Branding is a seller’s promise to deliver a specific set of features, benefits and services consistent to buyers. Choice of brand is a decision. It is vital for marketers to understand the feelings and emotions of customers to get their attention. It is all about showing a more personal and emotional face to its customers. This can be done by creating advertisements that drive world transformation. Good brand behaviour aligns with causes that affect heart and minds of those who purchase products and services of a brand. This is neither CSR nor cause marketing or a philanthropic approach but simply a “Business Strategy”. Identify moments that consumers feel good about and associate such moments with branding. Today brands must identify a purpose that has meaningful impacts on people they serve.
For example, ‘Swachh Aadat, Swachh Bharat’ campaign of HUL shows how brands play a role in societal progress, while remaining true to the business. Lifebuoy, Pureit and Domex supported Swachh Bharat Abhiyan through a film ‘Haat Mooh Bum, Bimari Hogi Kum’. It celebrates children as behaviour change agents, urging adults to change old practices. The goal is to make India illness free. Thereby purpose driven brands can reach millions to deliver meaningful messages and can create a positive impact in the society.
Aligning brand purpose with Global Goals
Global Goals or the sustainable development goals (SDGs) are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. Supporting the 2030 Agenda is a top priority for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). SDGs came in to effect in January 2016 and will continue to guide UNDP for the next 15 years. Achieving SDGs requires partnership of Governments, private sector, civil society and citizens alike to make sure we leave the planet for future generations.
Global population is expected to reach 8 billion by 2030 and at a minimum each person need food, fresh water, shelter, clothing, health care and some form of energy to survive. We are using 50% more resources than the planet can provide. This has led to Earth Overshoot.
According to the UN Secretary General Ban-Ki-Moon, “It’s time for us to CHANGE and every business has a responsibility to improve our world”. It is each individual’s responsibility to care for the earth and become agents for change. Apart from government, other companies are also becoming change agents.
When the sustainable development goals were launched a year ago, great emphasis was placed on the crucial role of private sector in achieving them by 2030. It includes a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice and tackle climate change. Millions of lives depend on the achievement of these goals.
The first ever Global Cinema campaign for United Nations Global Goals “We Have a Plan” itself became the world’s largest advertising campaign. Governments across the world have already agreed to these goals. Now it is the turn for businesses to act on them. An SDG Compass guide is developed focussing large MNCs, SMEs and others to use it as a source of inspiration and put sustainability at the heart of their strategy.
We have to be serious about how we manage and use the Earth’s natural resources. 20th century focussed on productivity, 21st century is emphasizing on Quality and now if we add on sustainability with quality, the future generation need not think about going to mars.
Collaborate with Corporate Social Responsibility
“Business is a vital partner in achieving the SDGs. Companies can contribute through their core activities” quoted UN Secretary General. Brands are striving to capture millennial interest through CSR. Millennials’ are the largest demographic generation today and make up 21% of consumer discretionary purchases. 50 % of the millennials would be more willing to make a purchase from a company if their purchase supports a social cause. Unless a company begins to communicate and engage with stake holders in a consistent and effective way, they will assume the company is doing nothing. India is the first country necessitated companies to distribute resources on CSR. Companies need to be thoughtful and genuine about the causes they support and align their brands with a good cause. The Companies Act 2013 requires large firms having a turnover of INR 1,000 Crores or more to spend at least 2% of their last three years average net profit on corporate social responsibility projects. This law came in to effect in April 2014. In the Fiscal year 2015-16, Indian companies collectively spent INR 9,309 Crores. There is a real increase when compared to previous years. Though there has been a factual increase in socially beneficial activities, the spending has not gone to democratically determined priorities, rather to whatever the companies prefer to highlight. If a company has become eligible to serve a consumer’s need, it is also becoming responsible for their lives.
Branding as a Change Agent
Brand Managers are facing a new reality, they are trying to steer brands in a context where disruption is the norm. Those brands that can convince us that it is helping the world when we buy their product are the ones that will ultimately win-out. How is that communicated?
Corporates can collaborate with brand promotion agencies to determine high-priority needs of the society and target their expenditure in the essential areas and do justice to their CSR. There is a wider scope if we zoom out to understand the 17 SDGs rather than focusing on fewer areas. There are areas like child mortality, eradicating extreme hunger and poverty which hasn’t received any attention. Not only selecting the cause but communicating social responsibility is one of the biggest challenges corporates face today. Advertising and branding plays a big role here. The ad campaigns must have the significant power to persuade consumers that will drive the action needed. Branding activities must be created and transmitted in a logical manner creatively and with local perspectives in mind. According to Philip Kotler, in order to enable companies to inform consumers their responsibility ‘they must skilfully use the mass-promotion tools of advertising, sales promotion and public relations….’
Branding can do wonders. Creatively communicate how the product or service fits in to consumer’s lives to make them better, more productive, happier and fulfilled. Underline on values above and beyond the product or the service itself. Integrate marketing and corporate social initiatives in to business goals. This can be done through labelling on package, sponsorships, purchase triggered donations, cobranded credit cards, corporate statements regarding value chain dimensions, environment compliance, support of local communities, promotional campaigns, short films, branded entertainment, product placements and so on. Businesses can do well by becoming a “do-goody”, as long as brands remain in the minds of consumers as a collection of perceptions that develop an emotional connection.
Moving upwards through Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory; presently millennials are the ones who are moving towards self-actualization and looking to express their purpose and place in certain groups. They are seeking relationships with brands that are doing the same within their own value set. Defining your brand’s purpose and corresponding CSR efforts is the first step to develop emotional and psychological relations with customers, per the Edelman Research. 75% of customers around the world say it is okay for brands to support good causes and make money at the same time. So NAME it and FRAME your Brand’s distinctive sense of responsibilities in a conscientious manner.
Popcorn Media Solutions is one of the leading branding companies in Cochin who offers quality brand promotional activities including corporate and product branding services. Call us to get the best services from our experts now.