Computer Arts - - Contents -

Can brand­ing have a real-world so­cial im­pact?

APORVA BAXI Co-founder and ex­ec­u­tive cre­ative di­rec­tor, DixonBaxi

“Ab­so­lutely. Take the #MeToo move­ment. Although not de­signed as a brand, the hash­tag has come to em­body a pow­er­ful idea that has be­come a world­wide phe­nom­e­non. With a clear pur­pose and mes­sage be­hind it, this oth­er­wise com­mon­place phrase has be­come a recog­nis­able sym­bol that car­ries a po­tent mes­sage driv­ing so­cial change, thus act­ing as a brand. The hash­tag it­self has su­per­seded the need for a logo – ar­guably the hash­tag is the logo – while the black at­tire worn at the Golden Globes acted as a vis­ual sig­ni­fier or uni­form for those sup­port­ing the move­ment. The same can ap­ply to any brand – but only if it au­then­ti­cally em­bod­ies an idea, and if so­cial change is a part of that.”

VIC­TO­RIA PINNINGTON Se­nior de­signer, True North www.thi­

“Brands have the power to reach more peo­ple than al­most any other cre­ative out­put and so, un­doubt­edly play a role in shap­ing our opin­ions, be­liefs and how we see the world. The rise of the con­sumer con­science, and the fact that many of us want to feel good about what we buy, means the lines be­tween com­pany and con­sumer, brand val­ues and be­liefs are blur­ring. For that rea­son, there is an in­creas­ing ex­pec­ta­tion for brands to align their val­ues with ac­tion. But in or­der for brand­ing to have a real-world so­cial im­pact, it needs to be telling a gen­uine story, one that aligns across ev­ery out­put, one that is done with pur­pose rather than for pro­mo­tion.”

MARK LESTER Cre­ative di­rec­tor, Mark Stu­dio www.mark­stu­

“I sus­pect the days of blindly ex­chang­ing money for sar­dines and Pot Noo­dles are num­bered. Most of us would lean towards brands that sup­port a real so­cial cause that we be­lieved in, be it hu­man rights, an­i­mal wel­fare, neg­a­tive por­trayal of snakes in movies, or what­ever. It’s eas­ier for a new busi­ness to con­nect with a so­cial cause and em­bed it in their com­pany val­ues with clar­ity and pur­pose right from the start. It’s much harder for more es­tab­lished brands, with pre­vi­ous bag­gage, to sim­ply tag on a so­cial pur­pose mes­sage and ex­pect us to be­lieve them. But it can be done, as M&S’ Plan A and Unilever’s Sus­tain­able Liv­ing brands are prov­ing.”

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