Over the past decade, marketing has changed drastically with how we communicate as brands.
Previously most things were done behind closed doors hiding behind reputable logos. Cue the rise in social media and we’ve seen an explosion of brand storytelling that has created a whole new way of how we talk to our audiences.
These days, brands are applauded for aligning themselves with things they believe in, calling out things they don’t like and talking about political issues.
A great example of this is the rise of females in business stepping up, voicing their opinions, taking charge, creating a whole new generation of ‘girl power’. This wouldn’t have been possible without people expressing their vulnerabilities publicly with real, authentic emotion.
“The willingness to show up changes us, it makes us a little braver each time.” ― Brené Brown
We’ve seen the power of the ‘me too’ movement and how a few voices turned into many, which created a whitewash of change. Change in the way people speak about sexual assault and change towards the cultural attitude of staying silent.
I don’t know how many of you have seen Nanette by Hannah Gadsby, if you haven’t head over to Netflix and give it a watch (you can also read The New Yorker summary here). The show goes deep, deeper than you’d expect a comedy act to go. She talks about her past, her upbringing and vents her whole life along with her insecurities in the hope to open up a conversation, to help bring a new perspective on issues that she’s so personally connected with. By doing this, as the audience, you feel what she feels, you hurt when she hurts. She opens up her life, enabling us to see so much more with emotion, which is a side we otherwise wouldn’t have seen if she didn’t take that risk. And, she’s creating a real name for herself because of it.
What’s this got to do with business?
Well, every time you talk about authentic issues from the heart, you’ll attract more likeminded people who will connect with your brand from an emotional standpoint.
This doesn’t mean you have to express your deepest darkest secrets, it just means you talk human to human about things that matter to your brand and the people within in. Then not only do you speak about things that matter, you’ll speak with conviction.
So, what type of things do you talk about?
This one really depends on the issues that you find align with your brand values. Though what we’ve realised is that issues we feel very hesitant about discussing are usually the most successful in regard to generating a great conversation, because in the end, that’s what it’s all about.
- LGBTI rights
- Women’s rights
- Gender discrimination
- Working mums
- Political issues
- Environmental issues
- The hardships of business ownership
- Mental health
- Work life balance
- Issues within your industry
What we’ve seen over the last few years are brands voicing their opinions and talking about issues that align with their brand. A perfect example of this was around the time Australia was voting on the rights of same-sex marriage. Brands turned their logos rainbow, shouted ‘yes’ across their campaigns and expressed their stance on an issue that mattered to them and their audience. This also falls into a category called ‘cause marketing’.
As a bigger brand, there is obviously a lot more to lose when speaking about issues that may cause a divide in opinion with their audience. Though, by showcasing vulnerabilities they end up with a much stronger, loyal audience that share the same values. By doing this it also helps to connect with your audience from an emotional point of view, and emotion plays a huge part in the psychological aspect of buying. For more you can check out the HubSpot article ‘The Ultimate Guide to Emotional Marketing’ by Allie Decker.
Today, consumers expect brands to voice their opinions on bigger issues.
Some brands are even criticised for staying silent on issues that consumers want them to voice their opinions on. Of course, you’ll need to expect some differing opinions, like all real conversations, so it’s important to prepare your responses. In the end, it’s fine to agree to disagree.
Like anything in business, it’s usually the risks that reap the rewards. There is no pressure at all to talk about things you don’t want to talk about, though expressing vulnerabilities is like a muscle, once you do it, you’ll open up a whole new world of possibilities. It only takes one person to open up a whole new conversation that can initiate change.
Tara Ladd is the Founder and Creative Director at Your One and Only, a brand design studio that helps brands to communicate meaning through creative strategy and design. In other words, they help to make your brand look awesome. You can find her sharing insights about brand, design and marketing on Instagram and Facebook.