Apple: How brands, customers & society benefit when a company shows what it stands for

Simon Mainwaring / Brands / 8 years ago

This week Apple employees joined the ‘It Gets Better’ campaign in support of gay, lesbian and transgender rights. The campaign got started last year after college student Tyler Clementi jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge after his roommate used a Webcam to film and broadcast Clementi’s sexual encounter with another man.

In response to these tragic deaths, Dan Savage began the “It Gets Better Project,” a YouTube video collection of testimonials from celebrities, politicians, and regular people telling their own stories or offering support to those who are currently suffering in silence or being bullied.

It is a truly powerful phenomenon when a brand of makes a stand for what it believes in. This is even more true with Apple that has such a loyal fan base built on their deep understanding of its customers needs. It enables those customers to better understand who the brand is, what its core values are and to renew their support for the brands on the basis of the values they share.

Campaigns such as these are no doubt polarizing, and Apple runs the risk of perhaps losing some supporters. But those customers that share the same values will become far more deeply invested in a brand that shows it has courage behind its convictions by sharing its point of view with the marketplace.

As with most things Apple, this is a powerful demonstration in leadership. Yes, there is a distinction between the brand and the employees that appear in this video, but the support of the brand behind the campaigns message is undeniably powerful.

In the social business marketplace brands that hope to build loyal and growing communities do so most effectively when they demonstrate their core values and allow a community to build and engage around it. This approach humanizes the brand and automatically allows it to enter a conversation taking place across social media platforms that both the brand and its customer community care about.

Apple is not alone in its support of the Trevor Project. Other brands such as Google, Levi Strauss & Co., AT&T and Wells Fargo are also involved. Not to mention President Obama and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. Together they serve as a powerful demonstration of a We First attitude in which brands, employees and consumers partner to bring about positive changes to the thinking and behavior that shapes our world each day.

Sadly Clementi was only one of many teens who took their lives recently after being bullied for their sexual orientation. To lend your support to the Trevor Project, visit their website here and follow their progress on twitter @TrevorProject.

Do you believe its important for brands to stand up for social issues? Do you agree that it makes their supporters more loyal?


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  1. Avatar Hugh Weber says:

    Simon –

    I couldn’t agree more. Apple demonstrated that they are a company and brand built out of real values and a deep world perspective…not just another bland marketer. Not all will agree with what they’ve said, but they will clearly know where they stand. Bold move.

    – Hugh Weber, Storyline

    1. Thanks Hugh. I hope it inspires other brands to share their core values in
      ways that give courage and hope to others. the potential is enormous.
      Thanks, Hugh.

  2. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Great post Simon, and it seems that there’s been much discussion as of late when it comes to the sincerity of cause marketing. I feel as long as the brand is a true believer and supporter of a person or cause, then its valid. Which will ultimately create more advocates and supporters of a brand. If its a brand whose jumping on just for the sake of awareness, then most people will see through it and it will inevitably do more harm then good. I think a good example of this is the Susan G. Komen foundation and its association with the color pink and ribbon. Now that many brands have adopted the “Pink” item to demonstrate their support, I question its overall effectiveness. Has it in fact diluted a cause that was once very powerful?

    1. Hi Mike. Yes, I agree. Many brand efforts do come off as insincere because
      they wants the “good marketing” side of doing good alone. The powerful thing
      about the Apple example is how deeply their message is connected to the
      lives of the employees featured. It communicates deep authenticity and
      commitment. I think the pink and Komen example is true and the same occurs
      with the green space. the sad thing is even the really authentic commitments
      then get lost. Thanks for the great comment, Mike.