Cause Marketing: Why Brands Need to Take a Social Stance

23/Aug/2017 · 2 MINS READ

Does your brand story convey your socio-political stance? With only 1 day left to make sure you’re enrolled to vote in the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey, we explore how some of Australia’s leading brands are using their marketing and social media channels to talk about their stance.

The Why:

In an article published in Harvard Business Review, Professor Julie Irwin focuses on the behaviour of consumers when faced with ethical decisions. Her main finding? Almost everyone at some point will make a purchase or take an action that is directly based on their morals and beliefs rather than their wallet.

The Learning:

There is a massive need for better marketing and storytelling around ethical consumption as people will always let their morals influence their purchasing decisions.

Marketers need to create stories that hero all the good things that brands do. Instead of expecting to consumers to search for the facts, we need to create stories around them and make it blindingly obvious.

Irwin goes on to emphasise the power of context, saying:

“There is ample research to match the anecdotal evidence that ethical consumer values exist, but the context has to draw them out. This is the marketer’s task.”

Marketers have the power to create context with ‘good’ stories… stories that show the impact of consumer choices and the personal, feel-good impact they also create as a result.

The How:

So what brands are doing it best when it comes to taking a stance on the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey, and what can we learn from them?


Partnering with some of Australia’s leading publishers such as Junkee and Broadsheet Media, PEDESTRIAN TV, announced they will be ‘blacking out’ their social channels from 5pm to 8pm on Wednesday, August 23.  This is to remind their audiences to enrol or update their details for the upcoming postal vote.
Learning: Think about where your audience plays, how can you use your channels to effectively communicate with them.

Golden Age Cinema

There’s nothing like a GIF to stop that thumb on Instagram! Along with Golden Age Cinema, brands like Boost Juice and The Candle Secret Society have posted to their Instagram channels reminding people to enrol and vote.
Learning: Notice how all the posts have been uniquely created to mirror the look and feel of native content? Adopt a more authentic approach to content creation that reflects your brand, rather than simply regramming a campaign poster.

Vice Australia

Australian businesses are collaborating with Vice to offer discounts to those who show a screenshot of their enrolment or updated details.
Learning: Collaborations and co-branded campaigns are key for extending your reach and be able to talk to other audiences.

The Final Word:

Be Authentic—  As Allen Adamson said of the social media rainbow filter that followed the US Supreme Court’s ruling in favour of marriage equality:

“Removing the rainbow too soon might seem insensitive to the long fight leading to this moment. But keeping it up without demonstrating more support for the cause could be construed as opportunistic. Once a company has jumped, as many have over the last few days, it needs to figure out if it’s up for a lengthy ride”.

“If they really believe in this cause,” Adamson says, “they’ve got to stay committed to it beyond its trending on Google Analytics.”

In other words, if you stand for this now then how will you stand for it on an ongoing basis?

The Cone Communications/Ebiquity Global CSR Study it was revealed that “52% of consumers assume a company is not acting responsibly until they see or hear evidence to prove otherwise.”

Meaning that half of your consumer audience will think the worst of your company unless you show them otherwise. This further demonstrates why companies should think carefully about their beliefs and how they communicate their beliefs authentically.

The old saying goes ‘If you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything’ – what we’re seeing these days is brands that stand for nothing, simply fall to the wayside.

Make sure you’re enrolled to vote in the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey. Head to the AEC website to enrol or update your details.