RECONCILIATION BRANDS: A MUCH-NEEDED SOURCE OF INSPIRATIONby Hampton Rhodes

RECONCILIATION BRANDS: A MUCH-NEEDED SOURCE OF INSPIRATION

1-global-unitySome brands are doing very interesting things to distinguish themselves in our troubled society and confused marketplace. And the first thing that they are doing is recognizing the need for a “safe harbor.”

This election year, America’s political arena is unusually polarizing. The divide between left and right is gapping wider and wider, and aggressive attacks on personal characteristics and individual traits are becoming nastier and nastier between the candidates and within their own methods of communication.

But it’s not just the politics and it’s not just in America. It seems harmonious society as a whole is under siege as we experience both accelerated fear of living in an increasingly hostile society and economic imbalance as we struggle to find equilibrium in an increasingly globally-dependant monetary infrastructure — not to mention the growing pressure for uniform basic human rights, dignity and respect for all people.

2-image-handsIt is because of the challenges of our evolving society and the influx of immediate media, that brands are taking steps to identify themselves with causes that promote harmony, tolerance, compassion and hope. And they are doing so in some very unique and creative ways that are making a difference, and are actually appealing to our cultural need for stability. The August 2016 Trend Briefing from Trendwatching.com shares some examples:

3-morely-smirnoffSmirnoff Vodka has recently partnered with street artist Morley — who is known for his trademark “statement poster” art — to create an advertising campaign that promotes compassion for immigrants. His posters, stating, “May our tears be made of gasoline to keep us going,” have been used on bus shelters throughout Los Angeles.

4-shea-moistureSheaMoisture’s brand for the U.S. launched the #breakthewalls campaign that promotes unity amongst the historic separation of “ethnic products” and “beauty products” in department and drug stores. In the SheaMoisture ad, actors, influencers and bloggers explain these hurtful experiences and resolve that “We are SheaMoisture, and we can now be found in the beauty aisle — where we all belong.”

5-bagley-sonrisasFor the International Anti-Bullying Day in May of 2016, the Argentinean biscuit brand Bagley created special sad-faced biscuits to raise awareness of bullying. Posters and limited edition packaging for the brand’s Sunrises (“smiles”) biscuits explained that “bullying takes away your smile.”

These are bold moves for brands to take — politically charged, revenue risking, and potentially damaging to their brand equity. But the overwhelming need for humanity to come together as one — differences and all — trumps all need for protectionism. I for one will look for an opportunity to buy from these brands, and others that promote a more harmonious and loving world. Please let us know your thoughts.

Information
Trendwatching.com

Books
All books available at amazon.com. Click on title to order.
Roadmap to Reconciliation: Moving Communities into Unity, Wholeness and Justice
by Brenda Salter McNeil, Eugene Cho and J. Derik McNeil
Contagious: Why Things Catch On
by Jonah Berger
Sticky Branding: 12.5 Principles to Stand out, Attract Customers, and Grow an Incredible Brand
by Jeremy Miller


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