“With great power comes great responsibility,” Peter Parker’s Principle, has become proverbial, not just for Spider-Man fans. It’s a concept that has been adopted by many brands that have transitioned into socially-conscious marketing as the needs of their audiences keep evolving. Brands are seeing consumers as constituents, and are matching their messaging and actions to the causes that their patrons are championing.
Peace, Love, & Ice Cream
Recently, a brand that stands above the rest in their socially conscious efforts is Ben & Jerry’s, which has been using its platform for community-oriented projects since the 80s with the inception of the Ben & Jerry’s foundation. Now known as much for their grassroots efforts to bring awareness to social justice and environmental causes as they are for their ice cream, Ben & Jerry’s has leveraged their marketing to target a “woke” audience.
They do this successfully by connecting their initiatives to the way they make ice cream and their flavor names. More recently, they have teamed with Colin Kaepernick to help end “police violence, systemic racism, and white supremacy,” with the introduction of a new flavor – Colin Kaepernick’s Change the Whirled Non-Dairy ice cream.
Likewise, their initiative, Justice ReMix’d, is centered around criminal justice reform in America and the disproportionate rate at which it affects brown and black people.
It Matters to Matter
Staying relevant requires continued marketing reinforcement to ensure strong brand associations. By supporting causes that matter to many people, companies like Ben & Jerry’s are thriving in a social environment dominated by appearances and little substance. It’s fair to say that Ben & Jerry’s pursuit of fairness and equity has gained them an unlikely audience, but one that is loyal to their causes as well as their creatively-conscious products.
As you move forward with your branding efforts, you may encounter the need to respond to social issues and, the way you do so will determine how your audience views your brand. Remaining authentic and sensitive in these moments, as well as ensuring your actions truly match your advertised support of causes and social endeavors, is a recipe for sweet success. But you don’t have to take my word for it – just ask Ben & Jerry’s.