Tips For Tackling Social Issues Using a Brand Purpose

According to a recent study, 69% of U.S. adults use at least one social media site. That’s a hefty portion of the population, making social media a powerful tool for marketing, sales, and advertising. It also makes it a powerful tool to advocate for social causes or bring attention to social issues. This can be tricky territory for a company profile, as brands often don’t want to offend or scare off consumers that may have different viewpoints. And this is a real risk. We’ve seen it often enough with calls to boycott Starbucks or boycott Nike that smaller companies may not be willing to exact that risk. However, with risk there is reward and today we’re going to dive into how exactly to approach integrating social issues into your social media marketing efforts.

Consumer Value Marketing
One point that we’ll keep coming back to today is the idea that the strongest connection you can make with an audience is over a shared value. When thinking about this in terms of your consumer, using social issues can be a way to build brand equity. By listening to your consumer, you can find out what causes they care about. This can be done through social listening, i.e., asking questions on your social media channels, hosting Q&As, creating focus groups, etc.

Once you know what your consumers are concerned about, ask yourself how you can emotionally connect with them. How can you align your brand with values that matter to your customer base? Once you’ve determined where to focus your attention, your consumers will follow along since they’re the ones that guided you on how to get there. By reaching your consumers where they already are, you’re making it one step easier for them to engage with your message and build a foundation of trust.

Company Value Marketing
The second method to issue-related marketing is one that is bolder and more aggressive. As previously mentioned, the strongest connection a company (or anyone) can make with their audience is over a shared value. Instead of asking your consumers for their input on what they value, companies can also decide for themselves what their values are and trust fans to meet them there.

The first step in this process is often to ask, “what do we, as a company, believe” and then go from there. This often looks like revisiting a mission statement or a company value list to see where internal beliefs reflect external issues. If your company is dedicated to accepting and embracing diversity in the workplace, then your company should speak out on issues related to diversity. But rather than arbitrarily speaking out, create campaigns and awareness around what types of changes you would like to see. Research bills or laws that are in development. Partner with organizations that also care about the same issues. By giving your audience action items they can take, it not only creates a bond over a shared value but also cultivates the chance for change.

Mitigating the Risk
In either of these approaches, brands run the risk of alienating consumers. It’s the name of the game and will often make higher-ups nervous. However, there are a couple ways that you can prep internally before speaking out to make sure that the roll out of these campaigns are successful and smooth.

  • No Response is a response.
    • Look, we all know what a troll looks like on social media. If community managers spent their days responding to every single person just looking to stir the pot, we’d never get any other work done. If you know that your platform is solid and the call to action is legitimate, there’s not always a need to respond. Letting your values speak for themselves allows you to continue to take the high road as opposed to responding to every unhappy Tweet.
  • Let your fans defend for you. 
    • In most cases, it’s not even necessary for you to defend yourself. If you are creating awareness around an issue that incites controversy, allow your audience that does stand with your core value to do the work for you. They’ll often times show up in better ways than you can.
  • If this, then this.
    • Plan ahead with your team. Create IFTTT statements from all those that might be needed (CEO, CFO, VP, etc.) ahead of time so that if a media outlet requests a comment you already have it ready to go. Set up internal communication plans for every possible situation. If there’s an overall positive reaction, go with Plan A. If there’s an overall negative reaction, go with Plan B. By thinking through all the possible outcomes before you launch, your team can rest easy knowing they’re ready to handle anything.


At the end of the day, getting involved with social issues on social media will not please everyone. However, a recent study shows that millennials are more receptive to cause marketing than previous generations and are more likely to buy items associated with a cause. They also expect companies to support the social issues and causes they care about and will reward them for doing so. And with millennials now eclipsing the size of the baby boomer generation and becoming the largest in America, they are not a demographic to ignore.

If you’re interested in assistance with social media strategy or management, contact Lauryn Gray to learn more about our services and schedule a consultation.

Why team building is critical (and really fun)

Do the words “team building” induce irritability and eye-rolls in your office? Are you imagining The Office’s Michael Scott screaming, “conference room – now!” while employees slowly trickle in for an over-the-top attempt at collectiveness? 

Obviously work is meant for, well, working, but an office needs to be more than that. Getting out of the office with your team and problem-solving in a more relaxed environment can be necessary for building better working relationships. In addition to increasing productivity, team building can also improve communication and creativity. 

Benefits of improving company culture through team building include: 

Increased productivity 
According to a HuffPost article, most organizations say there is more fear and anxiety than joy and optimism in the workplace. “While success and recognition generate positive attitudes and energy, failure and non-recognition deplete and exhaust people. Organizations’ must get fear and anxiety levels down, and replace those feelings with a sense of hope, the purposefulness of a united and supportive community, and a conviction that the future will be better.” 

Still not convinced? Benefits of team building can improve more than just company morale. Engaged employees are more likely to work diligently in their jobs, increasing productivity – research shows that engaged employees are 17% more productive than their peers. 

Boosted creativity
Personally, I believe a big part of my positive attitude and energy at work stems from my feelings of support and collectivity within our team. For example, our pickleball outing had our office laughing for weeks which fostered better energy and creativity. Our Guinness World Record attempt was an awesome opportunity to work together for a community event, which improved satisfaction in the workplace. Even something as simple as our last minute decision to dress as cows for Chick-fil-A’s free chicken day was a great way to foster happiness on a random weekday afternoon. 

Additional benefits include: 

Reduced absenteeism
Motivated employees have significantly lower rates of missed work relative to disengaged employees.

More collaboration
High employee morale usually correlates with greater feelings of teamwork and shared vision. Comfortability in a collaborative group goes along way and leads to better brainstorming, less fear of sharing new ideas and more. 

Improved communication
When employees are more comfortable, communication can be greatly improved. An organization’s culture has to reinforce the necessity of speaking out in order to solve problems while really listening to the opinions of others.

Looking for a collaborative workspace with a strong sense of company culture? Visit our careers page to learn more about our open opportunities. 


How Do You Hydrate? Dittoe PR Supports Lonely Whale’s Latest Campaign, Starting in Manhattan

When it comes to recruiting media to client events, Dittoe PR is no stranger. So when clients Lonely Whale and Vita Coco tasked us with getting top tier media out to Lonely Whale’s pop-up Museum of Plastic in Manhattan, New York, we were up for the challenge.

In September 2017, we organized a press conference for Lonely Whale’s Strawless in Seattle campaign, and we were thrilled to have the privilege of serving as the ocean health leader’s PR partner for their latest massive movement.

The campaign
The Museum of Plastic was the culmination of Lonely Whale and Point Break Foundation’s new Question How You Hydrate campaign, which empowers consumers to choose and champion sustainable alternatives to plastic water bottles. To combat the reality that a whopping 500 billion plastic water bottles are used around the world annually and by 2050, the ocean is expected to contain more plastic than fish (by weight), Lonely Whale launched three components within Question How You Hydrate:

  1. The campaign PSA featuring Zooey Deschanel, Aquaman Jason Momoa, Lonely Whale Co-Founder Adrian Grenier and more, committing to stop using plastic water bottles and challenging others to do the same; and
  2. The social media challenge #HydrateLike that asks individuals, organizations and brands to pledge their commitment to remove single-use plastic water bottles from their daily routines and replace them with sustainable alternatives, such as reusable bottles, household cups or aluminum cans; and
  3. The pop-up Museum of Plastic, which incorporated brand collaborators HP, S’well, Ever & Ever and attn:.

To support Lonely Whale’s campaign, the makers of leading coconut water brand Vita Coco introduced new aluminum canned water brand Ever & Ever as a sustainable alternative to plastic water bottles for consumers on the go and partnered with Dittoe PR to promote the new product. (We recently bought Ever & Ever for the office and we can’t stop raving about them!).

Our strategy
Our approach to announcing the launch of a new campaign, PSA, pop-up museum and new product was multi-faceted: Pitch media under an embargo, arrange one-on-one media sneak peeks at the Museum of Plastic before the evening launch party and target multiple media audiences who would be interested in this news, including local NYC where the museum was launching, national consumer, conservation, beverage trade, advertising and marketing trade and more.

Other tasks we took on for the Museum of Plastic launch event include creating and overseeing the very detailed run of show; managing all party RSVPs; supporting Lonely Whale and Ever & Ever onsite; assisting in coordination of speeches for the event for Lonely Whale Executive Director Dune Ives, Adrian Grenier and the President of the United Nations General Assembly; collaborating with museum partners HP, S’well, attn: and event and PR agencies; and creating press releases, messaging documents, a media advisory and a fact sheet.


The embargo for stories about the campaign and the Museum of Plastic lifted the week the museum opened to the public, and it was so effective that thousands of New Yorkers visited the museum in the five short days it was open!


The (highly anticipated) results
The Museum of Plastic launch event was a full house with 291 guests (capacity of space was 275), including notable VIPs Hayley Law, Riverdale actress and singer; Nev Schulman, host and executive producer of MTV’s Catfish; Paige Alms, Hawaiian big wave surfer and many more. Dittoe PR secured media attendees from nearly 20 influential media outlets, including Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, Fast Company, The New Yorker, Business Insider, BuzzFeed, Cosmopolitan, HuffPost, NowThis and more.

In just two weeks, we had over 100 pieces of media coverage about Question How You Hydrate, Ever & Ever and the Museum of Plastic in our identified key target media markets. Our digital media monitoring tool Trendkite reported that Ever & Ever had 97% share of voice in the media compared to other aluminum canned water competitors. Google Analytics showed us that there was an influx of website visitors to Lonely Whale’s website on our media embargo lift date.

We are so proud to have contributed to an incredibly successful campaign, product launch and museum opening. Question How You Hydrate makes a real difference in the world, and we’re continuing to challenge ourselves, colleagues and friends to #HydrateLike the future depends on it and remove plastic water bottles from our lifestyles! Will you join us?