Beyond saying that you care: Why activism needs to extend further than your LinkedIn logo

Being an ethical brand is all the rage at the moment. But the truth is, it isn’t enough to just say you care – audiences will sniff out your slacktivism, writes Jo Scard, who says you should only align with causes you’re passionate about.

This month, rainbow flags and words of allyship have dominated our social media channels. New corporate partnerships have been established, LinkedIn logos have been changed and brands around the world, from all kinds of industries, have stood in solidarity for LGBTQIA+ rights.

When you consider that consumers are much more likely to opt for socially and environmentally responsible brands, it isn’t hard to understand why organisations would make these kinds of moves. Recent times have seen a push towards brand purpose – people are caring about themes like sustainability and ethical decision making more than ever before.

And similarly, marketers and PR specialists have spent the last decade capitalising on the digital economy and implementing innovative ways to position brands as activists, allies or advocates as a means to transition their audiences into consumers.

So while it is in many ways terrific to see the digital population band together to support Pride Month, some audiences are likely going to wonder whether it’s a marketing stunt, whether brands actually support the cause outside the realms of their social media profiles and, crucially, whether this support trickles down to day-to-day operations. Do employees feel empowered? Is the culture conducive to the sharing of lived experiences?

If you don’t make a conscious effort to hire people from the LGBTQIA+ community, or if you don’t ensure that their voices are being properly amplified, your support probably is a marketing stunt. More than that, it probably will leave a sour taste in the mouths of audiences that come across your posts.

In 2021, the PR world finds itself in a highly pivotal time. The global pandemic, a renewed push of the #MeToo movement and various passionate protests – virtual or otherwise – that have ignited over the course of the last year have meant that audiences are more politically engaged than ever before.

Further, we are speaking to audiences who can easily sniff out when words of support are simply words. The truth is this: if you make the decision to position your brand as an ethical or socially responsible one, you need to live up to that promise.

Read the full article on Pro Bono News.


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