The role of brands in social dilemmas

A new force raises for good.

Credit: Google Images

Some months ago, Jeronimo Almeida, founder of iCongo, presented an open letter to Terry Savage,president of a creativity festival. “Why do efforts end after the prizes are awarded in June?” he asked. So, why then does the world have to be better only three months a year? The importance of today’s companies in social projects is huge. After all, companies are the ones that create the GDPs of developed countries, such as Australia, for example. And if they hold much of the financial power of the world, the responsibility and involvement of those brands in social issues are becoming increasingly important.

With a different mindset, Millennials and Generation Z, or Digitarians, have always, or almost always, had digital tech as part of their life. They are connected, engaged and relate differently with money and brands. If we think about this average consumer, the picture we have is of a person who is more careful with money. While their view on personal finance is to be more cautious, they spend more money on lifestyle — that is, on what they believe in — than compared with previous generations. But that doesn’t mean there is a culture of exaggeration to achieve this lifestyle. It means self-conscious awareness to achieve this lifestyle.

Cone Communications and Echo Research released research demonstrating that corporate social responsibility is now a reputational imperative for consumers worldwide. Ninety percent of Americans are likely to switch to a brand that supports a good cause, if it is of similar price and quality. And 88 percent want to hear about CSR (corporate social responsibility) efforts.

The study also shows that consumers’ motives for buying such products are primarily altruistic,with nearly 40 percent saying these purchases are an attempt to help improve society or reduce environmental damage. Are we indeed departing from consumption, as we know it, and shaping a new kind of behavior? More and more consumers are placing their individual motivations — like making themselves feel good or helping them live their values and improve their own lives — before trends and monetary appeal.

If digital natives supported by multiple channels are inclined to interact and engage with brands that care, we can say that corporate social responsibility is the new religion of future generations.

After the Nepal earthquake, the United States contributed 10 million dollars to help those affected by the disaster. In two days, Facebook activated a user base of half a million to collect the same amount. This is an inherent trend, showing how the world responds today, and shows how tech companies, or better yet, their platforms, are becoming more relevant for global issues than nations themselves.

Credit: Google Images

L2Inc compares the contributions of two major entrepreneurs with the nation of France. In the fight against Ebola, Paul Allen and Mark Zuckerberg donated $125 million, compared with the $89 million donation from France.

The fact is that these tech companies and social platforms are gaining a new role in society. A role in which they not only provide products and services, but also leadership in global solutions. And, consequently, the people within such companies also see the need to take on roles, with more awareness of the place they occupy.

“The truth is that brands are now becoming more relevant in social battles than the nations themselves,”said Scott Galloway in a recent L2inc report.

At a moment that is marked by technology, information and engagement, do not underestimate the intelligence of consumer. Don’t be a “Causewasher”. Your participation in social matters is happening now and has to be real. With a genuine cause and honest efforts, brands can build a powerful and healthy influence.

Because the ones that stand up to face difficulties and have the cognitive and financial power to absorb these causes are not only participating in an actual future need, but also in a credible relationship with their audience.

As a consumer and one with an eye on the future, I look forward to seeing more and more brands empowered to engage in social progress, as well as watching those brands that have social progress in their DNA.