Cause-driven content has been around for decades now. In fact, the EVCOM Clarion Awards have been celebrating it since they were founded in the 90s and are still the only awards recognising both cause-driven live and film as part of a wider comms strategy. But in recent years the value placed on cause-driven comms has increased exponentially. Why?
As Louis Paltnoi, Creative Director of Inspired Films, says, “Cause-driven content used to be seen as the poor relation of brand film, however this has changed massively over the past few years. In a post-Covid world, cause-driven films are now often at the forefront of many global brands’ marketing and communications campaigns.”
The past few years, as we all know, have been riddled with crisis. The Covid-19 pandemic touched everyone globally and highlighted issues of health, class, housing and access to support (both medical and pastoral). It showed us the best and worst of humanity, from people taking shopping to elderly neighbours they had never spoken to before to people raiding the shops, trolleys piled high as others went without. Thousands clapped for our NHS as the Government reduced funding for it. Homeless people were housed and then returned to the streets when hotels were able to take bookings again. Rules and fines were applied to us, the people, that members of the Government didn’t seem to be phased by.
Perhaps the only silver lining was the environment. Mountains that had been obscured by pollution were visible again, as planes were grounded. But that hasn’t lasted.
Brexit has only made the situation worse. We are experiencing skills shortages in many industries, as well as food shortages across the country. The cost of living crisis has most people counting their pennies and keeping their heating off, whilst energy companies are raking in the big bucks. In fact studies show that the cost of living crisis is the biggest concern for Gen Z and Millennials, with climate change coming in a close second.
The Black Lives Matter resurgence in 2020 and campaigns since, have shone a light on racism and police brutality and forced companies and industries to address their lack of diversity as a point of urgency.
Cause-driven content has always mattered, but now companies are acknowledging its importance. Studies have shown that 73% of Gen Z only buy from brands they believe in. About two-thirds (65%) of millennials say they have boycotted a brand that took the opposing stance on an issue, and 62% favour products that show off their political and social beliefs. If a brand is being perceived to be inauthentic when speaking out on these issues that can be a real issue too.
In the light of this, many companies are not only creating cause-driven content but shaping their strategies around it and using it to drive the image of their brand and the messaging they put out. From a business angle, having the right cause-driven content for their business is a smart financial choice. From a good-for-the-world angle, creating brilliant cause-driven content can raise awareness of key issues, raise funds for vital charities and change perspectives around the world. With so many people interacting with content across social media platforms, the reach is wider than ever.
This is what the EVCOM Clarion Awards were created to celebrate. Film and events that seek to make a difference, internally within companies and externally across the globe.