Brand Social Issue Trends

A brand trend that’s resonated with consumers over the past few years has been exploiting the brand’s inner workings, all in the name of transparency. Most believe that 2015 will continue to ride the transparency wave, but Trend Watching believes brands will do more than simply allowing consumers a sneak peek behind the company curtain—brands will take a stand in support of social issues that align with their core beliefs.

As brand journalism continues to blur the line between what’s considered news and what’s considered advertising, brands that tactfully communicate their point of view to their engaged fan base and build benevolent relationships becomes an imperative. Trend Watching continues to list a few stats that suggest Millennials support brands that are active in speaking out:

  • 73% of Millennials believe that businesses should share a point of view about issues;
  • 73% also think businesses should influence others to get involved in an issue.

A most recent example is General Mills flagship brand, Cheerios, taking a stand on racial equality by featuring a mixed-race family in their advertisements.

By executing a real life demonstration of brand authenticity, Cheerios took a stand to portray the new American family. Camille Gibson, vice president of marketing at Cheerios, said in a Yahoo interview that it’s the first time an ad campaign focuses on family moments, with General Mills Inc. casting the actors to reflect he changing U.S. population.

Amidst negative backlash from social communities, Cheerios stood tall and continued to run the ad nationally.

Continue to watch brands maintain a level of integrity and stand tall with social issues in 2015, which will prove to be powerful with their fan bases.

With contributions from Kyle Pusateri


Brad is an expert in private label and challenger brand food marketing for Barkley, an integrated marketing and advertising agency. He specializes in working with manufacturing-driven food companies that have aspirations to develop a consumer insight-led strategies to help drive innovation and growth.

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