By Sarah Harris, Audacy
We’re in prime advertising season: when brands draw on the emotion of the holidays and reflect it in their messaging and creative. When done well, these ads can swell consumers with positive thoughts and feelings about the brand, and ultimately lead to action.
But how can brands sustain this connection with consumers beyond the holiday season? Easy. Use your brand superpower as a lever for both business and social impact all year round.
Consumers want to know companies care.
Recently, consumer-led demand has dictated that companies communicate their core values and social responsibility commitments – a demand that’s increasingly of interest with investors, too. It goes beyond messaging your principles or standards. They want to see measurable impact as an extension of a brand’s business.
GEN Z EXPECTS BRANDS TO HELP THEM CHANGE THE WORLD:
- 79% of Gen Z actively seek out brands that support the causes they believe in
- 74% of Gen Z look up a brand’s stance on the causes they support
- 58% of Gen Z feel that ads or brand messages that publicly declare support for a progressive cause are positive1
The good news for organizations large and small, when done well: strong values and social impact programs can also benefit business objectives. Why? Because when brands align around shared values with their consumers, they build trust, earn loyalty and inspire action.
Using your brand superpower.
Whether you’re starting from scratch or gut-checking your company’s current values/impact program, these are guiding prompts to focus your brand’s effort to yield meaningful impact:
- What are we best at? Identify the core strength of your brand, the driving force of your business. I.e. your superpower.
- What does our community need: Next, listen to what’s important to your consumers and employees, on a macro and micro level.
- Activate your superpower: Prioritize and define how and where you want to show up to create impact in the spaces where your consumers are. For example, educate the community about key civic opportunities, directly serve a marginalized audience or align with likeminded nonprofits who can amplify your intention in their impact.
At Audacy, building trust with consumers is woven into our DNA. As a leading audio content and entertainment company, our deep connection with our 170 million monthly listeners has been established by our trusted personalities, local news sources and influencers for decades. The very core of our business is sustaining this trust-based connection with our fans and communities.
When designing our social impact program, Audacy Serves, our goal was to take this deep connection and trust – our brand superpowers – a step further. Read: How do we use our platform for good – in a manner that both strengthens the Audacy brand while delivering impact for our fans and communities?
One area where we knew we could authentically lead is mental health. In recent years, we saw a growing need in this space, from both our listeners and our employees. Inspired by our team members in Seattle who began a conversation with our listeners to process the premature deaths by suicide of Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington and Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell, we built on the power of talk to launch “I’m Listening,” now our national marquee platform that exists to end the stigma of talking about mental health, saving lives.
We’ve brought together big names like Billie Eilish, Lizzo and Doja Cat, our local personalities, medical specialists and health and wellness brands to share personal stories of mental health experiences and provide solutions to our community members – impacting 100 million+ people to date.
Listeners turn to us and join the conversation on mental health because of our established connection and deep trust. We strengthen that connection by addressing legitimate needs in their lives. All the while leaning into our brand strength to deliver valuable business and social impact.
Tell Your Brand Story
Actions speak louder than words. Your brand needs to put your values into action if you want to break through and gain traction with consumers. Tremendous opportunity exists in authentically sharing your story with consumers and inviting them into your social impact story.
At Audacy, we partner with leading brands, to invite consumers into social impact stories and campaign, delivering powerful brand ROI.
- Ford: Brand-powerhouse and longtime partner Ford grew their commitment to putting their values in action (see 2020 Built For campaign celebrating first responders, breast cancer and communities rebuilding post pandemic). Marla Skiko, US & Global Head of Media for Ford shared their recently redefined global brand purpose as, “to help build a better world, where people are free to move and pursue their dreams.” Listening to consumer concerns around the environment and climate change, they accelerated their journey toward electric vehicles. Ford turned to Audacy to activate a comprehensive, multi-platform campaign that tells their values story – and progress toward lessening environmental impact – through campaigns grounded in values that resonate with both Ford and their consumers.
- Stella Rosa: The century-old brand prides itself on being more than just a refreshing wine, but a lifestyle – for They sought to amplify their commitment to diversity and inclusion aligning with CHANNEL Q, Audacy’s LGBTQ+ media destination, as the national sponsor for Pride 365 – promoting their brand while aligning with consumers who value openness, diversity, inclusion and allyship.
Trust us – we love heartwarming, feel good holiday campaigns. And, if you want to generate deeper positive consumer sentiment (and committed action) year-round, make a sustained investment to activate your brand strength around shared values with your consumers. You’ll see it delivers meaningful business value, while impacting the lives of your consumers and communities.