Head of Brand Strategy and Insight Katie Vickery recently attended the annual Campaign Breakfast Briefing in London, where industry leaders came together to discuss the future of our industry and what 2020 has in store for us. One of the key themes that arose was the changing consumer behaviours and attitudes towards brands in terms of their ethical values. In this article, Katie explores this topic and how brands have an opportunity to create ‘movements’, as well as moments in marketing.
“Our house is on fire.”
Never have the words of Greta Thunberg had more meaning than they do today and never have anyone’s words rung in our ears as much when it comes to climate change. The truth of the matter is that our world is changing. According to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), we are less than 12 years away from not being able to undo our mistakes. In that time, unprecedented changes are required, including a reduction of our CO2 emissions by at least 50%.
So, what does this mean for our industry? How are we affected? Should we play a part in this and, if so, what part should we play? Are we responsible? We are all responsible for the impact of industrial and technological change on the environment and so marketers, brands and industry leaders are as responsible as anyone else.
Consumers are also waking up to this truth and are all very eager to point the finger at brands who are not pulling their weight but are equally eager to engage with and buy from brands who position themselves as ethical and who champion sustainability.
One statement that really sticks in my mind from the Campaign Breakfast Briefing was that “Campaigns are moments, but we’re now seeing movements being led by brands”. Brands that essentially allow consumers to vote with every purchase – in terms of what that brand stands for – are powerful and we know that consumers buy into brands they can believe in. This is particularly true for the younger generation. Many millennials even believe that brands have more power and impact than governments – they have the power to empower consumers through the purchase decisions they make.
If a brand doesn’t speak or stand for something, it won’t be heard by consumers. This is why brand purpose is crucial to the success of a brand delivering what they stand for. Only by defining your brand in a truthful, genuine way and delivering this message clearly out to your audience can this be delivered successfully through marketing.
But to say it is not enough. Any successful brand delivers their values through every single touchpoint that they have with consumers, whether that be the way they answer the phone, down to the choice of paper stock they purchase for their print. It’s about time that we all took responsibility and became quicker to react to the climate mess that we’re currently in. If we do the right thing and react to this global crisis, we will all benefit.