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Leveraging Brands for Good

Consumers are increasingly looking to brands, including pop stars, to drive effective social change when governments can’t or won’t. It’s by no means a stupid idea. Multi-national corporations reach across borders, just like consumer trends and social media do; nation states, not so much.

Smart brands are embracing a new, mature phase of leveraging their influence in the world at large, with a significant chance to raise brand profile while actually making the world a better place. In some cases, like these chocolate brands, it’s as simple as acting responsibly in terms of where you source your product, who makes it, and what it contains.

For some brands, though, there’s a wider scope of action. Several top banks are filing submissions to the Hong Kong Court of Appeal, in support of a British lesbian’s legal challenge to being denied a dependent visa. The banks say the case impinges on Hong Kong’s competitiveness and ability to hire global talent, but it’s a clear sign that they wish to be seen, publicly, on the side of diversity.

While private money might not always get social action right, and some corporations are accused of disguising cost-cutting measures or opportunistic sales efforts as “good works,” there’s no question a brand worth its salt these days not only can change society, it must, in order to stay ahead of—or even in—the game. This goes beyond corporate social responsibility; consumers are demanding real social action. How will you leverage your brand to foster social change and take your place in the brand landscape of the future?

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