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Neal Kwatra Describes Five Ways Companies Can Use Social Justice as a Branding Tool
Friday, 22 November 2019

 Nowadays, it seems like everyone under the age of 35 is a social justice warrior. Doing the right thing is suddenly chic. Businesses, however, have developed a reputation for doing the wrong thing in the name of profit. There is a common misconception that companies are only interested in the almighty dollar regardless of whether their policies or actions harm people or the planet. Times are quickly changing. Savvy corporate executives and public relations professionals are capitalizing on the social justice movement by using it as a branding tool. Here is an in-depth look at how companies are using social justice as a tool to bolster their brand.


 Achieving Justice Through Inclusion

The best hiring managers and marketers are quick to highlight their company's celebration of diversity. By making it known that the company is looking to hire people from different racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds, it becomes increasingly clear the company cares about social justice or at least appears to care. As time progresses, more and more businesses are learning that a diverse workforce helps attract talented employees. In particular, millennials are likely to respond positively to a diverse workforce. In the context of the workplace, diversity extends beyond race. Diversity also means the inclusion of women, religious minorities, and those with disabilities. Businesses that tout their commitment to diversity in job postings also benefit by inspiring brand loyalty among those who see/hear such advertisements.
Giving Back can Prove Quite Profitable
“In some situations, giving something away for free can pay massive dividends,” shared Neal Kwatra, expert political strategist and CEO of Metropolitan Strategies.  As an example, Stella Artois' "Buy a Lady a Drink" campaign heightened awareness of the water crisis developing across the world. Headed by actor Matt Damon, Stella's TV ads encouraged consumer activism. Stella provided a full month's worth of clean water to women and families in third-world countries for each purchase of its limited-edition bottles. Though this sounds like a promotional effort that would ultimately lead to a significant loss, it actually proved to be quite the savvy marketing move. The positive press helped Stella connect with a younger audience that will buy the company's beer decades into the future.
Directly Promoting Social Justice Through Advertisements
Nowadays, it is not uncommon for advertisements to promote a social justice cause only to see the company behind the message at the very end. In some cases, the vast majority of the ad is dominated by the social justice message and followed by a brief look at a corporate logo, company catchphrase, familiar jingle, etc. As an example, P&G's "We See Equal" campaign created to combat gender bias aired on several media channels, including TV. The ad addressed gender stereotypes with a head-on approach in an effort to combat injustice while simultaneously building and reinforcing brand loyalty.
The Push to Change an Unjust Law
New Belgium Brewing Company ran a campaign to push for the legalization of industrial hemp. There is growing support for the legalization of hemp as it is sustainable and quite utilitarian. Hemp will likely be used to make everything from paper to clothes and shampoo in the years ahead. In fact, New Belgium uses hemp to make one of its beers. The company embraced the movement to legalize hemp by highlighting its current illegality in its advertisements. There was little downside to using hemp legalization as a branding tool as the majority favors its legalization but for a few politicians.
Corporations Benefit by Fighting Poverty
Though many of those who are critical of capitalism insist private companies are primarily responsible for the ever-growing wealth gap, some corporations are actively addressing poverty. Ben & Jerry's is currently running an anti-poverty campaign in the United States. The company's Scoop Shops feature trivia questions about the rise of poverty across the past half-century. This approach seems a bit counter-intuitive on the surface, yet it portrays Ben & Jerry's as a compassionate company keenly aware of the growing wealth gap between the haves and the have-nots. As a result, consumers will throw their support behind Ben & Jerry's in the form of dollars spent on the duo's tasty ice cream.
About Neal Kwatra
In his first year running Metropolitan Public Strategies (MPS), Neal Kwatra made history—leading Ken Thompson to victory as the first-ever African American to be elected Brooklyn District Attorney and the first challenger to defeat an incumbent D.A. in more than 100 years in Kings County. 

Mr. Kwatra founded MPS in 2013 and has since been at the forefront of some of the most fiercely contested political and advocacy campaigns in New York and across the nation. Neal Kwatra has fought to uphold his ideals with great tenacity and continues to expand the reach of MPS into the strategic management of nationally recognized grassroots and issue advocacy campaigns.
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