Last week the city of St. Petersburg launched its inaugural Pride Parade sponsored by Tech Data, who previously participated in the event. Neighboring Tampa Pride organizers recently criticized the Tech Data St. Pete Pride Parade because they rejected the idea of a title sponsor potentially commercializing the Tampa event that attracts nearly 50,000 attendees.
More household brands like Converse, Disney, and Shake Shack are openly advocating for Pride and raising funds for the LGBTQ+ community. As the trend continues to grow, more consumers are questioning the authenticity and sincerity of these partnerships and promotions.
Whether it’s for Pride or another socially relevant cause – if you’re thinking about aligning your brand with a cause-based sponsorship, partnership, promotion or community effort, there are a few questions you need to ask before jumping in:
Why does your brand want to get involved? Is the interest authentic?
First and foremost, decide why this is a good fit. Does the cause share some of your core values? For example, fashion retailer Patagonia sells outdoor items and commits to environmental projects and sustainable practices. The promise refreshingly delivers real actions such as providing grants to like-minded charities.
Does this issue resonate with your employees?
Your employees are your brand personified – an essential component to both your success and credibility. Did you know the majority of Greek yogurt Chobani employees are immigrants and/or refugees? When Chobani’s founder and CEO, Hamdi Ulukaya, consistently pushed for more pro-immigrant business policies, his employees rallied behind him. Getting your employees on board increases their satisfaction and creates a personal connection.
Is your brand okay with potentially making enemies?
Sometimes taking a stance on polarizing issues creates animosity among various audiences. When Nike released a campaign featuring former NFL player Colin Kaepernick, it received both acclaim and negative reactions. Understanding risks before proceeding is paramount to prepare for positioning.
Are you confident with the potential long-term impact?
Recently a few ChappellRoberts team members attended SXSW in Austin, Texas and learned advocacy-based campaigns do not necessarily increase long-term sales. These campaigns have the greatest impact on brand awareness and social conversation among the core audience. So, if your sole focus is driving sales instead of creating a loyal and engaged fan base, reconsider your options.
Want to learn how your brand can leverage advocacy campaigns? Give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org.