Mindful marketing and selfless sales…what we’ve been reading this week at Brand Genetics

Over the past decade, the definition of modern business has shifted from profit-making machines, to organisations that also have a responsibility towards people and the planet. From the emergence of social enterprise business models to the widespread adoption of sustainability reports and a greater emphasis on wellbeing in the workplace, businesses recognise they must play their part to be more socially conscious.

There are countless examples that prove social responsibility and financial profitability can go hand in hand. It raises the question; do these actions come from a genuine will to do good, or are they are purely part of a strategy to keep up with new players and to stay relevant — particularly in this era of ‘cancel’ culture?

This week we wanted to highlight a few brands that have taken a genuine step — big or small — to consider people’s emotions. The brands that have caught our eye this month have taken actions that may not even be in their best interest, or add any pennies to their pockets…

Tinder gets Kinder

Popular dating app, Tinder, recently alerted people about the potential dangers of meeting new matches amidst the spreading of Coronavirus by showing users a pop-up message encouraging them to prioritise their health, as this ‘is more important than dating’. They also provided user’s with practical links and tips on how to stay safe.

Many took to social media to thank the team at Tinder, expressing their genuine surprise that a brand has invested so heavily in the wellbeing of their consumers, at the expense of their own service.

Opting Out = Buying In

With Mother’s Day fast approaching, we couldn’t help but shine a light on the next-gen florist, Bloom & Wild. In the spirit of sensitivity and understanding towards those that have lost their mothers, customers were given the option to ‘opt out’ of receiving Mother’s Day promotions and emails.

This simple gesture led to an unexpected overflow of positive responses from grateful shoppers and bloggers alike, voicing their appreciation for not having to relive the grief and dread of losing their loved ones through the flurry of marketing emails reminding them to celebrate this difficult time. Bloom & Wild piloted this ‘opt out’ service in 2019 but in 2020 they are leading a brigade of businesses, from Pip & Nut to Wagamamas, in their ‘Thoughtful Marketing’ movement.

Morrisons Makes It (Accessible)

In 2019, supermarket chain Morrisons, announced Quieter Hour, a nationwide initiative that takes place every Saturday from 9–10am, dedicated to autistic customers who often feel anxious about shopping in busy and ‘overwhelming’ environments.

By dimming glaring in-store lighting, cutting background music and even removing the beeps and bops from self-check-out machines, Morrisons recognised and embraced the unique needs of autistic consumers to create a more welcoming atmosphere.

The company took this ‘act of kindness’ even further by reaching out to autistic blogger ‘IndieAndy’ after his Quieter Hour experience to ask him for his feedback and potential improvements.

The Human Experience (HX) Learning

At Brand Genetics, we are strong advocates of simply ‘being human’ and firmly believe that prioritising kindness reflects the greater need and appreciation for reaching people on a human level first and building meaningful, long-lasting relationships.

While it may not at first appear to make ‘business sense’, our research suggests kinder brands can have positive impact on the planet, people and profit.

There is a positive feedback loop between kindness and happiness — kindness makes you happy and as positive innovators we know that happiness is good for business. Therefore, prioritising kindness not only has a positive social impact but a necessary business impact too.

In our bid to understand the role of social purpose out in the world, we have noticed that there are 3 distinct brand groupings; the leading edge driving the agenda (‘the pioneers’ — making longer term commitments at both a brand and business level), those using social responsibility as a constructed reality (‘the woke washers’ — using purpose as a marketing ploy), and value-driven brands using empathy and action to quietly make the world a better place (‘the kinder brands’).

We believe the Kinder Brands, those genuinely invested in social purpose, present a more viable approach for big brands to adopt. Utilising empathy, purpose and positive innovation, Kinder Brands demonstrate a real concern for positive human futures — regardless of press coverage and noise out in the world.

Neha Ahmed is a consultant at Brand Genetics, an insight and innovation agency specialising in human-centred insight and innovation. With a background in Business & Management, she has worked at IBM in global resource management and is fascinated by culture, human psychology and social enterprise.

Human-Centered Insight, Innovation and Trends from Brand Genetics www.brandgenetics.com