speech. Whereas, at home in India, after a storm of backlash, HUL changed its products name from Fair & Lovely to Glow & Lovely.

While participating in the social conversations, brands need to be extra careful and act strategically as one single mistake can shatter their reputation and cause irreparable harm to their customer equity. It is essential to make sure that the message is powerful and resonates with their audiences. For consumers, companies’ actions are more important than what they communicate. It is also crucial to select a topic as only those must be used which compliments with the brands’ vision and target audiences. Jumping in irrelevant topics lead to results that are quite opposite to the expected response.

Here are a couple of key pointers that brands must follow while taking part in the social conversations:

Understand the core values of your customers

The best way to shed light on this subject is to talk about a NIKE case study. The sports apparel brand messaging revolves around their tagline ‘Just Do It’. They are always in the forefront when it comes to social conversations. After the war against racism started, NIKE took the opportunity to speak up against this social issue. They launched a campaign- ‘For once, don’t do it’.

This is not the first time that NIKE took a stand against racism. The brand understands the core values of their customers and align them with their own values. It not only helps deepen the connection between brand and customers, it also attracts and retains their employees. It is evident that NIKE has a very loyal set of employees and a proud customer base. It is purely because of the values that they stand for.

Be forthcoming and honest with your customers

Before talking about how, let’s talk about why. Here is a mind-boggling fact revealed in a research report: 70% of consumers feel more connected to the brand with CEOs that are active on social media. When customers feel connected to brands, more than half of the consumers i.e. about 57% will increase their spending on that particular brand and 76% will choose them over their competitors.

It is a simple phenomenon, show your consumers that you care by reaching out to them using relevant platforms and amplifying the current user-base. Use social media and other PR mediums to raise awareness about the social issues that align with your brand and take necessary actions on it. This will not only increase the credibility of the brand but also the loyalty of its customers.

The author is managing director, IdeateLabs

Read Also: How marketing intelligence is an immunity booster for brands

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