2021 Marketing Prediction: The Continuing Rise of Socially Conscious Marketing

Written by: Joe Rosado, Digital Marketing Coordinator, Summit Creative Marketing

With technology being ever-changing and the pandemic shifting the way we interact and live daily (for the foreseeable future), there are a number of predictions that can be made in regards to the direction marketing trends will take in the New Year. However, in the world we live in, nothing seems more necessary for a brand to adopt than a social conscious. In 2020, we saw countless instances of social activism and environmental awareness and even witnessed substantial rallying around some of those social issues. Our 2021 marketing prediction says that brands will continue to align themselves with socially responsible causes, and will do so in record numbers.

Businesses are beginning to recognize that consumers are no longer content with supporting socially conscious causes on an individual level; they now expect it out of the brands they buy from as well.

Let’s talk about different ways to practice socially conscious marketing.

Brand Activism

In 2021, brand activism will become an integral component of every marketing plan. A study conducted by Instapage found that 91% of millennials and 85% of the overall American public would be willing to switch from a brand that’s not tied to a cause to one that is. Even though many companies have been practicing brand activism for a number of years now, today it has become almost a bit of a requirement for marketing departments to include in their messaging rather than a bonus feel-good story. Consumers don’t simply want to buy a product or service anymore. They want to know their dollars are going towards a greater cause. Because of this, the days of strategizing a politically correct marketing plan may very well be over. Below are a couple of hot topics where you may see most brands gravitating towards in the New Year.

Social Responsibility

There was no shortage of events surrounding social injustice in the United States in 2020. Businesses had a choice to either ignore the headlines or speak out against the issue. For instance, racial inequality has been as hot an issue as any, with multiple instances involving the mistreatment of minorities occurring in 2020. This has caused many brands to rally around the black communities in America and align their brand image to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Retail giant Nike was one of the many brands to vocalize their support by centering an ad campaign around the issue and consumers took notice: Nike sales increased by 31%.

You can expect social activism to remain a topic of conversation in marketing boardrooms in 2021.

The Environmental Movement

More and more large corporations are aspiring to do their part in diminishing the Earth’s carbon footprint. With the effects of global warming, the pressure has been put on brands to alter their marketing plans to be more eco-friendly. Tesla, for example, has taken a proactive stance on emissions which has helped set the stage for other auto manufacturers to develop their own hybrid and fully electric vehicles in the coming years. Amazon, another brand giant, has a goal of reaching a net zero carbon emissions by 2040. In 2021, look for brands of all sizes to redirect their marketing efforts to appear more “green”.

Being Authentic Through Brand Activism

Just as important as the cause itself is a brand’s authenticity in supporting it. If the public finds a business’s motive to be insincere, it could lead to greater backlash than if the company hadn’t taken a stance in the first place. A great way to avoid this is to intentionally allocate some of its revenue towards an initiative. This is where businesses “put their money where their mouth is.” An effective way to accomplish this is for a brand to partner with an organization that shares the same passion for a certain cause and donate a given percentage of sales to them. It’s important to note that businesses should conduct thorough research on any charitable organization before partnering with them in order to ensure they are a reputable choice.

In 2021, companies that support causes in alignment with their core values will not only experience a seamless fusion of social purpose with their business, but they will also take a step towards increasing loyalty among consumers towards their brand.

If you want to add cause marketing and socially conscious marketing to your strategy in 2021 reach out to the Summit Creative Marketing team today to learn how we can help you.

What 2021 marketing predictions do you have?