Boycotts are nothing new – neither is brands acting as activists for causes. Some organizations have included activism as a central part of their brand for years, such as Patagonia’s interest in environmental preservation. But, particularly over the past few months, a subtle and potent shift has taken place. Activism is no longer treated as a marketing tool; instead, it’s grown into a central value that guides company operations. The growing boycott of Facebook advertising exemplifies this value in action.
It’s becoming more and more common to see brands actively embrace different forms of social activism. Fortune 500 companies, including Coca-Cola, Verizon, Unilever, Target, and many others, have started paying more attention to their customers’ concerns and changing their operations accordingly. While advertisers boycotting Facebook stems from their concerns on the platform not doing enough to combat hate speech, the growing business trend should be noted by financial brands.
Here are a few key takeaways to consider in social activism for your brand:
Advocate for Your Customers’ Concerns
Customers are looking to engage with brands online – particularly when they share common interests. Acting as an advocate for those shared values strengthens your current relationship and invites like-minded consumers to follow your brand.
It’s a way to prove that you genuinely care about those in your community and stand apart from the competition.
Encourage Vendor Participation
It’s been said that if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together. Encourage your vendors to help communicate your interests and take action toward effecting change. Join the conversation the right way and inspire other brands to join.
Choose Carefully, Act Decisively
Not every political or social cause is aligned with the bulk of your customers. The Facebook advertising boycott is unique in that it is a topic that a majority can rally around, but once you make the decision, which often involves senior management, you are committed and need to maintain course, even if some subset disagrees.
From here, we can be assured that social media sites, namely Facebook will see the advantage in making some changes to help brands be more in control of their ad placements and encourage better consumer safety, but let’s not miss the other impact that more and more mainstream brands want to show their customers that they care and will openly engage in fights to benefit their cause.