At the risk of stating the obvious – things have really changed in the last decade. And this will really blow your mind – they’ve also really changed in the last two.
A younger version of myself remembers MTV’s “Rock the Vote,” and whatever P Diddy was calling himself then’s “Vote or Die” campaign.
What’s interesting is how many BRANDS are now getting involved in the 2020 election.
Perhaps the boldest statement is Patagonia’s “Vote the Assholes Out”. But other brands like Foot Locker are converting stores into voter registration locations, Under Armour has created a voting microsite, “Run to Vote” where Americans can request an absentee ballot, and allegedly Snapchat is even giving people a mechanism to cast their vote from within its app.
Why It’s Hot
We’ve been talking about the importance of brand values for years, but now it seems it’s no longer an aspiration, but perhaps a necessity. What’s really interesting to see all these brands so active in (arguably) the most politicized election in US history. It’s one thing to support social issues and causes, but would seem quite another to be helping citizens register and vote. In fact, in a survey published this past June, only around 1/3 of consumers thought companies should share their position on voting/voter registration. So, it will be really interesting to see how this swell of activism will continue to apply to other, future issues.
Patagonia is spearheading a movement to fight back against climate crisis. The company has opened a cafe in London’s Broadway Market, to connect people who want to take climate action but aren’t equipped with the tools.
Within this space for grassroots environmental activism, like-minded individuals have the option to receive activist training, develop their campaigning skills and access a resource library to learn how they can make a difference in the face of the climate crisis.100% of coffee profits are donated to local UK environmental NGOs and charities.
The cafe is a physical outpost of the company’s Action Works initiative, an online platform that allows users to sign petitions, discover local events, donate money to nearby causes and offer their time and skills for volunteering. The platform initially launched in North America and attracted half a million people in supporting environmental issues; the launch has now become Europe-wide.
Why it’s hot: This is a great way for the brand to engage with and add value to urban spaces, in a way that is authentic and true to Patagonia’s 45-year history of activism.
In the words of Ryan Gellert, EMEA General Manager for Patagonia:
“the urgency of the climate crisis means it’s everyone’s responsibility to act now. Businesses have the money, power and voice to play a major role in saving our home planet – as well as in ensuring that they are not making our environmental problems worse.”
As soon as you enter the café there is a range of 24 ‘Action Postcards’ that you can choose from that advise you on how to get involved in climate activism. You can take these cards with you and the different actions you can get involved in depend on the time you can devote to them. These range from advising you on how to ‘Become Carbon Literate’, to ‘Save the Right Whale from extinction’. There are also eight skill cards which offer opportunities to activists to provide skilled volunteering to a range of NGOs in areas such as photography and accountancy.
Books written by leaders and experts are around the café to help you get into the mind of an activist and inspire you to take action. Outside of the walls of the café there are also environmental groups who are there to help you engage in climate action. Sign up to workshops, discussions and free activities to educate yourself on how to tackle the climate crisis. Or simply go along to have a chat about the environment with people who are care about the planet.
The real thing I want to discuss