As marketers we want to show our organizations in the best light possible. This can be difficult today as consumers are more informed than ever and expect corporations to live up to their promises. Consumers want more than superficial corporate responsibility campaigns and photo ops. Today’s consumer expects brands to embrace their values and follow through.
Surface Level Engagement
For a long time, many corporations have been making promises of a better future to then abandon these plans quietly in favor of those that will bring more shareholder value. Coca Cola has long promised to reduce plastic waste with ecologically friendly initiatives that have largely gone unfulfilled. In fact, Coke has lobbied against bottle bills that would put some of the cost and responsibility of recycling plastic bottles on producers.
Breaking From the Crowd
There have however been some form profit companies that live up to their brand values and Ben and Jerry’s is an excellent example. Ben and Jerry’s ensures that their supply chain is ethical and having starting salaries above the minimum wage. While some of these policies may mean smaller profit margins, the Ben and Jerry’s brand equity keeps growing.
In today’s market consumers expect more of the brands that they love. Consumers are no longer impressed with one-time acts of decency and demand that brands follow through on their promises. As marketers we must ensure that our brands practice meaningful engagement and offer more than superficial actions.