More brands feel confident showing their “human side.”


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This week, two big cases were heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, both having to do with gay rights: California’s Proposition 8, and the Federal Defense Of Marriage Act.


In anticipation of these cases going before the highest court, an LGBT lobbying group called Human Rights Campaign (HRC) turned to the Internet to drum up support in favor of overturning of both cases. They asked well known celebrities (such as Ellen DeGeneres, Lance Bass and George Takei) to change their social media “avatars” to the group’s pink-and-red-equal-sign logo for the two days of arguments. Almost immediately many other sympathetic people did likewise, and Facebook and Twitter were awash in HRC’s logo. This was a simple way ordinary people could show their support to the causes.

Then something interesting happened. Versions of the HRC logo started turning up on brand pages and in brand tweets. Major ad players like Bud Light, HBO and others adopted the HRC logo, if only for a day or so.

A few years ago, a major brand going out on a political limb like this would have been unthinkable. Communications were in a “corporate voice” and left little room for supporting anything other than “politically safe” causes, if any. Seemingly overnight, brands have started letting their “human side” show through. Brands have discovered that people crave authenticity, and seek out stories from organizations and companies that “sound” like they do. Brands are ditching the management-approved “corporate speak” of not so long ago, and are now talking to customers as if they were people (because, well, they are).

Customers and fans have embraced this switch. One need look no farther than the Facebook timelines of some amazingly large companies (Starbucks as an example) to see how this plays out. And brands? They’ve seen how “brand stories” go a long way towards stimulating new purchases and building customer loyalty.

Looked at in this light, it’s a no-brainer to see how brands could glom on to a real-time meme like this. Brands know a lot more about their customers now than they used to. Not just in regard to their products, but in regard to life. They’re getting in tune with their fans’ likes, dislikes, what’s important to them, what gets them excited, what turns them off, and yes, even their political preferences.

So when you see Bud Light or HBO’s “True Blood” “coming out”, so to speak, it’s not so much about taking a political stand as it is marching with their customers.

If you’d feel a little queasy about having your brand step out on this ledge, just know this is a trend that’s going to gain momentum. People like to do business with “people who are like them.” And sometimes your brand can demonstraate that it is that person.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Mickey Lonchar
Mickey Lonchar has spent the better part of two decades creating award-winning advertising with agencies up and down the West Coast, Mickey currently holds the position of creative director with Quisenberry Marketing & Design, a full-service advertising and interactive shop with offices in Spokane and Seattle, Wash.


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