In June 2018, The Business of Fashion (BoF) ran an article on “activist advertising,” the increasingly popular practice of supporting social and political causes as a marketing strategy. In recent years, BoF noted, a host of fashion and beauty brands have rallied around movements ranging from gender equality to animal rights, often expressing solidarity through much-publicized charitable donations. While these campaigns can prove rewarding, fusing advertising and activism is also risky. As BoF reported, “in the eye of the consumer, there is a fine line between supporting a movement and co-opting it,” and brands must take care to avoid the perception that they are merely capitalizing on social issues. To better understand this challenging but widespread strategy, we turned to Earned Media Value (EMV), Tribe Dynamics’ proprietary metric for social media engagement. Drawing from our findings, we developed a set of best practices that brands can abide by to steer clear of controversy and foster values-based connections with influencers.

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