How to Engage Meaningfully with Issues as a Brand
It’s important to take a stand based on your company values, but it is important to be mindful of how you do it - so here’s some tips.
There is a lot going on in the world today.
There are ongoing fights for rights, wars are being waged and the environment is slowly crumbling to pieces in front of our eyes.
None of these issues are particularly new - but because of the incredible access that technology and social media grants us, the population is more aware of them than ever.
And Gen Z is at the forefront of this because they have grown up with this awareness. They have also shown time and time again that they do not take it lightly when brands and companies stay silent on issues, especially those that organisations are either directly or indirectly supporting. But at the same time, they do not appreciate preformative action from companies towards these causes, as they feel incredibly hollow.
As a company, this may feel like a thin line to tread between being blasted for being silent or being lambasted for speaking up in the wrong way.
But it’s actually not all that complicated. Here are some tips to make sure you’re going in the right direction
Do your research
There is already enough misinformation on the internet - please refrain from adding to it. If you’re going to be speaking on a complex current topic as a brand, which all of them inevitably are, it is incredibly important that either you have someone in your team that knows what they are talking about, or that you do a significant amount of research first.
Understand your Place & Help to Uplift the Voices of Others
Sometimes the best thing that you can do for a cause, is to uplift others.
While it is always important to be vocal about any issues, sometimes as a brand, the best thing that you can do is to pass the mic on to others. This may be about highlighting organisations that already make significant change in certain areas, and focusing your efforts on uplifting them. Or it can be about amplifying the voices of those that are the most affected.
Let’s take for example, Black History Month.
This is a month set aside to celebrate black culture and individuals, and acknowledge black history. Some ways to shift the focus this month could be to amplify the voices of your black employees, and listen they have to say when it comes to diversity and inclusion efforts in your organisation and where you could do better. You could also use your socials to highlight organisations that are making a difference in diversifying workspaces, such as The Black Excellence Network or 10,000 Black Interns.
It is important to understand that sometimes the most meaningful way that you can support an issue that you care about, is to pass the mic to someone else and support them.
Put your money where your mouth is
One of the most important questions to ask yourself is: is this action performative?
Are you doing something that will generate change, whether that is directly or indirectly, or are you merely ticking the boxes to make it look as if you are?
When you are making the motions for the sake of appearances, this is known as preformative action - and Gen Z can spot it a mile off.
For example, are you just posting about Black History Month because it has come around? What do you actually do for diversity and inclusion for people of colour within your team? What do you do within your community? Outside of this one month, how do you go about celebrating black culture and people throughout the rest of the year?
If you are not able to put actions behind your words, sometimes it is better just to keep quiet and planning ways that you can make a difference.
Whatever you do, do it Authentically
When it comes to engaging with meaningful issues, authenticity is key.
There are so many things going on in our modern world, it is impossible to be heavily involved and devoted to all of them.
And there are naturally going to be some issues that your brand is more involved in than others, some areas that you have a greater focus in. And where you find your brand naturally focusing, you should follow, because it means that your involvement in it is authentic.
Rather focus more of your effort in one area and make change, then spread your focus out over everything and make little actual impact.
We are no longer in a world where brands keep quiet on the things that matter.
As a brand, and as a company, you inherently have power to create change. Whether that starts internally with your own team, or beyond in the greater community, there are so many areas of our world that you can make better.
Maybe your focus is on racial diversity, on neurodiversity, on education, social mobility, sustainability or a million and one other things: you have the potential to make a difference, and it should be a priority for you.
If you need further help with your employer brand, why not get in touch with us?