Updated: Jan 22
It seems that every time we turn around there is a new content marketing strategy coming at us. While all strategies – both new and not so new, seek profits, not all of them lead with that goal.
Societal marketing is a mindset that considers the social and ethical ramifications of a marketing campaign and has an eye on facilitating social change. Social marketing puts the prosperity of society above all else by ranking priorities as follows:
Society and human welfare – in every action, product, service and innovation, the company considers society first;
Customer satisfaction – everything they do should satisfy the needs of the customer;
Profitability – by taking care of the first two priorities, business will turn a profit and prosper in the long run.
In today’s tumultuous environment, engaging with society and demonstrating that your brand in a change-agent for good is critical. It’s not about if your brand with embrace social issues, but how. Societal marketing can help power the purpose within your brand, but it must go beyond a tagline or a single marketing campaign.
Here are 7 ways to go beyond and integrate societal marketing into your content marketing strategy:
1. Be Brave with Your Content
Today it is more important than ever to stand for something.
The new generation of consumers, who is both fiercely aspirational and loyal, seeks out brands with purpose and has little patience for content they find inauthentic. If you want this new generation to pay attention to your brand, you must consistently take some risks with your content to win their trust.
2. Listen First, Then Create Purposeful Content
Marketers often have a structured agenda. Usually this is a good thing. But when it comes to societal marketing, it is time to turn this model upside down. Customers are used to being spoken at. In order to truly serve others, marketers must first listen – really listen – to understand the societal issues that are on the minds of consumers. Then let this listening drive the content.
3. Embrace Change from the Inside Out
If your brand is to leverage societal marketing, the change can’t only happen in the marketing department. There should be a systemic and widespread cultural pivot if your brand is going to authentically advocate for change.
Now might be the perfect time for marketing departments to spur this type of organization-wide change to every department and every level within the company.
We spend the majority of our waking hours working, but are employees connected to that work?
Are they finding purpose within it?
At least one study says no.
In fact, only 30% of the employees describe themselves as actively involved, enthusiastic, and committed to their work.
Infusing a purpose-led mindset into company culture requires action from the top in order to clarify how each employee can make a difference in advancing the company’s purpose.
To motivate the c-suite executives to adopt such a change, you’ve got to show them the money. Prove to them that societal marketing and a bit of culture change will lead to improved business outcomes driven largely by recruiting top talent as the working population ages and the millennials take over. Use studies like the one from the E.Y. Beacon Institute and Harvard Business School that shows companies that lead with purpose are likely to be 85% more profitable.
4. Make it Personal for Your Employees
It likely goes without saying that at the end of the day, employees care more about their own values than the values of the company. Imagine what could happen if employees began to care just as much about the value and the purpose of the company.
LinkedIn reports that their purpose-driven employees are more engaged, more fulfilled by their work, and outperform their peers in every area. Imagine the content that a company who is purpose-oriented could create!
5. Differentiate Your Brand
It’s safe to say your brand is not the only one thinking about societal marketing given the state of affairs in society today.
So how will your purpose-driven content stand out?
Will it be the content itself? The delivery method? The human-impact factor?
Depending on your product or service niche, story telling might be the answer. Human stories have the power to drive relatability within content and messaging and are famous for motivating consumers to take action and connect with your brand.
6. Get Conscientiously Creative
To become a purpose-driven storytelling brand, the most successful companies are leveraging a largely untapped asset: user-generated content. Giving customers an opportunity to interact with your content is one thing. Providing them the opportunity to create content takes this concept of societal marketing to a whole new level.
76% of customers say they trust content from an “average” person more than they trust content from the brand itself.
When you see something posted by one of your customers, you can always buy the rights to it and then incorporate it into your own content.
Employee generated content is also powerful in societal marketing. After all, who else is closer to your brand and your company than your employees? It’s also a trusted source in the eyes of consumers.
Brands can sometimes view user or employee generated content as too risky. However, if your company has done the work to become authentic, relevant and purposeful, you should feel comfortable taking this chance and incorporating this new form of content into your overall strategy.
Brands should be human. They are developed by humans and for humans. It is only natural that societal marketing, and the prioritization of purpose before profits, has gained attention in recent months.
When brands focus on purposeful, compelling and authentic storytelling that addresses societal issues, consumers will notice.