Should your brand skate where the puck is going to be?

Background

The market or category in which you play tracks GDP growth due to structural or cyclical reasons. On the other hand, market failures and negative externalities are taking their toll on the planet, people and prosperity in general, as a result, social sensitivities are heightened, thus making the environment within which your brand or business franchise plays, volatile. It may well be that your brand is top of the pile in terms of relative performance, however externalities are still rampant. Regardless, you are high up in the food chain within your marketing organization or part of your job description requires you to recommend strategy or tactical changes to your marketing stack.

Question

Your brand or business Review is around the corner and you are “mulling over” whether you should take your brand into “shared value,” “social impact” or “purpose” markets. This seems to be where the puck is going, at least in your estimate. Information pieces also reinforce your thought processes. As an example, Stats SA’s 3rd Quarter, 2020 Labour Force Survey indicates that unemployment is (30.8%), +7.5%pts vs P/P and +1.7% versus Y/A and that 89% these unemployed persons are black, 6.8% coloured, 2.5% white and 1.6% Indian.

In addition to the above, poverty data suggests that 25% of households in South Africa are living below the extreme poverty line of R561 per month and that 55% live below the revised upper bound poverty line (UBPL) of R1227. The COVID-19 Vulnerability Index Technical Report indicates that people who are at risk or vulnerable include those; 1) who are poor or live in deprived conditions which impacts health and sanitation; 2) live in crowded areas which impacts on social distancing or; 3) live in multi-generational households.

Predicament

On the other hand, one of your senior marketing staff members has just completed his/her Masters and Digital Business tells you about the benefits of digital transformation and more specifically, about “platform businesses and brands. Both of these, shared value and platform brands look very compelling and seem to be where the puck is going to be. Should you take your brand or brands, where the action is going to be? If so, how do you allocate resources, time and talent core amongst signature marketing initiatives that account for a lion’s share of your current branded earnings and/or customer lifetime value and future sources of branded earnings and customer lifetime values? Within future sources stream, how do you allocate resources between shared value and digital transformation?

1. Statssa.gov.za. 2020. [online] Available at: <http://www.statssa.gov.za/publications/P0211/P02113rdQuarter2020.pdf> [Accessed 14 December 2020].

2. Businesstech.co.za, 2020. This Is How Much Money The Poorest Are Living On Each Month In South Africa. [online] Businesstech.co.za. Available at: <https://businesstech.co.za/news/finance/332553/this-is-how-much-money-the-poorest-are-living-on-each-month-in-south-africa/> [Accessed 14 December 2020].