Brands offered framework for tackling societal issues

people_crowds_shoppers2Brands are coming under increasing pressure to show their stance on issues like the cost-of-living crisis and inflation, with three-quarters (76%) of Brits believing brands should be far more transparent in their social impact activity.

So says the latest Brands in Motion global report, developed by Hopscotch’s parent company WE Communications, which quizzed over 2,000 UK consumers to uncovers key insights into attitudes towards corporate reputation.

As pressures push in from all angles – economic uncertainty, political turmoil, social justice issues and environmental disasters – consumers are urgently looking to companies to address larger societal issues.

Yet, despite this criticism, the vast majority (82%) of UK consumers do believe that a brand’s reputation can be improved, with even more (87%) insisting that being transparent on their progress towards commitments to customers and employees is a way for brands to gain trust.

Meanwhile, nearly eight in ten (79%) identify transparent data that outlines a company’s actions and results as one of the most authentic ways for brands to communicate social impact characteristics and build positive reputation.

To help businesses navigate mounting external pressures and increased consumer demands, Hopscotch has launched The Path to Impact framework.

The bespoke model identifies the five phases of social impact – diagnose, define, act, prove and share – to provide brands with a roadmap to defining and adopting an organisation’s social impact strategy, finding a balance between what is best suited for that business’ corporate reputation and society at large.

The framework is also designed help ensure actions align to a company’s purpose and tackles the issues that matter most to key stakeholders and audiences.

The five phases are:

Pick the right issues: Consumers are looking for authenticity and help tackling issues they are feeling most acutely in their daily lives. You know your expertise and values – making it personal can avoid accusations of purpose washing.

Be ambitious and practical: It all starts with developing your strategy – find ways to balance long-term commitments with short-term actions that will allow you to demonstrate impact quickly and build a track record.

Empower your users: Whether it is helping young people understand their own skills to build their sense of agency or investing in whole communities and giving them the tools to make change happen locally, social impact needs to be about doing with, not doing to.

Build evaluation in from the start: If you’re serious about wanting to have real impact, you have to build in ways to check that you’re on track from the start. That’s how you learn what works and adjust what isn’t. It also builds a story for you to tell to others.

Embed your social impact work across your organisation: It can’t be an add on or an afterthought if you’re looking to have significant impact. Find ways for people in your team to get involved, to own and champion the work. The more people that feel a sense of ownership over the work, the more long-lasting it will be.

Hopscotch managing director Marcus Hernon said: “Organisations are under increasing pressure to show authenticity, transparency and commitment to address issues that matter to society. Our Path to Impact approach provides a fully integrated offer that puts us at the intersection of social need and our clients’ business objectives.

“With climate change and education opportunities being in the top five issues that most concern consumers, we are well placed to help steer organisations on their impact journey.”

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