Empathy is a tricky thing. It’s powerful, but only if it’s authentic. If brands don’t use it earnestly and in good faith, then their customers can smell a fake from a mile away. And there’s nothing people hate more than a brand trying to approach a cultural touchstone opportunistically with just profits in mind.
How can brands do it right? It has to be a natural fit with the brand itself, aligning with their corporate values and brand reputation. That’s what being authentic is all about. When someone sees it, they shouldn’t have to think twice about why you’re doing it.
The latest Trust Barometer research from Edelman, which surveyed more than 32,000 respondents from over 28 countries, a majority of consumers want businesses to do more to address a wide range of societal issues.
This same survey illustrated how fine of a line it is for brands to walk, with respondents admitting that brands taking a stand is fraught with risk of politicizing the issue. All of these top issues listed are very important to many in our country.
When an issue is so charged with emotion, the last thing someone wants is to feel like a company is making light of it solely for the sake of increasing sales. When considering whether your brand should take a stand on one of these or other issues, revisit your branding and your company culture. Check to see if there are any common threads that would make this issue something that your brand lives and breathes or whether it’s simply just a matter of trying to jam a square peg into a round hole.
We are all unable to forget the backlash from brands who do not approach these issues with empathy. Remember the Pepsi commercial that implied that systematic racism could be fixed if we all just enjoyed a Pepsi together? Yikes.
It’s this authenticity, rooted in the core of the brand, that makes it a trustworthy source of information and empathy. It takes honesty rooted in action. Not something you do once, but something you live, day in and day out.
No matter what challenge your brand faces, we can help. We can help inject your brand with empathy and make it relevant through our Dynamic Branding process. Get in touch now and let’s talk about it!