Millennials really seem to push brands to take action for social avareness and it’s fun to watch. Brands that lack a sense of corporate social responsibility or brands that get this responsibility wrong are being usually criticized by Millennials. While shiny ads don’t really impress them, a clumsy action won’t be forgotten easily. The best part is, it doesn’t even have to be an ad or campaign: an unfortunate interview or one discriminative sentence in public from a CEO can put a bullet in brand’s own foot. Some of the known examples are Dolce & Gabbana or Nestle.
If you want to make your brand ‘a Millennial Magnet’, you should start with making your brand cool. If you are an unoriginal person with poor values your brand will never be cool. Remember that your audience like storytelling and most stories have a hero. What heroes do is problem solving, to be a hero you need to care about others’ problems and sometimes finding a solution means ‘changing their lives’.
Be Humble, Be True
You can be the hero of your story but too much show off will push Millennials away. Taking photos while helping people and using it in every marketing channel with your cheesy smile and thumb up is not something a real hero would do. If your focus is on social marketing let it be stay this way.
Since the term “going viral” got in our lives, recording the moment is what matters and what happens after that, is nobody’s concern. While it’s slightly acceptable for inviduals, avoiding these situations is not acceptable for corporations.
Samsung had a brilliant, heart warming idea: They started a new service for hearing-impaired customers in Turkey, ad theme was “a world without barriers” which is something we all wish to have. To introduce that service, they made a viral video. That video has been viewed over 10 million times across Youtube, followed by the comments of people in tears. While it goes viral in the entire world with titles like “Entire neighborhood secretly learns sign language to surprise deaf neighbor” as a Turkish, the moment I saw that add I realized they were not people from the neighborhood, but random people that brought from an agency. He has never seen them before and probably never will. It was a big disappointment for me, because it was rather 2.45 minutes without barriers- only as long as the video itself.
When the video ended I could only think about his next day in the neighborhood. Not like you can call Samsung videocall service when you need a friend to talk. I wonder if they ever bothered to ask him about his life, ask if there is anything else they can help with. Did he have a job, did he have close friends that wanted to learn sign language, wouldn’t it be better to find “a real neighbor next door” and teach him/her sign language? I guess I will never know, because I have asked all these questions to both Samsung Turkey and Samsung International and didn’t get a reply. I guess they will never know too.
While it’s a great idea and a successful ad, I wish it was not greenwashing. I wish that they truly could build a world without barriers for that one invidual in their story.
According to foodrevolution.org when it comes to greenwashing, nothing beats Hershey’s fail CSR repports about the things they have actually never done in Ivory Coast. So it’s really important to be true.
Care About Your Employees As Much As You Care About Your Customers
The more you care about your employees, the more they will care about your business. I stopped shopping from brands that linked their name to slave- labouring. If I witness harassment or bad treatment of an employee, I don’t want to be related to that company anymore, small or big business doesn’t matter. This includes difficult customer behaviour as well. There is this wrong motto “customer is always right”. As a customer I have seen many cases where employees harassed by customers for no reason. In such scenarios company should take the risk of losing the problem customer and support the employee.
Companies should encourage customers to be nice. One of the brands that does it very well is Monki. They have incredible values: First of all they guarantee decent working standards and conditions for their employees and the employees of their suppliers. Knowing that your clothes are not made by child workers or underpaid slaves is such a relief. Unlike many fashion brand they support diversity, they want women to be self confident, they support Plan International for education of girls and not only that! They care about animal welfare, they care about recycling, they might have the best CSR strategy I have ever seen, and you know what? You feel that when you enter the shop. You see that diverse atmosphere with happily smiling and sometimes (yes) singing, confident workers.
Monki really seem to care about their employees. As a customer when you smile and be nice to their stuff, you get a free banana and 10% off for online shopping. Each time I shop from them I feel myself like a fairy and the reason is not only their colorful clothes. Way to go Monki, you won my heart!
Include Your Audience
Congratulations. You became the hero of your story, what about making the consumers your sidekick? Make your consumers a part of your CSR project, share the glory with them! BikBok did it perfectly while helping a Plan Norway Campaign. They donated 1€ for each photo posted on social media with the hashtags and a single pose. No shopping, no payment, no long surveys or annoying spam mails, just pure good intentions. “Send your photo with that pose and we will donate for girls’ education”. Many wanted to participate, cause you could help people literally just by moving your finger. Millennials go crazy with that kind of campaigns and it’s not so hard to stretch these ideas to fun, memorable concepts!