Conflict marketing is about using social and political issues to elevate a brand. Every brand has a cause at heart.
We live in a world where brands can win consumers and shift products by having opinions and supporting issues. Sometimes they take up controversial issues like Nike has done. It is a development of the long-established phenomonen of cause marketing. It can be controversial. And it can risky.
A cause at heart
The high street and supermarket shelves showcase many brands that speak honestly about social and political issues of the day. In the last two years, Jigsaw and Budweiser have released marketing campaigns in support of immigration in the UK and US. Authenticity and consistency are key. Consumers don’t like superficiality. Brands should choose causes that make sense to consumers, that are relevant to the brand and what it stands for.
Research by Edelman and Sprout Social finds that consumers expect brands to have a cause at heart. There are buyers who buy based on their beliefs. They will boycott a brand that does not share their views on social and political issues. Similarly, a brand that takes a stand is clearly searching for a particular type of customer. If the brand authentically and consistently supports the issues it says it does, then it won’t be risky to engage in conflict marketing.
Brands that do conflict marketing well, will win in business.
Taken from Cause Celebre, an article in Catalyst magazine, Q1 2019