Companies are taking a stand

Support companies that support the causes that you care about

Philip Denelsbeck and Emily Spaulding

On Sept. 20, more than 1,000 brands took a stand against governmental inaction on the issue of climate change. Brands such as Patagonia, WordPress, and Ben & Jerry’s participated in this strike, as well as another strike the following week.

These companies are taking a big stance for the movement, as well as capitalizing on the opportunity for them to demonstrate their social responsibilities. 

During the strike, companies utilized different types of approaches to protest. For example, Patagonia closed multiple retail stores, Burton closed online shopping all day on the 20th, WordPress gave away ad space on their website and social media to raise awareness, and lastly Amazon employees planned a walk-out due to Amazon’s glacial adoption toward environmentally friendly policies.  

These companies that stand by their morals are not only going to retain their current customer base, but should also see a gain in new customers that share the same beliefs and morals. 

According to the Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report, company beliefs are now having a large impact on consumers. In the report it is stated that 64 percent of consumers are now belief driven, meaning that they are more willing to buy from companies that share the same beliefs as them and expect brands and companies to play a larger role in society rather than sitting back and only worrying about the bottom line. 

This movement is impacting the meaning of the triple bottom line, putting a larger focus on social and environmental aspects and taking it away from the financial portion. 

Another statistic from the Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report states that 67 percent of consumers say that trust is a major factor in deciding whether or not to buy.

With this being said, consumers are now becoming more conscientious about companies overall. A big part of this could be the immoral use of child labor in poor countries to drive down the cost of production while increasing the profit margin.

Another factor could also be the poor environmental practices, such as dumping chemicals from production into lakes, rivers, and streams, or increased air pollution coming from production facilities. 

The actions made by these companies and their brands should fuel consumers to act accordingly. Consumers, and those of us who are in a position to actively find a cause to support, should embrace the power we have to impact branding decisions.

Companies, such as Patagonia and WordPress, that are becoming more outspoken towards the government’s inactivity towards the issues of climate change helps create a large impact in the marketplace. 

They also create opportunities for other companies to follow the lead and speak up for their own beliefs. However, the underlying opportunity is represented by giving consumers the power to impact brands either financially or ethically.

In the end, an incredible example of how a company can paint a picture of moral stance comes from Ben & Jerry’s recent ad. We believe Ben & Jerry’s did an appropriate job of representing how they feel about climate control in their ad. 

It stated, “Our planet has something in common with your favorite ice cream flavor, it’s melting! It’s ruined!” This ad was clear and to the point about how serious and realistic changes to climate control can impact the environment. 

Students and consumers today can impact brand equity more than they think.

Decisions to purchase, or not to purchase, from certain companies can have a huge impact on the success or failure of brands in the marketplace. 

If you feel strongly about a topic, be sure to know what your favorite brands stand for and be sure to make the right choices when purchasing from companies! 

Philip is a Marketing and Business Economic major and President of the BU AMA. Emily is a Marketing and Sales major and Vice President of the BU AMA.