Why it matters

The emotions that drive personal activism and action vary hugely from the expectations of any brand involvement in a cause. Brands which do not understand this difference open themselves up to criticism from consumers.


  • Consumers perceive brands to be stewards for specific activism topics, such as the environment and poverty alleviation.
  • People are deeply emotionally involved in these issues. Brands must become involved authentically and cautiously, as any engagement can prove to be volatile.
  • Brands should engage their core user base, as this group is most likely to have a stronger positive perception of its activism efforts.

Introduction: Despair and anger sparking renewed action

At the turn of the millennium, many social commentators were concerned about the lack of political interest shown by the public in the world around us. There was a sense that the world’s problems were far away, and that there was little that one person alone could do to make a change.