When Brands Get Involved

A brand has its values. But should these values be restricted to creating brilliant customer experiences or should they also play more active roles in supporting social causes? I’m not talking about muted corporate social responsibility activities which happen in a mechanical manner. I’m talking about brands aligning themselves with causes that are extensions of what they truly stand for. It is quite obvious that most corporations consider CSR as a marketing ploy. And that’s fair to a certain extent. After all, when there are stakeholders involved, it is obvious that return on investment is going to be a key factor when it comes to resource allocation.

While it’s great to support causes, why not be genuine about it? Why simply come out in support of something even if it doesn’t resonate with your brand values? Not only does it come across as superficial, but it doesn’t excite the employees nor does it really get any mileage for the company. I’m not saying that the company should not support other causes. It can have a portfolio of social initiatives, but it should at least dedicate some resources to a cause which will not only bring its employees on board but also help it develop a stronger emotional connect with its customers. After all, they are with the brand only because they believe in the brand values.

A great example of this is Tata which has associated its brand with getting people to vote as well as fight against corruption. The Tata brand has always enjoyed a strong patriotic flavour and a squeaky clean image. What better way to reinforce it than to support these two causes? Everyone knows that Tata supports a host of other social initiatives. But these two ad campaigns have really reinforced its primary brand values with its customers. Similarly, it is time that corporations took a genuine interest in supporting causes that are relevant and reflect their own values while continuing their support to other causes as well.

In short, corporations should put their money to good use, for society and for their own brands.

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