by Alice Greene
Remember when Ben and Jerry got arrested?
Having been unafraid to wrap their brand around more than one lightning rod–the "Save Our Swirled" flavor last year was to bring awareness to climate change, and "I Dough, I Dough" honored gay marriage–it seems these men sacrificed themselves in protest because of their deeply held personal values.
Still, the Boomer cynic might see it as a publicity stunt. Indeed, the company promptly put out a press release, touting the organization’s “passion for social justice” always having been “baked right into everything we’ve ever done.”
But, when the actions your leadership take are so genuinely interchangeable with your brand identity (something we call Inside Out Branding), it’s not a stunt. It’s what works―and Millennials in particular eat it up.
What Ben & Jerry’s, a Prophet "Top 50 Relentlessly Relevant Brand," has figured out is that being true to a brand identity over a long period of time is a great fit for the Millennial consumer's need for authenticity. Such brands are ones that are not–and never have been–a flash in the pan. In the trend brief that accompanies this post, we focus on Levi’s and Jack Daniels two more examples.
Speaking of protests, certain presidential candidates–brands in their own rite–reinforce this trend, which we call "The Real Deal." Both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders attracted swaths of Millennial voters drawn to the candidates’ “straight-talking” identities, which were seen as not having varied much over the course of their careers.
Not coincidentally, Hillary Clinton’s campaign, at the convention and more recently, has quite specifically attempted to communicate her unwavering public service and activism in particular for women and families. The candidates want you to know that they “are who they are,” as they have always been, and, in that consistency, they hope Millennials find something to believe in.