Industry News

Companies are Getting More Vocal About Social Issues

From politics to climate justice and “peaceful protests,” companies around the world are becoming more and more vocal about these and many other social issues.

From politics to climate justice and “peaceful protests,” companies around the world are becoming more and more vocal about these and many other social issues.

It’s no secret that social issues have always been part of the culture but as of late they seem to be even more in the limelight.

As a result, companies and organizations are being put to the test — from activists to employees — to be more open and forthcoming on big political and social issues.

For instance, according to a Kantar study, 68% of US consumers expect brands to be transparent about their values. Among those who are for more clarity are Millennials and Generation Z and they have the highest expectations of all age groups, the report said.

Jumping on Board

Large companies and worldwide brands like Tommy Hilfiger have become well-known for socially driven campaigns that often center around diversity and sustainability, says one article.

Its latest, ‘Moving Forward Together’ is similarly based on social good, to help the fashion and creative industries come back from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The initial activation for AW20 asked consumers to become involved in the digital co-creation of new clothing by utilizing leftover fabrics, feeding into the brand’s commitment to ‘waste nothing and welcome all.’

Recently, Hilfiger continued its campaign, with the learning platform, FutureLearn, offering free digital learning courses about community building and LGBTQ+ allyship.

Another big name, yogurt-brand Yoplait entered the public debate known as “mum-shaming.” This is giving judgy and patronizing information to mothers about how they can be better parents and shaming those who do not listen.

Yoplait’s 2018 campaign, ‘Mom On’, depicted mothers addressing criticisms they face, such as judgment over breastfeeding, returning to work, and drinking alcohol.

Also in 2018 after President Trump signed an order to temporarily close America’s borders to refugees Airbnb aired an ad during a Super Bowl spot in response.

The ad, called “We Accept” showed people of various nationalities using these words: “We believe no matter who you are, where you’re from, who you love or who you worship, we all belong. The world is more beautiful the more you accept.”

Another two brands making a stand after Trump’s 2018 travel ban were rideshare companies Uber and Lyft.

Uber’s decision to still offer rides while others decided to protest wasn’t a popular choice and the company got flack.

But, to bring to light Uber’s dwindling favor, its competitor Lyft decided to condemn Trump’s travel ban, pledging to donate $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union. At the time, Lyft said, Lyft “stands firmly against these actions and will not be silent on issues that threaten the values of our community.”

Thanks, this statement, Lyft got a thumbs up from consumers and more people started to use its service.

Another mega company P & G’s “We See Equal” campaign was founded to fight gender bias and work toward equality for all. It was greeted with a positive note from consumers.

While companies such as these and numerous others are becoming more vocal about social issues, some wonder if it’s a good idea to even touch any social issues.

One article interviews several public relations specialists who offer their suggestions as to why or why not companies should be tackling social issues. 

If you go by polls,  again 68% of Americans think CEOs should take a stand on social issues,  according to Forbes.com

In the end, it’s up to companies and organizations whether they want to be a part of addressing social issues in this highly polarized environment and possibly risking being part of the canceled culture set.

The choice is theirs.

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