There is so much happening in the world right now. A pandemic. A historically polarizing and contentious election. A rise in social movements.
It's hard to know what to say to consumers, how to reach them and if they're even listening.
A solution posed by Debbie Millman, named "one of the most influential designers working today" by Graphic Design USA, advocates marketers should engage in conversations consumers want to be having while giving them a space to have those conversations.
Thanks to the internet and the use of social media, audiences now respond to events online rather than just receiving messages. In a 2019 TED Talk, Millman said this became especially apparent in 2011 during the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street.
"In its wake, the discipline of branding has transformed more in the last 10 years than it has in the last 10,000," Millman said. "And for the first time in modern history, the most popular, influential brands are not brands being pushed down by the corporation. They are brands being pushed up by the people, for the people, for the sole purpose of changing the world and making it a better place."
One company that has been leading conversations in 2020 is Ben & Jerry's. Not only is the ice cream brand's social media presence and blog socially and politically aware, the company launched a podcast in partnership with Vox Media called “Who We Are: A Chronicle Of Racism In America."
Its website stated: "In the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many others, America faces a racial reckoning — one that requires an honest look at the American history that has allowed white supremacy to thrive for the last 400 years."
And that's in line with Millman's message. She reinforced that the greatest innovations today aren't just a different flavor of our favorite snack.
"Our greatest innovations are the creation of brands that can make a difference in our lives and reflect the kind of world that we want to live in."