Last week, GreenBuzz, a design and communications agency, brought together a panel of experts who are trying to determine the best ways to connect with consumers in this brave new world of ours. Andrew Bleeker, president of Bully Pulpit Interactive, provided insight into current social change and what it means for marketers.
He began by sharing that support for the Black Lives Matter movement is climbing. In fact, a recent ABC/Washington Post poll found that sixty-three percent of Americans support the Black Lives Matter movement and a record 69% -- the most by far in 32 years of polling -- say Black people and other minorities are denied equal treatment in the criminal justice system.
Many of the institutions that Americans have long depended on for support are in decline. For example, church memberships have declined 20% over the past two decades according to a 2019 Gallup poll.
Yet the desire for connection to brands we can depend upon and trust is still strong, and Bleeker says many people are looking to their employers to be good corporate citizens, and also a place for their own activism. That's one of the reasons why you see people turning away from companies that don't support things they believe in. In fact, Price Waterhouse Coopers found that 43% of consumers said they would walk away from a brand after a bad customer experience.
He reminded us that people have an institutional connection with brands, and when a brand comes under fire, deliberation no longer works. We as marketers need to quickly change, because it's not just brands that come under scrutiny, but their vendors, people and advertisers are all fair game as well. His reference was that Pepsi ditched Aunt Jemima after 131 years when she came under fire for being a racist portrayal of a black woman.
Bleecker concluded by pointing out five questions brands should be asking themselves now in order to position themselves for our new normal.
- Are you ready for a Biden presidency?
- What are your priorities for when Biden wins the White House?
- How will you play a role in local and national rebuilding efforts?
- How will you talk about the value of your brand as the new normal sets in?
- Are you telling your story now?