Chicken Soup For The Corporate Soul

The Holistic Marketing Blueprint  

Modern trends in the marketplace have shifted marketing practices to become more transparent as of recent times. With all the remarkable developments in technology, one thing that has come front and center, is a brand’s corporate responsibility, their business model integrity as it relates to the environment, and the causes they stand behind. 

With the globe reeling from a pandemic, a social justice movement reignited, and an environmental shift in business policy and practices, there has never been a better time. 

Marketers must find ways to instill health-conscious-cause marketing while at the same time working to align boardroom agendas with street-level social justice movements. Brands as a whole are finding ways to reintegrate their business models with sustainable and climate-conscious logistics.  

Socially Responsible Content 

When we speak of socially responsible marketing, we mean effective internal protocols of communication that must be matched with a strong sense of ethics and values. By wearing their heart on their sleeve, or simply just their packaging, brands are only doing half the job. More often, consumers are looking for the dirt on a companies’ social and environmental record. 

Customers these days are seeking exchange through brands and companies that share common values, conversations, and politics. That established, customers expect the full package and believe those dedicated will deliver on their promises. That means what’s on the inside counts just as much, if not more than the fluff or “packaging” on the outside. 

Ben & Jerry’s wasted no time in 2016 to create a whole new flavor and product line of ice cream dubbed “Democracy Is In Your Hands”. The flavor and campaign intended to drive conversation and knowledge around voter suppression and other articles about voter empowerment. Every election year since 2016, Ben & Jerry’s has released the flavor to provide some cultural and conversational hype around something meaningful to their customers. 

Marketing managers must execute on campaigns and content as Ben & Jerrys did, or risk falling flat with their customers and the hear-say of the moment. It is not enough to just share flash-points in culture without too much of a positioning. 

Customers want skin in the game. Firms of Endearment is a common name for companies that exemplify this magnitude of fidelity with their customers. These brands elicit a human element and consistently serve the interest of their stakeholders. 

Cause Related Marketing 

Firms that blend the corporate and social initiatives with their marketing efforts resort to the term cause-related marketing. This practice tethers the brands’ sales tactics with an important or relevant social cause to the time. 

By linking the brand’s contributions (or portions of profits) to the cause/organization/charity of the customer’s choice, or of the unified moment, we see philanthropic moxie within. This noticeable determination will drive new customer appreciation and loyalty.  

Studies showing that 90% of U.S. consumers have an improved image and brand loyalty to firms that engage in this type of corporate societal marketing (CSM). 

In 2018, Starbucks initiated their Care @ Work program for working with Starbucks ’ parents and employees. The program offered all Starbucks partners discounts with care.com and also allowed them 10 subsidized backup care days a year for kids and adults. This benefit applied to children and elders which provided the working-class employees of Starbucks a real advantage in their work-life freedoms.

The company decided the move was worthwhile and a cause their employees and customers would notice. Specifically from a branding point for Starbucks, it brought established credibility, brand emotion, brand community, and engagement in realms the coffee-provider hadn’t existed psychologically with their customer before. 

Sustainable Business Models 

Even more important in 2021, is the environmental impact one’s brand or business has. The ability to meet humanity’s needs while simultaneously reducing your impact and harm on future generations is increasingly difficult. It is also more crucial now than ever before with a more global and informed customer. 

Businesses need to take into consideration the people, the planet, and the profits, in that same order. There is a fine line to walk with this socially responsible practice as some customers have become skeptical of our products/services’ true efficacy, aside from its messaging. Due to the greenwashing bandwagon, the skepticism of the consumer is at a healthy level. 

Conclusion 

Companies that innovate human solutions and not only products, services, or means to a profit, will find much longer and greater customer lifetime value. Likewise, those that provide a social conscience and stand behind their customer’s most emotional movements and engage in sustainable business model practices, will reap the benefits afforded to the best.