Brand Activism Examples

Why your Brand Activism - Digital Marketing Strategy is not a transactional

Exampled Brand Activism
Audrey Anderson World

According to a Kantar survey, 68% of US consumers expect firms to be transparent about their principles, with Millennials and Generation Z having the highest expectations of any age group.

Because Digital Marketing Brand activism is viewed as a relevant future component in advertising and branding. It is worth researching how brand activism may influence customers’ trust in a brand and their sense of a company’s authenticity. This opens the door to discussing whether customers trust or distrust such techniques and why they do so.

However, Kantar’s ‘2021 Media Trends and Predictions’ analysis warns that inauthenticity lack this field can alienate customers. According to the survey, the primary success of brands such as Patagonia, Veja, and The Beauty Counter is intrinsic. In contrast, marketing from other corporations may indeed be regarded as opportunistic or insincere.

It is “how progressive firms are taking stances to create a better world,” write Philip Kotler and Christian Sarkar in their book Brand Activism: From Purpose to Action.

Examples Brand Activism

Table of Contents - Why your Brand Activism - is not a transactional

About Brand Activism Examples

Ben & Jerry’s and other brands’ efforts to end racism; the NBA player protest in support of Black Lives Matter; Burger King and Ronald McDonald kissing in support of gay pride; 

  • Is brand activism important to your customers?
  • Does it make your brand appear more authentic to them, or do they want brands to avoid taking a sociopolitical stance?
Brand Activism Examples

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Never Before Has Content Alignment Been More Important.

Any corporation aspiring to dominate its field must coordinate its public relations, thought Leadership, and SEO efforts. Consider the following thought leadership Venn diagram, demonstrating the significance of overlapping visibility, credibility, and authority. If you can align these factors, you will be able to stand out in your sector effortlessly.

That implies you’ll need some source information on your website as well as other properties you own, such as social media or sibling sites. Once you’ve established a solid foundation of expertise on various issues, attempt to increase your reputation by incorporating the PR element, in which others quote or mention your content.

Finally, ensure that people link to your content under certain categories that you may claim, which leads me to my next recommendation.

Communication is as important as market share in determining industry ownership. If you want your brand to become synonymous with its industry, it must be the word that customers use to describe it.

That kind of dominance necessitates a trifecta of credibility, authority, and exposure. And frankly, it takes a lot of work. Is your brand up to the task? Before you say “yes,” make sure you understand what’s coming.

What is Digital Marketing Brand Activism?

Purpose-driven marketing is essential for firms addressing societal challenges. Gone are the days when businesses strived to adopt a neutral stance on social and political problems as possible to appeal to the broadest market feasible. 

According to studies, today’s consumers expect companies to make a statement, and failing to do so can harm a company’s bottom line. In fact, consumers care so much about companies taking a statement on social issues that 66% would switch from a product they normally buy to a new one from a purpose-driven company.

Acknowledging that we are experiencing a connected society where consumers are digitally connected, incredibly knowledgeable on issues, passionate and empathetic. That said, these confident, emotionally intelligent potential customers are a very powerful voting bloc and our first line of defence against bad policies. 

This group of personalities are motivated because they care about the planet, care about voting rights, care about LGBTQ Trans rights, and care about Black lives matter. 

Brand Activism in your digital marketing strategy can be extremely beneficial for your brand to convey that you care about certain issues on a bigger scale so that your customers will be inspired to care.

Brand Activism is being proactive and cultivating a market of fans that will value your company and your values. 

It is powerful when a company’s top priority is the community it belongs to. Likewise, it is beneficial when the top executives, shareholders, board, and community encourage their employees to use their platforms as ambassadors.

Brand Activism Examples

Leading-edge –  putting their money where their mouths are brands like “Ben & Jerry’s” for their recent stand 

  • This brand exemplifies business leadership for me –

Ben & Jerry’s will suspend sales in the West Bank and East Jerusalem because sales to this war-torn region are “inconsistent with our principles.” 👏

Ben & Jerry’s recent decision was one of the strongest and most visible rebukes of Israel’s strategy of establishing its citizens in war-worn countries by this well-known Icecream maker.

The international community broadly regards the settlements as illegitimate and a barrier to peace in the region.

Ben & Jerry’s, founded in Vermont in 1978 but now controlled by consumer goods multinational Unilever, has not shied away from social causes.

While many businesses avoid politics for fear of alienating customers ( the almighty dollar), This ice cream company has taken the opposite approach, frequently advocating for issues for those who need a voice.

The occupied territories are not part of Israel. Nevertheless, the decision is a significant step toward increasing pressure on the Israeli government to terminate its occupation of conquered land (won in the 1967 Middle East war).

Ben & Jerry’s move on Monday 19 July 2021 may not be the end of corporate withdrawal from the West Bank – but it is a compelling start for Brands to show Leadership in the apartheid in Israel.

Brand Activism Examples

Why Your Brand Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Speak Up About Social Issues.

  • Most people do not know what your Brand or Company stands for. So take your time before you jump on a controversial social issue. Research it first, do not just post on social media in haste.
  • Many benefits are associated with speaking out about social issues. Articulating your brand’s position accurately can be cost-effective to reach new potential customers.
  • A strong social conscience in your business creates a better brand and builds customer loyalty for years to come.
  • There is an increasing trend of consumers expressing support for what your Organisation is standing up for.


In 2021, these companies will stand out as pioneers, trailblazers, and instigators of social change.


Consumers are Anticipating Brands to Take a Stand.

  • Ben & Jerry’s Digital Marketing Campaign “Climate Change Could Ruin Our Favorite Flavors”

Digital Marketing Examples

Consumers expect corporations to be activists, and Millenials, Generation Z’s are attuned to companies who are not playing it safe. Consumers expecting Big Companies they support to speak up on contentious societal concerns. Companies that undertake a strong position in articulating their position. 

Can see it translating to reaching a wider audience. It is important to note that being candid entails more than just making political remarks. 

Companies now are quickly being perceived as insincere if they do not back up their statements with actions, such as volunteering or contributing money to a cause. One of the greatest methods for a firm to determine which problems to advocate for is to assess its core beliefs and how its products or services represent those values.

Ben & Jerry’s is a forerunner among brands with a social mission. Because of their long history of such initiatives, they are seen as a brand that frequently uses its products in raising awareness about issues rather than the other way around. 

They launched a climate change campaign in 2015. In addition to publicising Ben & Jerry’s own “endangered flavours,” ice cream that might become unavailable due to climate change, they tried to gather signatures on a petition urging the United Nations to take action.

CEO’s PR Agencies and CMOs keep getting it Wrong

Social media and web ads are a shortcut for brands to get their message out. However, simply buying “passion” or giving a few bucks is far from authentic brand advocacy. 

While it is absolutely acceptable for a brand to pay for “brand ambassador” social media or web ads, that is where your message stops.

 In 2021, the public expects considerably more from CEOs. Are you willing to relinquish your brand’s lead if you step up your Leadership?

In the previous four years, I have witnessed a shift and acceleration of transition in the corporate community. This shift in dynamics has necessitated a higher leadership IQ and a more in-depth grasp of what I view as the necessary growing Leadership.

The Edelman Data & Intelligence group’s recent 21st annual 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer, a trust and credibility study, stated what we all know to be true.

The general public, employees, and customers have higher expectations of businesses and their leaders. As a result, we have seen a shift in trust from governments to the private sector, with CEOs and C Suite teams bearing the brunt of the responsibility.

With little room for error because “Trust” is what brands strive for. Why are corporations increasingly changing their logo colours to stand on societal problems such as racial injustice, climate change, the LGBTQ community, and voting rights? Such flimsy and completely worthless Band-Aid solutions to larger communal challenges.

Giving a “Passion” Award to someone you paid or spent in small part to affect your stock price or accolades is misleading and will not get your brand any closer to its social and sustainability goals.

Quid Pro Quo in Marketing – Opportunistic Failure 

  • What exactly is Quid Pro Quo?

A quid pro quo, in financial terms, is a consensual agreement between parties that considers each member of the party in exchange for the commodities or services that they have each profited from obtaining. 

It is analogous to an exchange transaction in which one firm uses the services of another company in exchange for the products of that company. In Latin, the phrase “Quid Pro Quo” means “something for something.” In this form of arrangement, the emphasis is on the equal worth of the goods or services provided by each partner to the other.

Brand Activism isn’t a transactional (i.e. paid to speak on behalf of) transaction like lobbyists or others for money. Instead, brand Activism in 2021 will be more like a contract with the policy-making community that isn’t legally binding. The contract will be heavily based on an alliance to help one another’s interests, such as climate change or religious freedom. 

Don’t get me wrong. Brand Activism and lobbying have a long history, but they are now more reasons these brands should be “curated” ( not cancelled from our buying.

  • Quid Pro Quo in Digital Marketing

As a mega-company, I really want to be part of the solution. My ethos is, “Let me do something to help solve a societal problem.” Therefore, I almost always take the donation with strings attached. What’s nice is I know it’s because I deserve to be paid. 

Boiling it down, Digital Marketing is an incredible, incredibly lucrative business. 

As a result, Digital Marketing is heavily influenced by customers and/or clients’ views of their role in the greater good and how Digital Marketing can help solve social issues or “campaigns”.

Brand Activism Example QUID PRO QUO Failure – #101

ExxonMobil’s recent activities that emerged has taken them from a company with a bad prior reputation to one now further perceived as self-interested, and there is a tremendous level of suspicion from the customer’s around this brand’s intentions.

ExxonMobil’s most recent digital foray is the creation of its first-ever smartphone application. Based in Fairfax, Va., the business launched the “Exxon Mobil Fuel Finder” App for iPhone and iPod Touch yesterday, which can be downloaded for free from the Apple App Store.

This new app also has an “Our Gasoline” feature where users can discover how Exxon and Mobil fuels help clean intake valves and keep important engine parts clean, such as fuel injectors.

ExxonMobil released a similar station finding tool for GPS devices earlier this year. Customers can download Exxon and Mobil service station locations to their devices using the ExxonMobil station locator feature, which is compatible with top consumer GPS systems such as Garmin, TomTom, and Magellan. 

“We’ve gotten a lot of positive response on that,” said Ben Soraci, ExxonMobil Fuels Marketing’s the US, retail sales director. “It’s been downloaded by a large number of people.”

However, a digital marketing failure occurs when your brand’s senior ExxonMobil lobbyist appears to have accidentally divulged how the oil industry uses its political clout to undermine climate action.

“Did we fight some of the science vehemently? True, “Exxon (XOM) lobbyist Keith McCoy stated during a covertly taped job interview captured by Greenpeace’s UK investigative platform.

According to Harvard research, Exxon utilises Big Tobacco’s playbook to downplay the climate crisis.

“Did we form any shadow groups to oppose some of the early efforts? Yes, that is correct, “McCoy stated in the footage released by the UK’s Channel 4 in late June 2021. “However, there is nothing criminal about this. We were keeping an eye on our investments. We were concerned about our stockholders.” –

A later backside by Exxon CEO Darren Woods responding to the tape by declaring the comments “in no way represent the company’s view” on climate policy and its commitment to carbon pricing, and I have no sympathy.

YES, IT DOES!!! – Your consumers and employees are not illiterate.

Brand Activism

The Benefits of Brand Activism

By 2020, 81 per cent of consumers want brands to do the right thing, and 71 per cent say profiting at the expense of people will permanently damage confidence.

According to Deloitte, brands with a mission do better: Purpose-driven organisations gain market share three times quicker than their competitors while increasing employee and customer satisfaction. This tendency will only grow as younger generations grow up with a greater sense of purpose and seek products that directly benefit issues they care about.  

Brand Activism is a growth driver: A Deloitte report goes on to say: Leading with purpose, being real in how businesses tell stories and express their impact, concentrating on all humans and infusing empathy, many of these businesses are surpassing their competitors and leaving an impact on everyone they touch.

Choosing to become a Brand that is Active on social issues, desiring to make the world a better place – that is what great leadership does.

How do Customers Assess the legitimacy of Brand Activism

How do Customers Assess the legitimacy of brands that participate in brand activism?

If the advertising is viewed as socially irresponsible, consumers are more inclined to distrust the claim. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that when past expectations and new facts are inconsistent, scepticism is activated, and unfavourable attitudes are formed.

This indicates that when consumers are aware of the underlying marketing practices, they may become more sceptical.

When a consumer feels that a brand’s decisions are not following their expectations, trust is shattered. Conversely, superior brand performance, such as a significant market share or premium pricing, is frequently the outcome of high consumer loyalty. For a long time, consumers have been devoted to brands whose image they can identify with.

This confidence, which may have been built up over time, can be shattered in an instant if a brand betrays its promise or lies.

  • Lack of Brand Sincerity

According to customer evaluations of brand activism, there is an impression of a lack of genuineness in such acts. Consumers believe that firms frequently participate in topics that are incompatible with their business and thus irrelevant. Furthermore, they see brand activism as a reaction to social trends rather than a genuine and sincere initiative. Finally, the impression that brand activism does not always respect consumers’ personal integrity characterises a lack of genuineness.

  • Customers Perception of Brand Dishonesty

Brand activism is also viewed negatively by customers as an act of deception. They believe that such a tactic misleads consumers by publicising a problem while attempting to raise profits. When organisations strive to take an active stand and include personal principles while simultaneously marketing their activity, consumers see hypocrisy.

Furthermore, it is suggested that brand activism casts a shadow over products and causes businesses to lose sight of what is truly important. Finally, brand activism is defined as “empty talk,” Consumers believe that corporations mention issues rather than revealing facts or taking meaningful action.

  • Redirects Attention Away From your Product

Consumers had mixed opinions about the brand activism discourse. One perspective that often came during data collecting was that the focus should be on the businesses’ products and quality. However, instead of showcasing the benefits of the items and how they will meet their demands, customers believe that they are focusing on making ads about the positions that they are taking. As a result, the products are pushed to the sidelines, and the focus is shifted to the wrong things.

By failing to meet your customers’ needs, your brand is jeopardising its customers’ trust in them.

How to engage in Brand Activism Authentically

OrganisationsOrganisations have used consumer brands to spread their ideas and promote certain essential political topics, even controversial ones. This has been characterised as a “corporate political shift” to take a stand rather than growing sales (Manfredi-Sánchez, 2019).

This has attracted not only the world’s largest brands but also lesser brands. Brand activism is defined as the phenomenon of taking a stand, which occurs when a company or brand connects its core values and vision with the support or promotion of social, environmental, economic, and cultural concerns.

Listen to the people who get your company’s news, and watch what they are saying about your brand’s active participation in social causes. “Social conversations” can be summarised as everyday conversations about the company or products or long-form campaigns in which customers share their opinions about your products. 

While these topics may not be universal, all companies will have situations in which their views are questioned. 

As a corporation, your best bet is to respond to your users, employees, and partners in a way that confirms your transparency, value, and alignment with their needs. Additionally, companies should be prepared for active pressure from concerned parties who want to see their cause raised or discussed.

  • Recent Inauthentic Brand Activism Example – 

When 25 major corporations Digital Marketing Strategies differs significantly from your Corporations financing of extreme anti-LGBTQ+ politicians, during Pride month 2021.

Brand Activism Examples

The publication of a recent report reveals that Comcast/NBCUniversal and AT&T have donated millions to lawmakers creating legislation that discriminates against LGBT+ equality. Since 2019, Comcast/NBCUniversal has reportedly donated a total of $1,095,500 to anti-LGBTQ+ legislators, including $35,300 to the sponsors of anti-trans legislation presented in Florida and Texas.

I want those who follow me to understand that “All Logo’s that looks like a Rainbow are not what they seem.” They are wolf corporations dressed up in rainbow clothing.

To modify your logo to a rainbow for Pride Month is a despicable marketing tactic and in such bad taste. Pure PR Spin.

Earning a perfect Human Rights Campaign (HRC) rating while donating to anti-LGBTQ+ members of Congress is a slap in the face to the LGBTQ+ community.

Putting your Brands Donations where your mouth is and direct your massive donations to the legislators who support and advance the cause of the LGBTQ+ community. Put a stop to funding “hate.”


What does brand activism look like in the future?

Future advertising brands will be more transactional and will follow the same trend we’ve seen with the growth of marketing tech and tools, which is an accurate understanding of what drives consumer behaviour. 

  • Brand Activism Example – Success

Nike, for example, has chosen to take an active stand against racism by publishing the campaign “dream crazy,” which features former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick with the motto” ‘Believe in something.” Even if it means giving up everything, simply do it.”

This followed Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem to protest racial inequality in the United States (The Guardian, 2019). The campaign was a hazardous move, which resulted in some blowback, such as the hashtag #JustburnIt, which was used by people who videotaped themselves burning their Nike sneakers (Bostock, 2018).


Brand Activism Examples

Furthermore, President Donald Trump chose to tweet about the advertisement, writing, “Nike is getting absolutely hammered with fury and boycotts.” I’m curious if they had any idea it would turn out this way.” Green (2018) defines formalised formalised formalised formalised formalised formalised formalised. Despite the reaction, the commercial was a success, with Nike’s market worth increasing by $6 billion, resulting in an all-time high for the company’s stock price (Reints, 2018). The commercial even received an Emmy for outstanding commercial (The Guardian, 2019)

Three powerful brands will define the business model of tomorrow: Digital creators: Brands will deliver content on the channels you already use every day, and the brands will own and curate the platforms and audiences for you. 

Brands will need to deliver content on the channels you already use every day, and the brands will own and curate the platforms and audiences for you. E-commerce brands: Branded stores will be integrated into the customer’s daily experience and not the other way around.

Key Takeaway’s – Why your Brand Activism – Digital Marketing Strategy is not a transactional 


Undoubtedly, the rapidly increasing role of technology is transforming the world, disrupting and reshaping every aspect of our daily lives. Digital Marketing also has the potential to improve the way we create a more sustainable future. 

At its core, Digital Marketing Activism sustainability is about helping shape a society where economic, social and environmental values are valued and preserved for future generations. Whatever your perspective on what has been labelled the Fourth Industrial Revolution (or the age of the Social Gig), by the year 2025, it is clear that the end game of this revolution is a more sustainable world. 

There have been few research-based studies on how consumers assess the authenticity of brand activism. However, consumers appear to be sceptical of the authenticity of brand activism, even if they want firms to take an active stance (Marketing Charts, 2019; Manfredi-Sanchez, 2019).

There is thus a desire to build trust among consumers, as it has become increasingly crucial in terms of brand reputation. Both the general public and opinion leaders are more sceptical of business activities (Greyser, 2009). Therefore, it necessitates an understanding of what they consider to be authentic and trustworthy

As a result, it is critical to understand how brand activism can be used most effectively as a weapon for improved authenticity. First, consider how closely your brand and its products are tied to the position you’re taking.

The stronger the logic and consistency, the more legitimate it becomes to take such a stance. Furthermore, consumers perceive brand activism as an adaptation to current trends that appears inauthentic due to a lack of sincerity.

Brands need to strive for authenticity from the inside out. The final element concerns quality and products since consumers believe that brands should not lose sight of what is truly important, namely their offerings. It is possible to de-authenticate a brand if it loses emphasis on its products while engaging in socio-political concerns.


1.Brand Activism – the Battle Between
Authenticity and Consumer Scepticism


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