Solidarity, commitment, cooperation, climate change, environment, Corporate Social Responsibility, sustainable development, responsible consumption, words and concepts that are gaining more and more meaning, meaning and relevance both in the business world and in our lives.
What is the role that brands should play in this new situation?
Before answering this question, I would like to briefly analyze 3 key elements that will help us obtain a clear and coherent answer:
Companies and CSR
No one doubts the rise of Corporate Social Responsibility in the world of companies.
They begin to be aware of their impacts and the duty and obligation to use their privileged position and power to develop policies, products and services that are socially responsible. A firm commitment that allows to reconcile the generation of benefit (the raison d’être of companies) with the welfare of society and the planet. Therefore, more and more companies have CSR policies and strategies integrated into their business model and way of operating. Despite this, the current knowledge or degree of information that the consumer has about these policies and strategies is practically nil. This is where brands come in, as a symbol of a company, as a representative of the company, as a link with the consumer, and as a tool to transfer commitment values to the consumer.
The responsible consumer
We are witnessing, perhaps more slowly than desired, the creation of a new social conscience and a historical change of values. The citizen of today is more aware than ever about social and environmental issues, and clearly sees the need to develop a sustainable and solidary model for the good of all. A model that also moves to its behavior. That is to say, the citizen, as a consumer, is transferring this change of values to their consumption patterns and behavior.
We are facing a new consumer, the Responsible Consumer. A consumer who is aware of their purchasing actions, their implications and, at the same time, demanding and demanding with the brands that operate in their environment. This Responsible Consumer acts guided by these new values and beliefs and this aspect should not escape marketing professionals at the time of continuing to connect and satisfy the needs of their consumers.
A new marketing
As I said before, marketing is based on “satisfying the needs of people. As people we are, our needs evolve, and consequently, the way we approach marketing too. In a more than brief review of the history of marketing, we could distinguish a first phase, focused on solving the functional needs of the consumer from a clear marketing approach of product: feed, refresh, eliminate stains, move, etc. Evolving later towards a second phase more focused on those expressive and emotional needs of the consumer’s first degree, which led us to the development of the current emotional marketing: be part of, please others, seduce, grow, feel good.
But, as Kotler says in his book 3.0 (of obligatory reading), all evolution in marketing is born of an important and relevant social change. And now we are facing one of them.
They reveal a need and obligation to generate new marketing strategies that create more powerful, high and lasting connections with the consumer, based on their new needs and expectations: commitment, solidarity, sustainability, self-realization, altruism. Connections that allow reach not only the mind and the heart, but also the soul and spirit of the consumer.
Given this situation, and remembering the question that has led me to shed these 3 points, what is the role that brands should play in this new panorama?
Brands must have a role and total prominence in this new social environment, both from its dimension as a symbol and representative of companies, as a generator of links between companies and consumers and as a facilitator when it comes to covering and responding to new needs and expectations of this new consumer.
It is the brands that must facilitate this encounter between values, behavior, wishes and expectations of the consumer and the social and / or environmental commitment of the companies.
We are talking about the need for creation and development of GoodBrands or social brands: brands that are capable of acquiring a commitment to a social or environmental cause. Brands that adopt, assimilate and internalize this commitment in a coherent, consistent manner and integrate it into their DNA and reason for being. Brands that not only know how to transmit this commitment to society, but are capable of involving it. Brands able to reach the mind, heart and spirit and soul of the consumer.
In conclusion, socially responsible brands, which acquire a clear social and / or environmental component and commitment and are capable of generating positive social change.
So, if you ask me if the time has come for the social macas ?, I would personally answer them with a resounding YES! Brands must, can and must be socially responsible. And this is the moment !.