What does Social Change mean for brands? | DMA

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What does Social Change mean for brands?


Do you like being told how to think? Because I don’t.

When I make my own decisions about life, people and brands I am far more bought in to those choices.

We all know the world is a fast paced and changing place. I’m not just talking about digital change, but social change too. Although the world is still changing, in my lifetime I’ve seen my 16 year old friends buy cigarettes and in the same year the smoking ban came in and pushed the age to 18+. I’ve been taught in school that homosexuality is wrong and then celebrated when gay marriage became legalised in most of the UK.

Most recently, I’ve felt inspired by ads promoting female empowerment and have been bold enough to stand up and voice my belief in equal gender rights.

With all this positive social change impacting the world it leads us to ask; what does this mean for brands?

And more importantly, how can brands get involved in talking about social change without getting consumers backs up.

I mentioned smoking above, I personally would refrain from telling smokers that they are slowly poisoning themselves to spare myself an eye roll, but Cancer Research recognised they needed to tackle this issue without preaching to smokers. Instead of launching a campaign about the influence of pretty packaging on children, Cancer Research created a video showing children themselves talking about what they liked about the packaging.

Instead of showing African children in poverty, PSA tapped into the trend ‘first world problems’ and changed the messaging of their water aid ad to feature African children reading out quotes from ‘first world problems’.

Finally, Influencer Troye Sivan talked to his 3 million subscribers about AIDS for Durex in a style true to him and gained cut through from the Gen Y audience who notoriously are difficult to engage. The video had over 1 million views and over 5k comments from Troye’s fans.

Here at TMW Unlimited, we use Intelligent Influence to creatively change behaviour. This is a core part of the planning framework and enables us to create campaigns focused on encouraging consumers to make decisions by triggering an emotional reaction.

Instead of telling us what to do - ‘wear condoms’ or ‘give money to charity’ - brands have tapped into human truths and harnessed the power of emotion to change not only where the message comes from, but also where it lands; firmly in the heart of the consumer.

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