Importance of Authenticity in Corporate Social Activism

Over the past few years now we have seen a striking shift in the pattern that brands communicate their identity, their humanity and values. While so many companies traditionally mainly avoid to take a public stance on the social and on the political discourse, it still seems that more brands are even selecting to break this mould.

While some people are chalking up this change to the progress, there are still different countless critics of the corporate social activism that are arguing about the brands’ motivations that are neither pure nor altruistic. And certainly, when these brands are seriously allocating the marketing dollars towards the promotion of a social cause instead of just promoting their own product, criticism or at the very least curiosity are warranted.

With brands now engaging in social issues which is becoming the norm, it is time to start thinking critically about how you can prevent your brand and avoid the pitfalls that is associated with such a practice. Brands participation in the ongoing conversations around the Covid-19 as well as the movement of Black Lives Matter is now offering two different scenarios that companies can learn from to help them improve the way they communicate their values to their customers.


The Use of Email in Times of Crisis

At the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, many of the companies imbued their customer emails with various kind, sentimental language, they were communicating a message of togetherness during the times of crisis and isolation. Some emails also gave customers updates on the important information like the new business hours or even the expected shipping delays in the light of the pandemic. But, for many of the brands the emails were mainly messages of hope and messages of solidarity. The success of many of these messages that were sent was tied directly to the brands’ being authentic in their ability.


Finding your Brand’s Motive

An important lesson that we have learnt from the start of the Covid-19 crisis is to question yourself about your motivation for sending out to customer communications that are regarding to a social issue. If the answer you got to the aforementioned question does not reflect the authenticity of your brand you should better consider holding off on disbursing such a message. Customers are now becoming more acutely aware of the brands that leverage progressive issues using it to make money. So be very sure to always take a step back and then reflect on your message before you hit the send. If your intention is not authentic, you can be very certain that your customers will be able to discover.


The power of true authenticity

In the year 2020 countless brands, both the large brands and small, expressed their opinions on the social issues publicly. As these unprecedented times still continue to unfold, it is the time to start thinking critically about how your brand will engage in critical conversations in the future time to come. More than that, you have to start thinking about what meaningful changes your organisation can make so that when the time comes for you to start sharing those values publicly they are based in action rather than the good intentions. As brands are still participating now in the corporate social activism, one thing is for sure and very true: authenticity will be key always.

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