Seventy-five percent of Americans want stricter gun laws, per an NPR/Ipsos poll. This was a seven-percent increase from its last poll four months before and comes on the heels of the school shooting in Parkland, FL. The tragic event prompted many well-known brands, such as Hertz and MetLife, to boycott the NRA. But, other known brands like FedEx and Amazon remain in support of the group, with some even choosing to stay mute on the topic. It’s these companies that many consumers are calling for others to shun, citing lack of social responsibility.
Millennials and their elders support better gun control the same, per an NPR article. But, it’s the younger generation that drove brands to wear their corporate citizenship on their sleeves. They must now always share where they stand on issues and what’s most important to them. In fact, Forbes reports over 80% of Millennials expect this from brands, with 90% ready to change brands in support of a particular cause. Their preference being “corporations and brands with pro-social messages, sustainable manufacturing methods and ethical business standards.”
Yet, it’s not only Millennials, though driving the charge, to which these things are important. Sixty-six percent of global consumers “are willing to spend more on a product if it comes from a sustainable brand.” This makes socially responsible marketing a key strategy for winning and maintaining business. The trick is how to make the biggest impact with the strategy now status quo.
To meet Millennials’ demands for social responsibility, a Forbes article reveals four qualities of effective companies. You must make an active investment in bettering society. And, it must be a priority. You must be open and honest about your efforts, taking them public. Finally, you must involve your customers, giving them an opportunity to do good, too.
Digital marketing options provide effortless ways to share initiatives and encourage participation. They can even allow consumer engagement. This may be through giving a portion of sales to a cause or encouraging people to make direct donations. Yet, Millennials may see minimal efforts as “lip service,” which HuffPost says can have negative impact when consumers take to social media to voice their discontent. Instead, the best ways will play on the requirements Millennials have already set forth for brands. These allow brands to tell an authentic story. They initiate two-way conversations. And, they deliver the experience Millennials crave when choosing how to spend money. In short, all roads to smart socially responsible marketing lead to experiential marketing events.
Experiential marketing allows brands to get face-to-face with consumers and share in detail how they feel and what they’re doing. Plus, event marketers and agencies may be better able than digital marketers to show corporate values in more creative ways. It may be using virtual reality to transport consumers to their facility to see eco-friendly processes in action. Or, they can let them get physical in engagement, such as playing with homeless pets or planting trees.
London-based news source,The Economist, recently hit NYC streets, taking its online “global conversation” on the world’s future offline. Street team members manned a coffee cart and handed out cups to passersby to enjoy. Event staff also allowed them to choose how to repurpose the coffee grounds – for compost for use in local farming or for making soaps and candles. And, the cup reinforced the campaign’s intent and directed people to a website – the online news source – for more information.
Initiatives such as this gives consumers an occasion to see companies in action and ask questions that allow them to trust and invest in the brand. That’s because, at the heart of these campaigns is the chance for a company to show its humanity. And, this means event marketers and campaign managers must find the best humans to personify the brand.
When asked what they remembered most about exhibits, 80% of trade show attendees said it was the interaction with the brand’s people. Like any event, the plans you make are of critical importance. Yet, this statistic shows us that so, too, are the event staff who will execute them.
These people on your event’s front lines can make or break your plans and your ability to achieve goals. In filling these critical roles, event marketers and campaign managers will check for experience and a relatable appearance. They will also look for basic traits, such as being outgoing, to help them succeed. Yet, these are not enough for socially responsible marketing events. Knowing the cause you support or the stance you take can alone draw your brand more business, it’s critical to look for event staff with more specific traits. These include:
Consumers demand authenticity from brands. So, there’s no doubt they will expect a genuine corporate interest in the cause or initiative at hand. This, in experiential marketing, must be demonstrated by event staff. To find the best, Psychology Today says authentic people live in reality. They are also “accepting of themselves and of other people” and “able to express their emotions freely and clearly.” These abilities will help them to relay a sincere message about where your brand places its social responsibility.
Often, a brand’s cause may evoke consumers’ feelings. This may be for something close to their heart, such as losing a loved one to cancer, or a topic they’re passionate about in general. Thus, event staff may need to show empathy, listening to what consumers have to say and demonstrating understanding. Their thoughtful reactions in these instances prove your brand cares.
Though you want event staff to speak “freely” on the issue or cause, you also want to ensure they can do so within your guidelines. Being passionate about what the brand stands for adds to its authenticity. But, people who are overly fervent may be too bold for consumers, sending them away from your event and leaving them unable to support your brand. Make sure your event staff understand how much you want them to share. Key messages provided in training should give them knowledge, but they should have an even temperament and a good feel for how to stay in line. Yet, messaging should also allow them to portray genuine interest that wins their business.
Finding the best event staff to highlight your social responsibility is made easy with Elevate. Let us help your brand stand out while doing good.