IN a time of social and political polarization, spurred by both a health and social pandemic, Brand Activism will be essential for the success of any company thinking about Reshoring during 2020 and forward. Brand Activism is a strategic marketing practice developed by Christian Sakar and Philip Kotler. Essentially, Brand Activism allows the company to be active in their branding to show their awareness for its stakeholders (both customers and employees).
When thinking about Reshoring, Brand Activism should be pillared in the company’s strategic thinking of where to Reshore. Companies should consider, what are the values that the future stakeholders (customers) are expecting from us (the company) as both a provider of goods and services, but also as corporate citizens. Each geographical location will hold different community values that will separate them from other places across the U.S.
Diving deeper and considering the overlapping of Brand Activism and Corporate Social Responsibility, a company’s consideration of the values their future employees will care for and want to be embodied by the company they are working for would bode well for the company’s social presence. The year 2020 is showing us how important it is for the values of the company to be aligned with their employees, not only through mission statements but real institutional practices.
Being proactive in Brand Activism may go far in preventing social and political mistakes experienced by companies. We have seen the miss-steps of companies like Pepsi, as they have tried to make active gains during a form of social unrest. However, their low aptitude for the climate was shown. 2020, is showing us how companies that already have institutionalized diversity and inclusion practices can quickly and aptly respond to polarized social environments.
A good example of this of progressive Brand Activism was practiced by Airbnb. Taking a stance against Trump’s closure of the U.S. borders to refugee’s during the Superbowl, placed them in a different light than other companies slower to develop their social and political stance. Brand Activism is a beneficial practice for both manufacturing and companies in the process of reshoring.
Gabriel Evans is a Student Researcher at the Reshoring Institute and is currently pursuing a Masters in Sociology and Criminology from the University of Arkansas. Gabriel holds a BA degree in Sociology and Anthropology from Swarthmore College and an AA in Behavioral studies from the College of the Redwoods.