Like consumers, brands can vote with their dollars, and that is precisely what they've been doing lately to align their media spends with their core values to take a stance.
Unilever is one of those companies and led by example when they protested the irresponsibility of social media companies last year through a six-month social media advertising boycott, including its longtime partner, Facebook.
So, how can your company also take a stance with your media dollars? Rob Master, Unilever's Vice President of media and digital engagement, suggests developing a “responsible framework.”
He emphasizes the importance of making industry and media partners accountable for brand-safe environments. This model will hold both the industry and your company responsible for what it's putting out in the world.
Your company's framework should also include determining KPIs on responsible investment goals, valuing these the same as business KPIs, and having the confidence to operate with a purpose knowing that it will lead to business success.
In fact, there are many benefits to companies that choose to take a stance and lead with their values:
- Increased sales
- Better hiring pools
- New branding opportunities that set your company apart from the competition,
- An increase in exposure to news sites, influencers, and third-party blogs,
- And increased customer loyalty because your company is aligned with buyer values
A company with a great example of this is Ben and Jerry's. While Ben and Jerry's has been around for generations, many choose to support the brand because they are known for their environmentally-friendly practices, such as local sourcing.
They have even created ice cream flavors to support environmental protection (Rainforest Crunch and Save our Swirled), with proceeds donated to help those causes. Consumers not only get a tasty treat from supporting Ben and Jerry's but the peace of mind that they are helping a brand make an impact in the larger world.
More customers expect brands to take a stance on causes, and companies that fail to embrace that call-to-action risk being passed over for another brand practicing brand activism.