When Nike featured beleaguered quarterback Colin Kaepernick for its “Just Do It” anniversary, the international sports brand took a big-time risk.
That risk extended to Kaepernick
Kaepernick supporters also feared that he took a big risk of trivializing his mission.
The campaign sparked protests, and we saw people burning their Nike gear. Nike’s stock price initially dipped, then rebounded. According to Bloomberg, the company generated buzz worth $43 million in media exposure throughout the campaign.
Clearly, more consumers are looking for brands that support their values; it’s becoming more of a need-to-have than a nice-to-have.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has heated up
Brands are taking a stand; consumers are starting to look for it and exercise the power of their pocketbooks. Statistics show that in the U.S. alone, 57 percent of consumers are belief-driven buyers, up 10 points from 2017.
A few examples of CSR:
Ben & Jerry’s.
- A big heart and strong social conscience have always been part of the Ben & Jerry’s culture. Their Pecan Resist ice cream supports four organizations working to support equality, justice, and inclusion, including the Women’s March.
- Who doesn’t lov
- e our own Marc Benioff and Salesforce—a billionaire philanthropist and disrupter who’s trying to make a better world, including equal pay for women. He and his wife created the Benioff Ocean Initiative at UCSB to study and solve global ocean issues.
- With its #BeMoreHuman campaign, Reebok celebrates and encourages women to be their best by promoting its brand ambassadors, including stars Ariana Grande, Gal Gadot and Gigi Hadid.
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- This giant retailer donates 5 percent of its income to community grants and programs—more than $4 million a week, records show.
- This women’s clothing company has searched out ethical factories around the world, visiting often and building strong personal relationships with the owners. Factories get audited to evaluate things like fair wages, reasonable hours and environmental impact. They’re also partnering with the Surfrider Foundation to get plastic off the world’s beaches.
- No sweatshops. Focus on sustainability and organic fibers. Quality, comfy clothing that baby boomers love, made right here in the U.S.
Levi Strauss & Co.
- Levi’s has a “Worker Wellbeing Initiative” to help improve the life of their employees. Levi’s has also trademarked their “WaterLess” campaign by using less water in their manufacturing processes.
- Partnering with Ethos Water, Starbucks is helping bring clean water to more than 1 billion people who don’t have access to it.
- Last summer, the car maker announced that beginning in 2019, all new models will be either hybrids or powered solely by batteries.
- The outdoor apparel company has long been an outspoken defender of the environment. As we watch the heartbreaking rollback of environmental controls, Patagonia has gotten more aggressive. Patagonia Action Works is a digital platform to help consumers connect with local grassroots organizations fighting for the environment.
Interested in getting involved? You don’t need to be a giant corporation.
Ask me about ‘cause’ marketing — identifying a single cause and totally owning it.