(San Francisco) - It's only been 10 days since the horrific shooting that took 17 students' lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. However, the impact survivors and their peers across the nation are having on the national gun control conversation and the influence of the NRA gun lobby are unprecedented. Growing up in a post-Columbine, post-9/11 world with the internet and social media, this generation seems to be equipped with a savvy forthrightness and take no prisoners approach that's both shocking and 1000 percent refreshing.
With their honesty, anger, innocence, unfiltered passion, zero conflicts of interest, and crack public speaking skills, Parkland MSD students have shamed a sitting US Senator and the NRA's primary spokesperson live on CNN. #NEVERAGAIN dominates social media conversation across all platforms, and a March 24th #MarchForOurLives in Washington D.C. and other cities is already planned. Parkland MSD students' total media dominance has also caused 19 brands and counting to reconsider and/or end their business relationships with the NRA (all of this happening in real-time during the annual #CPAC2018 conservative convention, where the NRA's version of gun rights plays large).
Could this be a tipping point for gun control and the end of the NRA's undue influence on US politics, policy, and politicians of every stripe? Maybe.
Amal & George Clooney, Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Kratzenburg and Oprah have each donated $500K to the March for Our Lives Rally effort, in partnership with Everytown For Gun Safety. Global high fashion brand GUCCI has also donated $500K to Everytown, to "stand with March for Our Lives and the fearless students across the country who demand that their lives and safety become a priority." GUCCI also made it personal: "We have all been directly or indirectly impacted by these senseless tragedies.” Creative director Alessandro Michele added: “I am truly moved by the courage of these students. My love is with them and it will be next to them on March 24. I am standing with March for Our Lives and the strong young women and men across the United States who are fighting for their generation and those to come.”
TAKEAWAY: With this act of corporate social responsibility, GUCCI aligns itself with the brand ethos (i.e. brand authenticity, brand truth) of Everytown For Gun Safety and March for our Lives students, joining the effort to support the charge for significant cultural shift and gun control in America. Like Benetton's $1.1 million donation to a victims fund after a Bangladesh clothing factory's collapse, GUCCI stepped up with a heartfelt, personal statement reflecting their experience with "these senseless tragedies," backed up by serious dollars. GUCCI also creates brand name recognition for itself as a global, cultural agent of change - the unmistakable soft power power move - but most will agree that GUCCI's active participation is good for business, not to mention internal morale and organic, employee brand advocacy. Invaluable.
QUESTIONS: Not every brand has $500K to donate to a worthy cause or organization, but what is your business doing to support critical social and cultural initiatives in your local, regional and/or national spheres of influence? It's never a bad time to brainstorm how your mission, vision, and values align with relevant people and organizations doing good and making positive change happen on your block, in your city, and across the nation. Once choices have been made, some questions for all team members to consider:
How will public support of X, Y, or Z initiative resonate with your brand's current and future client/customer base?
How does your business authentically represent these brand actions and new relationships back to your customers across social media, digital, and in real life (i.e. the brick and mortar environment)?
How do results - tangible and intangible - strengthen and expand your brand mission, vision, values and ethos?
Work with BSPOKE to find out how corporate social responsibility initiatives enhance and expand your personal and business brand strategy.