Bolder Thinking Blog

Brands want consumers to vote, spend and travel

October 6th, 2020 | Jeannette Ornelas

Gamechangers  

Consumers think companies have a responsibility to invest in their local communities. Supporting small or local businesses has become a concentrated effort to preserve the livelihood and resources of communities under threat of the pandemic’s economic ramifications. This has shifted consumer demands and expectations from companies that have the power and resources to support the communities they profit from.  

40% of US consumers agree that brands/companies have a responsibility to give back to local communities, according to Mintel research on attitudes toward brand ethics.  

Brands taking action

Chime is recognizing people changing their communities for the better, with a new initiative called Chime in for Changemakers that aims to recognize and reward people going above and beyond in their local communities with $10,000. 

Chime display ad; Source: Comperemedia Omni

Credit Karma is empowering members to vote. Over the course of two weeks (Sept 11-24), the fintech sent over 10 million emails encouraging members to register to vote.  

Source: Comperemedia Omni

Sociopolitical and antiracist messaging can generate criticism from all angles. Uber pointedly addressed voter registration and racial injustice, and is working to follow through on concrete action that demonstrates commitment to its words. In August, the ride-sharing company urged those who tolerate racism to delete the app.

Verizon wants to provide digital skills training to 10 million kids by 2030. The telecom first introduced Citizen Verizon in July, reinforcing its deep-rooted commitment to address pressing societal issues through action and accountability. In September, Verizon spent more than $5 million on video ads promoting the initiative. 

Made for ‘this’ season  

Companies are trying to strike a balance between a return to normalcy and an ongoing need for flexibility. 

Fall travel 

Travel brands are trying to coax back customers wary of flying with safer and more convenient travel options, as consumer comfort level toward travel is on the rise. While one in four adults are comfortable taking a flight, just over half of US adults remain worried about the risk of being exposed to the coronavirus, according to Mintel’s Global COVID-19 tracker. 

United and JetBlue are offering COVID-19 testing options to help travelers meet their destinations’ entry requirements, safely and conveniently. 

United customers traveling from SFO to Hawaii can take a rapid test at the airport.
Vault Health and JetBlue teamed up to offer travelers an FDA-authorized, at-home test.

Marriott Bonvoy capitalized on rising comfort levels with increased Facebook spend. Marriott Bonvoy’s Facebook ad spend increased nearly 990% between July and August. At $2.2 million, it’s Q3 Facebook ad spend is greater than its Q1-Q2 total ad spend.                             

Fall sports 

Despite an uncertain football season, the NFL and college football returned—and of course, advertisers jumped on board. 

In a new campaign, Aflac tapped into an unwavering football fandom by bringing back the University of Alabama’s coach Nick Saban for the second year in a row.

Saban recently made the news when he stood with his Black players and led a Black Lives Matter march across campus that included hundreds of the university’s athletes, coaches and staff. 

Major issuers used the return of the NFL in September to promote credit card services. To match football’s broad demographic audience, credit card issuers relied on service- and feature-oriented marketing from the overall brands’ perspectives. 

American Express showcased its “Shop Small” initiative during Monday Night Football on ESPN.

What we think 

Brands need to rebuild customer trust, provide social proof, and foster community.

The idea of social responsibility is intertwined with terms like “brand ethics” and “corporate responsibility,” and because consumers’ own ideas of what is “best” for society can vary greatly, so does the level of responsibility and societal impact consumers attribute to corporations.

Big brands face a paradox wherein consumers recognize their power to bring about change, but also as obstacles to achieving transformative social goals. As such, companies are following through on concrete action that demonstrates a commitment to their words.

Jeannette Ornelas

Jeannette Ornelas

Jeannette Ornelas is a Senior Digital Marketing Analyst for Comperemedia. Jeannette is responsible for producing syndicated and custom reports and providing marketing insights across a range of industry sectors and channels.