Should brands stand for something?

Published by Nikolas Alexiadis

Should brands stand for something?

The real question isn’t if a brand should stand for something but rather what should a brand stand for? How does a brand decide what it wants to stand for, and what issues should it get involved in? Firstly, let’s tackle why should brands stand for anything? Why should a brand contribute to society, why should a brand care about  Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)? The answer to this is simple: because the consumer cares about it. 

Consumers care about what brands do besides selling products. Consumers want to use the products of a brand that stands for something good in the world because it gives the consumer the feeling of contributing to this good thing the brand is doing, just by buying from the brand.

So, if the consumer cares about CSR, the brand better care about it too, otherwise the consumer will find a different brand that does. So, brands need to make a real and positive contribution to society in order to satisfy customers and, importantly, remain competitive


Should Brands Stand for Something? - The Talking Giraffe Webinar Series

In our November webinar “Should Brands Stand For Something”, experts from Good Loop, Buddy Burst, Djurgårdens IF Fotboll (Swedish Football Club) and PwC discussed this topic and shared practical advice...

According to Jamie Gray, Sales & Operations of Buddy Burst the promotional industry is worth £1.1 billion and 40% of the industry’s products go straight into the bin. Buddy Burst is giving marketers the option to spend a little bit extra and offer promotional products that have a better longevity or are sustainable. The idea is to provide products that are more memorable, to incentivise consumers to keep these products instead of throwing them away, and ultimately reduce waste.


How do you get brands to get involved in CSR?

Amy Williams, founder and CEO of Good Loop is proud of getting other brands involved in doing something good for society. However, she is aware that brands are not only implementing CSR plans for the “warm fuzzy feeling”. That’s why her company Good Loop focuses on stats when addressing new potential clients because giving back to society ultimately results in higher engagement results, higher ad recall, brand uplift and more sales for brands. At the end of the day, the “warm fuzzy feeling” for doing something good is just the cherry-on-top for brands.


"Giving back to society ultimately results in higher engagement results,

higher ad recall, brand uplift and more sales for brands." - Amy Williams



How do you decide what your brand stands for?

Amy Williams points out, just doing something that is good for society doesn’t cut the deal. Brands need to figure out what matters to them and their consumers and consider what role they want to play in society. It should go beyond having a diversity and carbon neutral policy. A brand needs to be clear on its stance in the world and its passion. Marketers cannot create a CSR campaign on every topic in society. That is why figuring out how to build an emotional connection with consumers and what topic best aligns with your brand is crucial. 

Filip Lundberg, Head of Sustainability, Djurgårdens IF (Swedish Football Team), emphasizes that it is important the sender of the message and the message itself matches. In his opinion credibility is key. Otherwise, the message can’t be communicated authentically. Providing a solution to the problem or acting on your message makes the sender of a message credible.


"It is important the sender of the message

and the message itself matches." - Filip Lundberg


Also, Maria Garcia-Moreno, Senior Consultant ESG sustainability and climate change at PwC agrees with the other panelists. A good brand needs to represent its identity and core values in its message. Therefore, to have a sustainable and long-term strategy, it is fundamental that consumers, investors and the stakeholders of a brand feel represented by the brand and its message.


So, what should brands do?

Not every brand has the resources to get involved in social issues. That is why marketers must decide what their business does care about and wants to make a positive impact on... Then clearly and authentically communicating the message and really acting on it. Brands should address their own practices and change what they can change by supporting employees, communities, and consumers. Do not just Tweet about a serious issue – address the inequality in your own workforce or environment and act on it.


You can watch the webinar on YouTube, or listen to it on our 'The Talking Giraffe' podcast, available here on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.