Establishing an impactful social impact strategy is necessary to grow your brand in the modern era. Your competitors are invariably more interested in social media marketing, digital ad spend and public relations strategies, in addition to integrating the latest widget on their websites. However, by establishing an impactful social impact campaign, your brand can achieve those same goals with the added benefit of virality.
With prominent brands utilizing social impact to gain favor with new and loyal fans, I am sure you’re wondering what’s in it for you. Simply put, social impact strategies are not singularly focused on a cause that helps people economically. Below, I’ll share tips on how your brand can use the power of social impact to expand swiftly.
Why Social Impact Matters
A recent study conducted by Neilsen shows that 67 percent of people prefer to work for socially responsible companies. In comparison, 55 percent of people said they would be willing to pay extra for products and services committed to positive social and environmental impact. In addition to increasing your brand’s bottom line, social impact initiatives at the company level are valuable in many aspects.
For one, you can launch social impact initiatives that align well with your brand’s mission. For instance, if you run a record company, your brand’s social impact strategy could help aspiring recording artists adequately understand the music industry’s economics. Alternately, suppose you are launching a media company. In that case, your brand can establish initiatives that help aspiring writers in your local community learn how to pitch stories to news organizations and editors.
Furthermore, social impact initiatives are vital due to the community nature of particular campaigns in general. One example of a more interpersonal impact strategy that elicited major growth is Coca-Cola’s popular #ShareACoke strategy. While not focused singularly on one specific cause, Coca-Cola’s goal was to evoke positive feelings by individually naming its iconic bottles after actual human beings. Coca-Cola’s strategy inspired people to gift Cokes to their friends personally on a micro level, but with macro results. When discussing the impact behind the social impact strategy, Coca-Cola’s marketing director, Lucie Austin, wrote, “Our research showed that while teens and young adults loved that Coca-Cola was big and iconic, many felt we were not talking to them at eye level.” Their campaign reached 70 countries and inspired a new generation of Coca-Cola loyalists worldwide, consequently increasing revenue while expanding their brand’s footprint.
How to Integrate Social Impact into Your Branding Strategy
In 2017, my company launched a social impact organization called National Invest In Veterans Week. As a veteran-owned company, we remained hyper-focused on inspiring veterans to establish businesses in their local communities. After identifying that a lack of noticeable public support was the primary reason veterans chose to work for companies rather than start their own, we picked the first week of March to celebrate the holiday. After developing our branding, we launched a hashtag campaign to track when the public shared our holiday on social media platforms. To our astonishment, major brands shared our hashtag, and the South Carolina Senate and House of Representatives passed legislation honoring veterans during National Invest In Veterans Week. This led to media features about my organization and expanded my reach nationally.
To follow the same strategy with your brand with great success, I’d recommend considering launching a designated day or “holiday” around your social impact strategy with a clear mission and vision statement. Develop a catchy hashtag to promote your holiday or product that you can encourage your audience to use. Personalize your social impact strategy to impact people on an interpersonal level. Finally, consider partnering with organizations similar to your social impact initiative’s mission to expand your reach while gaining credibility in your industry.
Remember, the purpose of a social impact initiative is to continually find opportunities to impact others positively. Throughout your social impact campaign, you will likely discover multiple ways to expand your intended campaign’s focus. Throughout the process, you will gain loyal fans and brand advocates and acquire valuable media opportunities to showcase the vision of your social impact strategy and share your brand’s story.
Put simply, your social impact strategy doesn’t have to span 70 countries to be impactful. However, by remaining focused on impacting your community positively, you will undoubtedly expand your reach while benefiting from the power of helping others.