When Conscience Means Cash

Date: 2015-08-06 14:55:23 // Categories: Trends,
By: David Berry
Date: 2015-08-06 14:55:23 // Categories: Trends,

In the world of cause and effect, advertising seems to be leaning a little more on cause and the results are rocking the world.

Consider The ALS Association and its Ice Bucket Challenge, Y&R and Vodafone’s The Red Light App, and the crossover brand campaign star, Always’ #LikeAGirl, which was the winner of the inaugural Glass Lion award at Cannes for work that challenges gender stereotypes in advertising. Suddenly, the ongoing Real Beauty campaign from Dove is at once dated as much as it remains fresh.

Has the ad world developed a collective conscience and an eye toward the greater good?

The data certainly says so. According to a recent global report by Noise|The Intelligence Group, millennials — the target of many of these campaigns — are three times as likely to wear socially conscious brands over luxury brands, and more than 50 percent say it’s important that brands are transparent about their business practices.

And as it turns out, it’s very profitable as well.

Take Dove, for example, whose sales jumped from $2.5 billion to $4 billion since the launch of its Campaign for Real Beauty.

From behind this keyboard, I’ve felt conflicted regarding that truth. I’ve wondered if these campaigns have been successful only because advertisers have manipulated the emotions of their customers to drive more sales. Or is everything old new again?

But the truth is richer, and far less sinister.

This generation’s consumers are not just marketing smart, they care about the world around them in equal measure.

Consumers want real causes, real campaigns, and real people. They don’t want to be convinced; they want to be compelled. They want to believe in something, even if it’s themselves. They know the product benefits inside and out because they have Amazon and Consumer Reports to tell them the truth.

The magic happens beyond the benefit. What is true about your brand, and what matters to the people who buy your products? What compels them from the inside out?

Answer that question, and you’ll have found your way into their wallets, not just their hearts.

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