Millennials’ Advice to Brands: Take Authentic Stances on Social Issues

Reckoning with the early days of the Trump administration was in the forefront of millennial panelists’ minds as they discussed the importance of brands doing social good. The millennials were given a platform when W2O Group hosted Firing Up Emerging Leaders (FUEL), Feb. 28 in New York City during Social Media Week.

“If brands don’t…figure out what they stand for and communicate that to their consumers quickly,” they’ll suffer, said Molly Malloy, director of brand purpose planning at Futerra.

In addition: Brands should provide direction to a sometimes directionless demographic. “There are a lot of people wanting to make a difference in an authentic way, but…are very new to activism,” Malloy said. “How do we ensure…that we’re actually giving them guidance on how to create true change…to create true, tangible impact?”

But it’s important for brands to look (or rather, listen) before leaping, taking stock of the concerns of young people, said Liz Eddy, director of communications at Crisis Text Line. A lot of large companies failed with preemptive communication “because [consumers] didn’t feel like anyone had listened to them,” she said. Lest brands be fearful about stepping into divisive waters, Eddy also clarified that “there’s a huge difference between political issues and human issues. A lot of companies are afraid to take a stand politically, because they don’t want to alienate potentially half of the U.S.

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