Brands time to take a stand, but make sure to focus on the right things

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Brands time to take a stand, but make sure to focus on the right things

Consumers are increasingly looking for brands to take a clear stand on things like social justice, as well as using their relative power for the greater good. But making a misstep can be disastrous when facing intense scrutiny from an overwrought audience that is already facing high stress in nearly all aspects of life. In her latest article for Forbes, our CEO Rebecca Brooks outlines how brands should be taking action “from a place of deep authenticity that aligns with company values.” 


In the new piece, Rebecca references an article she wrote last year about brands taking a stand – “way back when things were ‘normal.’” While the basic premises remain true today, the fact is that we are all operating in a very different ecosystem than we were a few short months ago. The second wave of our consumer fear study, conducted in June 2020, shows data that differs from our original research in December 2019.


When we just pull out data surrounding consumer expectations from their brands, we found a “13% increase over the last six months in respondents who said they liked it when brands commented on social justice issues.” While this increase included all races, we saw the largest shift from our Black respondents with a full two-thirds saying that they appreciated brands taking a stance. 


Rebecca writes that even though examining a brand’s values during the consideration process doesn’t outweigh the continued importance of price and quality (according to our respondents), it is something that can no longer be ignored. “Influential populations are looking for their brands of choice to take a clear stance on issues that are important to them…When brands seek to understand their markets’ needs, this has to be a part of the conversation.”


Making a move to stand up for important issues must be backed up with solid consumer research, so brands can understand how to communicate with and best serve their important audiences. Rebecca concludes, “Those in leadership positions must first ask themselves what their brand stands for and be clear about what is important to them as a company, as well as decide who they want as their customers.” Only then can a brand “take concrete, lasting action and share it with consumers who are eager to see their brands be the leaders they are seeking.”


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