The Hazards of Topical Relevancy: Leaning into Current Events or Not?

Kenny Stapleton

Kenny Stapleton About The Author

September 17, 2021 at 9:22 AM

The Hazards of Topical Relevancy: Leaning into Current Events or Not?

Many businesses maintain neutrality towards making social statements but taking a stance on current events might help. Depending on the company and the issue, taking a stance can be highly beneficial for your brand — often increasing sales and employee productivity while improving customer loyalty. 

It's a better time than ever for companies to weigh in on events since 70% of consumers want brands to take a stand on social and political issues, up from 66% in 2017, and nearly half of consumers (47%) want brands to do so through social media. As that trend continues to grow over time making your opinion known will help maintain a lasting connection with your customers.  

Incorporating current events is a drastic shift from how business was conducted previously, but it can be hugely beneficial. Here, we’ll go over ways that it can help, as well as tips for implementing this strategy. 

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The Benefits of Addressing Current Events  

Attracts More Loyal Customers  

When it comes down to it, more consumers, and younger audiences especially, prefer purchasing from companies that take social stances and make a positive difference in the world.  When customers feel like they’re making a positive difference by purchasing from your company, they’re more likely to make repeat purchases. 

Screen Shot 2021-09-16 at 9.17.25 AMFor 72% of Americans, it is important to buy from companies that reflect their values. Furthermore, 76% of Americans feel better about supporting companies that are addressing social and environmental issues. And 86% of consumers are more likely to purchase from purpose-driven companies. Taking a stance will improve customers impression of you after their purchase as they consider the positive impact made by their purchase and increasing their loyalty in the process. 

You can successfully achieve this consumer connection through cause marketing, a marketing method referring to the partnership between a non-profit and for-profit organization to increase sales while helping a good cause. Take, for instance, a fitness company partnering with a Health & Wellness cause or a restaurant partnering with Hunger & Homelessness. 

Increases Employee Engagement  

Aside from the benefit of consumer interest in your brand, you'll also notice more interest and commitment from employees. When corporations back the same causes their employees do, the employees develop a better impression of their employer. That in turn improves engagement and productivity within the company because workers will feel better about their contribution.  

To back this statement, 87% of employees want businesses to take a public position on societal issues relevant to their business, and 60% of employees reported improved engagement among peers after witnessing employer involvement in societal issues. 

Frame your messaging or PR based on employee impressions. You want to share their ideas, but it also presents the authentic feelings throughout all levels of your organization. When it comes to inspiring passion and productivity among employees, your goals and values need to align with theirs. Otherwise, it can backfire on you. Sincerity is a crucial element! 

Exercise Caution When Taking a Stance    

While taking a stance on current events and social issues can be quite beneficial for your brand and business, there is still a line that you never want to cross. Carefully pick which topics you will speak up about — as there are risks involved no matter your opinion on a given issue.  

Screen Shot 2021-09-16 at 9.17.19 AMResearching how your customers and employees feel is vital to the success of your outreach. Your public position must align with their values to minimize any potential risk or backlash. When it comes to cause marketing and taking a stance on an issue, your focus must have your customers and employees in mind — otherwise, you risk losing them both in the process.  

Showing your support for an issue can take many forms, such as sponsoring a charitable event, using a designated ad campaign, or building it into your core values. Either way, the critical takeaway from here is to be cautious about what issue you address and your stance on it. Above all else, be proactive in making a positive difference in your community.  

Consult with a Media Partner 

Taking a stance on current events and social issues can prove challenging, especially when consumers prioritize brands by their alignments in values and opinions. Working closely with a media partner will help you learn more about your audience and shape a message crafted directly towards them. They will allow your brand to fully benefit from helping others while steering clear of stances that might prove more hazardous than helpful.  

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