If your company has created social value, and measured it, how do you get credit for it? It can be used for strategic advantage – if what you do is conveyed to key stakeholders in the right way.
To gain strategic advantage, the communication needs to be appropriate for a specific audience. For that audience we would do well to understand what makes them tick? What makes them roll over and purr as it were? Often the answer does not lie in selling details of the product, but communicating the issues and impacts that matter.
Multi-media communications are one route to convey social value of the brand or product. Lets review two examples that convey the social value of product:
The Lipton 00:00:46 video using an upbeat sound track combined with the flashing of the following simple messages
• Full of aroma and goodness, your small cup of tea can make a big difference
• Assuring sustainable tea-farming practices, environmental protection, dignified working and living conditions, free housing for workers, schools for their children and all this thanks to…
• Lipton Yellow Label’s Partnership with the Rainforest Alliance (an Independent Organization)
So the viewer gets 2 big messages:
• Your small cup can make a big difference
• Thanks to Rainforest Alliance Certified Lipton Yellow Label Tea
In this video the key objective would appear to be selling what the Rainforest Alliance Certification means – it links their commercial arrangements with tea consumers to huge impacts on the real growers and producers of the tea. So, this video is NOT about the tea but about the multiplier benefits that consuming their brand of tea brings to pickers.
Arriving at these simple messages would take very careful stakeholder and audience analyses to identify the “hot bottons” of their target groups and ensure each one is hit in the process of the communication.
The Unilever Molto One Rinse fabric conditioner 00:02:16 video has a number of key messages
• Comfort One Rinse fabric conditioner is making life a lot easier in Thailand, Vietnam & Indonesia
• By adding Comfort One Rinse to rinse water it means you only have to rinse your clothes in one bucket of water instead of the normal three. Savings of time and effort and water are substantial: a housewife can save over 14,000 litres of water, or up to 140 hours’ worth of time, and of course a lot of effort in the process.
• but, if you dig really deep into how people are actually using it, we found that people hadn’t really reduced the number of rinses to one, because it is difficult to get people to change their habit.
• So instead we need to actually show it in use so that they are convinced: ‘Seeing is Believing’. An example of this is a massive event that we undertook in Vietnamese football stadiums, getting thousands of people actually using the product and demonstrating that it really works. We use footage from that broadcast, to access 30million people in Vietnam.
• In seeing and believing demonstrations, we have our brand ambassador Rina Gunawan on TV. She educates the consumer.
• We invite consumers to join ‘the national one rinse movement’
• The water saving heroes project has been successful in Asia because it actually touches up to 95,000 women and they are educated about the importance of water saving, and putting new ideas into practice.
• Research shows that we are making good progress and people are reducing the amount of water used in their wash.
• By the end of 2011, over half the market in Vietnam and nearly a third of the market in Indonesia had converted to using the one rinse form of fabric conditioner.
In this second video, with more complicated messaging, the same attempt is made to focus on the issue – in this case water conservation – rather than the product. The water conservation is just the other side of the coin to an appropriate product for the context. The key message seems to be that the product makes a winner out of water conservation, the environment, the housewife, the country as a whole. It seems to position the brand as very sophisticated in its efforts towards sustainability and responsibility – painting the figure of a company that is only out to do good. Again it would appear that “hot bottons” of consumers and those in authority in those countries were being touched throughout the video.
Our conclusion therefore should be that to gain strategic advantage, it would be relative to a specific audience. For that audience we would do well to understand what makes them tick, what makes them roll over and purr as it were. We must understand what buttons to push to get each segment of our audience thinking of us/our social impact efforts not only in sympathetic terms but also with admiration. We need to acquire the ability to analyze our stakeholders and audiences and craft suitable messages delivered through the right media and/or platforms.
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