Where do you stand?
2020 – the year of disruption. Global pandemic. Lockdowns. Economic strain and recession. Social unrest. When we consider the impact of each of these forces, one that will unquestionably have significant influence on the future of marketing is the demand for diversity, equity and inclusion. As an ever-growing number of consumers become more interested in what brands are doing to make the world a better place vs. what they’re selling, brands’ marketing and advertising efforts need to act accordingly. With companies looking forward, their advertising campaigns need to represent the ways in which people differ, reflect fair treatment and advancement for all, and create a welcoming and respectful environment for their brands to develop a relationship with consumers. Here we look at a few brands that have been doing it right.
P&G has been a long-standing brand who’s championed diversity, inclusion and social justice issues, and over the past few years has taken racial equality issues head-on. Mark Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer for P&G, insists on not only being a force for growth but a force for good. Brands now have a responsibility to give consumers what they demand, and it’s called transparency. Brands need to share their goals and values, and when it comes to P&G, theirs are simple: 1) demand equal representation; 2) eliminate systemic inequalities; 3) accurately portray all humanity; and 4) create content for good. Their most recent work takes on racism, racial prejudice and a call for anti-racism head-on with powerful short narratives, reflecting the ongoing racial injustices of black Americans.
Another company doing it right is ThirdLove, a brand focused on modern femininity for women of all ages, ethnicities and sizes. Heidi Zak, co-founder and co-CEO, has shaped her brand to “represent women in a way that feels grounded, relatable and universally understood.” ThirdLove believes that celebrating not only everybody, but every body allows people to be vulnerable while also being real. The net result is ultimately showing all women as unique and beautiful. They eloquently celebrate that uniqueness in their #ToEachHerOwn campaign. Launched in 2018, the campaign has continued through 2020, delivering authenticity in an environment that quite frankly demands it.
Coffee mammoth Starbucks showed they were doing it right when they took on the significance of transgender and gender diversity with #whatsyourname. Inspired by writing customers’ names on individual cups, Starbucks thrives on the personal connection between baristas and patrons. Coupled with their mission “to inspire and nurture the human spirit; one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time” their focus on recognition and acceptance is a welcoming statement to all. Although the campaign launched in 2019, it continued and resonated with even greater power throughout 2020 – a year of great social unrest.
During a year when people’s voices needed and demanded to be heard, these campaigns provided proof that brands are listening by showing their goals to reflect people through diversity, equity and inclusion, and each with their own perspective. But more importantly, these campaigns were not simply reactionary efforts to the moment – but rather, built on brand convictions that ran deeper than 2020 and are guaranteed to extend well beyond. For brands to achieve this kind of work, they first must achieve a true understanding of who they are, what they believe in and precisely who their customers are. At Unbound our team of smart and seasoned strategic thinkers have over 100 years of experience not only helping brands get to the core of who they are but applying that information to marketing efforts that resonate for success.