(By Spike Santee) For your business brand to be truly social, it takes more than just having a website and asking people to “Like us on Facebook.” Those are social media tools. But what is your brand’s social message? Without a carefully crafted and focused social message, you’re wasting your time and money and it could be affecting your bottom line in a negative way.
In today’s marketplace, it is not enough just to offer a great selection at a good price. That is a basic requirement. Consumers today are making decisions on what a brand says, what it does, and what it stands for. What does your brand say, do, and stand for? It is important to figure that out and learn how to articulate it before you spend your hard-earned money on any form of advertising, including social media advertising.
In his book, Start with Why, author Simon Sinek says, “People don’t buy WHAT you do; they buy WHY you do it.” Most companies focus on advertising the WHAT of their business, their products, industry, and competitors. They can even articulate the HOW they do WHAT they do. But it become more difficult to describe the WHY of a business, the purpose, cause or belief. The WHY of a business is their reason for being and the WHY is the why anyone should care.
Sixty-two percent of consumers want companies to take a stand on current and broadly relevant issues such as fair employment practices, transparency, and sustainable living. 1
This consumer desire can drive strong product growth. The parent company of Dove soap, Lipton Tea, and Knorr Food Products, Unilever, found that their brands that focus on sustainable living in their advertising message grew 50% faster than their brands that don’t. The Unilever family of products with a sustainable living message in their advertising delivered 60% of the company’s revenue growth in 2016. 2, 3
How do you capitalize on a consumer’s desire to do business with a purpose-driven brand? First, you need to be able to walk the talk. People can detect inconsistencies, and when they do, you are perceived as inauthentic and you erode trust.
At Knorr Food Products, they describe their WHY this way: “We have a responsibility to help make positive change across the food system, from the way food is grown, to the way food is consumed. We believe nutritious and delicious food should be within everyone’s reach. That’s why our ambition is to source 100% of raw agricultural materials sustainably and to help more than 1 billion people improve their health and well-being by teaching them how to cook nutritiously by 2020.” 4
At Dove, they don’t sell soap, they are working to make beauty a source of confidence, not anxiety. They don’t hire models for their advertising, they use real women of all ages to challenge stereotypes and highlight how beauty is unique to the individual. Dove portrays women, as they are in real life and they don’t digitally distort the images in their advertising. Since 2004 the Dove Self-Esteem Project has delivered self-esteem and body confidence education to over 20 million young people is 139 countries with a goal to reach another 20 million by 2020.5
Dove is the most popular bar of soap in the United States with more than twice the market share as the number two brand, Dial. 5
According to the Accenture report, beyond price and quality, these are the top consumer drivers: 1
• 66% – The brand has a great culture, it does what it says it will do and delivers on its promises.
• 66% – The company is transparent with where it sources materials and how it treats employees.
• 62% – The brand believes in reducing plastics and improving the environment.
• 62% – The brand has ethical values and demonstrates authenticity in everything it does.
• 62% – The brand is passionate about the products and services it sells.
Here are four ways to make your brand more sociable:
1. Get a copy of Start with Why from Simon Sinek and work to figure out your WHY.
2. Develop a paragraph to describe your WHY.
3. Align all your actions with your WHY.
4. Eliminate clichés from your advertising message and replace them with a genuine message of WHAT you do for the consumer and WHY you do it.
Then, you will be ready to buy some traditional and social media advertising.
Let me know if I can help.
1 Accenture Strategy Global Consumer Pulse Research, 2018.
2 Unilever, “How to boost business growth through brands with purpose,” August 8, 2017.
3 “Empowering Unilever marketers and unstereotyping ads: Keith Weed’s case for Global Marketer of the Year,” Campaign, January 24, 2018.
Spike Santee is the author of The Four Keys to Advertising Success and the president of SpikeSantee.com. Contact Spike at (785) 230-5350.