More brands will be taking a stand on social issues in 2020 in response to consumer expectations, according to a new trend report by Kantar. 

Nike for example, is continuing to take a stand for women in Asia by picking high jump record holder Cecilia Yeung as one of the stars of a new campaign encouraging women to break boundaries, challenge stereotypes and overcome prejudice.

But brands must not forget to weigh the risks as well as the rewards of taking up a social cause in today’s highly social and digital world, says Kantar’s 2020 Media Trends and Predictions.

In addition, for those operating in a dynamic and complex region such as Asia, advertisers and marketers need to truly understand the needs, values and sentiments of all their customers and potential buyers before they get the word out in a way that “feels authentic, not opportunistic”, said Pablo Gomez, Kantar’s chief digital officer for Asia Pacific.

“This means aligning channel mix and content, focusing on insights-led marketing decisions so that when done correctly, espousing a cause can benefit the brand, not lead it to be criticised,” he added.

WARC’s own Marketer’s Toolkit 2020 highlights a similar theme, quoting Kantar’s Graham Staplehurst: “Token attempts to align a brand with a worthy cause are no longer enough.”

The Toolkit, however, singles out environmental concerns as a particular area brands will have to address – something all too evident in the huge amounts of packaging waste generated by recent sales events like Singles Day and Black Friday/Cyber Monday.

Kantar also maintains that brands will be challenged to develop the skills, engagement models and measurement capabilities to meaningfully engage consumers in a crowded media landscape.

It’s a “digital dilemma” that will have to be tackled head on, the insights business believes, in order to meet consumer demands for relevant, personalised content, without breaching trust and privacy.

Marketers are certainly aware of the issue: two thirds of respondents in a global survey of marketers for WARC’s Marketer’s Toolkit strongly agreed that consumers “will take greater control of their data in 2020”.

And, the Toolkit continues, “there’s an opportunity to align a company’s approach to data protection and privacy with a broader brand purpose”.

Consider ways to educate consumers about data privacy, it advises. “It’s not necessarily about preaching; a behavioural science approach might prove more effective.”

Sourced from Kantar