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What is brand activism?

What is brand activism?

Update: 2020-07-02
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What is brand activism? Thanks for asking!


Brand activism is when companies seek to have an impact on a social, economic, environmental, or political problem. It’s increasingly common, especially at the moment, but it can have negative consequences. In many cases, companies are called out for being hypocritical when engaging in brand activism. Cynics often see it as opportunistic marketing. Even worse, the company may in fact have a poor track record when it comes to the issue on which they are taking a stance.


Why do brands feel like they need to get political then?


There are a number of reasons why brands feel like they need to get political. Companies might engage relating to an issue that aligns with their values and vision, for the good publicity it generates or simply to boost their bottom line. Consumers, especially from younger generations, are becoming more and more demanding when it comes to brand activism. This is backed up by studies which show that millennials and members of Gen-Z are likely to choose products from a brand which aligns with their values. Recent weeks have seen a massive increase in brand activism relating to the Black Lives Matter movement against racial violence and injustice. This follows the high-profile killing of black man George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police in late May. Staying silent on racial inequality is no longer an option for brands, with the risk of them being seen as complicit. Companies have been posting powerful messages on social media, announcing seven-figure donations to racial equality charities and making pledges to increase diversity within their own organisations. Adidas has pledged that 30% of its future hires in the USA will be people from black or Latino backgrounds. Amazon has been displaying the Black Lives Matter logo prominently on all its social media platforms, while its CEO shared racist emails he had received from members of the public. Uber Eats announced it would waive delivery fees for orders from black-owned restaurants until the end of the year.


That all sounds like it will help equality. So what’s the problem? In under 3 minutes, we answer your questions!


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What is brand activism?

What is brand activism?