Can brands save the world?
If there ever was a day we all need right now, it’s safe to say it would be Wednesday, February 17, National Random Acts of Kindness Day. The day was created as a reminder that even the smallest acts of kindness generate rippling effects that spread on to others in ways we may never see. The phrase “practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty” is credited to Anne Herbert and goes back to 1982. The words would later go on to inspire a book in 1993 and ignite a movement of action around the globe.
As we look at this day created to foster kindness and spark change for good, the implications for brands are clear – talk is cheap, so you better walk the walk. People are craving change and evolution, not the status quo. Consumers are looking for advocacy and collaboration, not separation and isolation.
As we mentioned earlier this year, customers now believe that trusting a brand is more important than ever. In fact, 62% of Americans believe brands play a critical role in addressing the challenges we all face. People are looking for organizations to be problem solvers – not only for their own lives but society’s as well. And brands have much more to gain than to lose, being 4x more likely to gain trust than lose it when taking action on societal issues like racial injustice.
One brand that has really taken the idea of Brand Acts to heart is the Mars family, who’s gone so far as to actually infuse it into their leadership’s performance criteria. Mars has shifted their goals to embrace acts, not ads, by injecting purpose into the DNA of each of its brands. And when it comes to measuring their leaders’ performance, they’re not evaluated by strong financial performance and quality growth alone, but also on delivering positive social impact and becoming a trusted partner in society.
In a recent interview, Andy Pharoah, Vice President, Corporate Affairs & Sustainability at Mars, said, “When our brands do purposeful things, it comes from a solid and sound foundation. It’s not cause-related marketing, a hit for the day or for the quarter, or for the year.” Mars has brought their focus on Brand Acts to life with efforts like Pedigree’s Feed the Good Campaign and Skittles’ Donate to the Rainbow.
Most recently, Mars M&M’s brand revealed its return to the Super Bowl with its “Come Together” TV spot. Teasers and a ZOOM announcement led up to the spot encouraging people to connect by sharing M&M’s in life’s awkward situations. In addition to using the Big Game to kick off the new campaign, it relied heavily on social media to really activate their audience and give them something to engage with.
Maybe to celebrate National Random Acts of Kindness Day, we can all give away M&M’s? Certainly, our friends at Mars would approve.
The bottom line is brands must find their calling when it comes to proving their contributions to making our world a better place. No matter your brand story, there’s an opportunity to bring it to life through action, intention and purpose. The key is examining your brand’s authentic core values and attributes, then putting them to work. At Unbound, we’ve built our careers pushing brands forward and challenging the status quo by understating how to dig deep into their souls.
Let’s set up 30 minutes to discuss uncovering the path to shifting your brand advertising into brand action. Give us a call at 816.589.3333.
Sources: 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer, The Drum, AdAge