Cone’s dedicated Research & Insights team continuously monitors new and developing trends to provide you with cutting-edge innovations, need-to-know best practices and compelling insights in the marketplace.
It’s no secret that women’s rights and female empowerment have taken center stage in today’s society. Just this past weekend hundreds of thousands of women and men, again took to the streets to across the US to make their voices heard on human rights, gender equality and parity, immigration reform, healthcare, reproductive rights, racial and LGBT equality and countless other issues. This coming at a time when movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp are galvanizing women globally to elicit real change—igniting a spark that’s led to the groundswell for women’s rights we’re experiencing today.
Every year 20 to 50 million tons of e-waste is generated worldwide, but only 12.5 percent of that ends up being repurposed in other products. To narrow this gap and raise awareness on the growing issue among consumers, companies are coming up with creative ways to close the loop. Now, one electronics brand is bringing the e-waste issue to life in a flashy, unexpected way while tackling a problem prevalent in its industry.
Over the past few months, women’s equality has gone viral. A conversation that began with the Women’s March has evolved into movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp, taking Twitter by storm and illustrating the magnitude of the issue. Feminism was even named the 2017 word of the year by Merriam-Webster. With the groundswell of support, there is no denying that now is the time to bring women’s equality to the forefront. Recently, one brand chose a moment in time that was already positioned to shine a spotlight on the issue – the Golden Globes and the #WhyIWearBlack campaign – to lend its support to an industry where women’s achievements are still overlooked.
Although it may seem counterintuitive for a company to discourage consumers from buying its products, we have seen this strategy work in brands’ favors in the past – Patagonia’s “Don’t Buy This Jacket” campaign resulted in an overwhelming positive response from consumers who took extra time to learn about the brand’s mission before making a purchase. Now, one company with a notoriously controversial product is attempting to pivot its business model to be more socially responsible – and marketing directly to consumers during this transition.
Over the years, Paul Polman has been one of the most vocal, determined and passionate advocates for Purpose in business. As he famously said at the launch of Unilever's Sustainable Living Plan: “We cannot choose between [economic] growth and sustainability – we must have both,” and his dedication ...
Last week, in response to President Trump’s decision to scale back Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, outdoor retail brand and sustainability leader Patagonia in turn announced it would be suing the President, a definitively bold move — even for the likes of the brand that brought us “Don’t Buy This Jacket” and “100% for the Planet.”
During 2017, we have seen many brands stepping into divisive conversations sharing different perspectives, spreading inclusivity and attempting to offset unkindness. Acknowledging the divisiveness that our nation faced this year, KIND has launched a storytelling campaign to counter the negativity and unite the country despite opposing opinions we all may have.
As we look back on the past 365 days, there’s no denying we live in tumultuous times. 2017 was rife with political and social divide, unrelenting extreme weather and disasters, unconscionable violence and global strife in many forms. To most, the outlook may be bleak. But rather than a negative, we believe this presents not only a major opportunity, but also a mandate for companies. As the year draws to a close, Cone Communications, evaluated a year’s worth of CSR trends to bring you the top 10 trends of 2017:
Patagonia is no stranger to bold Purpose marketing campaigns. From “Don’t Buy this Jacket” to “100% for the Planet,” this is a brand that is not afraid to take a risk to stand up for what it believes in. This week, we saw the company take its boldest stance yet, not only directly calling out the President of the United States for “an illegal move” but also announcing it will sue the administration. Yet, for those who track the company, this endeavor should not come as a huge surprise – in fact, the latest announcement is just the next phase of a multi-year consumer engagement campaign, calling on its informed, loyal consumer base for support.
Although it emerged as a top corporate sustainability priority for 2017, respecting and promoting human rights is no easy feat. It involves actively working across supply chains, from owned operations to first-tier suppliers and all the way down into the extended supply chain where raw materials are produced. Given the complexities around the supplier ecosystem, it is not surprising that many businesses struggle to effectively address, tackle and communicate around the issue.
Recently I attended the second annual Facebook Social Good Forum in New York, an invitation-only event of mostly executive-level personnel from nonprofits. The highlight of the day was Mark Zuckerberg’s opening speech. Fresh from a year spent traveling around the U.S. on a listening tour, he shared the main thread that ran through many of his conversations: the importance of community. If we all focus more on strengthening our communities, he said, that will help us build common ground and move forward together.
Since it launched in 2012, #GivingTuesday has grown to become a recognized day of giving back in the U.S. and around the world. Last year, charities raised $180 million —an increase of 44% over the previous year. Now, what started out as a day focused on nonprofits has garnered the attention of companies as well. This year we saw companies create fun and unique ways to invite consumers to purchase while giving back on one of the biggest giving days of the year. Here are a few campaigns that caught our eye:
Over the past few years, we’ve seen a trend of retailers choosing to forgo traditional marketing campaigns during one of the busiest and highest-grossing holiday shopping days (and weekends) of the year and Black Friday 2017 was no different.
During 2017 there has been increased focus on the Sustainable Development Goals and how companies can lead the charge. Many companies are working to improve their supply chains, but rarely share the progress with consumers at the product level. Recently, one company was able to create a supply chain innovation and design a product that shares the initiative with consumers in an easy, accessible way.
Each year consumers spend $218 billion on food that ends up going to waste. And, about $277 million of that waste will happen during Thanksgiving — when Americans begin to plan, purchase and prepare lavish meals which usually result in leftovers that ultimately end up in the trash. Now, two organizations have partnered to create an easy-to-use innovation that curbs food waste while making holiday cooking a little bit easier.
November marks the start of the hairiest month of the year: Movember. During this annual event hosted by the Movember Foundation, men across the world grow out their ‘staches to raise awareness of men's health issues, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men's suicide. This no-shave-November, one company is helping change the face of men’s health by changing their own.
You can’t talk about Halloween without mentioning all the sugary sweets and indulgent, calorie-rich treats that come with it. Today, however, more and more consumers realize it’s not just cavities or a growing waistline to consider when eating chocolate and candy. Retail-driven holidays like Halloween are a great time to think about the products we purchase – and the impact they make; not just in our own lives, but to the environment and the people who produce them.
As consumers spend more time on their phones, many organizations have begun brainstorming ways to engage them to do good on these compact, yet powerful machines. UNICEF tapped into the “always connected” stigma and created the wildly successful Tap Project app, which garnered over 2.6 million users and raised $1.6 million for kids in need of safe drinking water. More recently, one brand has come up with an even simpler ask in order to harness the power of smartphones and conscious consumers to support a cause.
“Science is only the best thing ever,” said Maya Kopfer, an 11-year-old panelist at an event in Boston hosted by The Atlantic and Dell called, “Cracking the Code: The Next Generation of Women in STEM.” While most of the audience probably agreed with Maya’s sentiment, unfortunately, the rest of society may have different feelings. While women are making dramatic advancements in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields, there’s still a long way to go.
I had the pleasure of speaking at this year’s conference to share how I use data analytics on a daily basis to improve my clients’ PR results, and ultimately, demonstrate value. Below are a few ways to integrate analytics throughout a campaign lifecycle:
What started with a march in 1987 has continued to grow in momentum as individuals ban together to celebrate coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) – or as an ally. National Coming Out Day (Oct. 11), created by the Human Rights Campaign, works to promote a safe world for LGBTQ individuals to live truthfully and openly. Now, one brand is harnessing its global platform and network of influencers to spread that message of openness and acceptance far and wide.
This week, Cone headed to the MGM National Harbor in Maryland to participate in this year's COMMIT!Forum – a two day conference focused onthe role of the corporate responsibility practitioner as companies aim to make their voices heard. The theme of the conference was "Brands Taking Stands" – certainly apropos given today's business and political environment. As the conference wraps, we're leaving with a renewed energy and commitment to the field but also a few important takeaways.
Yesterday was International Day of the Girl, a day the United Nations declared a holiday five years ago to “highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.”
It’s been over three weeks since Hurricane Maria made landfall, leaving a path of destruction in its wake. As the tenth-most intense Atlantic hurricane on record, the storm devastated Puerto Rico, completely destroying the island's power grid and leaving all 3.4 million residents without electricity. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz estimates that some areas will remain without power for four to six months. As with many natural disasters, relief efforts are concentrated on the first few weeks after the disaster, but one company has prepped a long-term relief plan to ensure the victims of Hurricane Maria are not left abandoned in the weeks – and months – to come.
Last week, more than 21,000 marketing, sales and communications professionals from around the world gathered at Hubspot’s INBOUND 2017 conference in Boston to learn, network and be inspired. And inspired we were.
At a time when most marketers are turning to digital in increasing numbers, creating fun and interactive ads to engage consumers and drive sales, one company chose to go back to basics. Recently, one outdoor brand took to an age-old marketing channel with a disruptive approach – garnering attention while driving behavior change.
September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, an opportunity for society to recognize the families affected by childhood cancer and the researchers, doctors, hospitals working fervently to treat them. But, more importantly, September is an opportunity for companies to take a stand and potentially save lives by supporting research into better cures and treatments.
Stunts have long been in marketers’ playbooks as a way to grab consumers’ attention and highlight a specific product or service. Recently however, we’ve seen an influx of cause-related stunts– from 2 Chainz’s pink Trap House to KIND’s giant pile of sugar in downtown New York City. This week, New Yorkers witnessed a stunt, which took advantage of the large city stage and a particular moment in time, bringing an underrepresented issue to light and sparking conversation with a broad audience.
Gen Z has gotten a bad rap. Yes – their faces may be glued to their smartphones, but don’t mistake that for a disinterest in what’s happening in the world around them. This generation is a force to be reckoned with – using their digital devices to spread social and environmental messages far and wide. But they’re not going it alone – they expect companies to be their partners in change. Companies: it’s time to enlist Gen Z to share your CSR message.
By now, most of the 20.4 million students attending American colleges and universities this fall have returned to school. For many, going to class and socializing with friends are not the only things on their mind; many are wondering how they are going to pay for their education.