FORRward: A Weekly Read For Tech And Marketing Execs
Brands Pledge To Stand With The Black Community
In the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, citizens are taking to the streets to protest institutionalized racism. Brands are speaking out, too, because, as Netflix tweeted, “To be silent is to be complicit.” Netflix joins brands such as Google, Nike, Peloton, and Target (whose stores were looted) in taking a vocal anti-racist stance. Firms hear consumers’ desire to align with brands that share their values and are emboldened to make bolder pronouncements about their brands’ belief systems. But bandwagon virtue signaling invokes consumer skepticism. Nike, which earned some serious authenticity cred with its support of Colin Kaepernick, received criticism for what some see as exploiting the George Floyd crisis. The brand is plagued by a checkered history of using sweatshop labor and is accused of a lack of diversity within its own leadership organization. Nevertheless, when big brands speak out on social issues, it pushes the topic into the spotlight. For instance, Coca-Cola used the gigantic platform of the Super Bowl to run an ad with a subtle but distinct reference to the fluidity in gender. Although our research shows that talk is cheap, and consumers want to see brands make a real commitment to values, brands bringing the discussion to the public square promotes a social good.
Impossible, Awesome, Incredible, Sensational: A Battle For Naming Fake Meat Emerges
Plant-based meats have exploded much quicker than anyone expected. And coronavirus-related disruptions to the meat supply chain sent demand and revenue soaring this spring. Disruptors such as Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat offer new choices to consumers who are concerned about the environment and their health or who are just plain curious. But now, a food fight is playing out in European courts over the use of adjectives to describe the latest meatless trend. In 2019, Nestlé launched its Incredible Burger in 15 countries across Europe, but Impossible Foods felt the “incredible” moniker infringed on its trademarks. Dutch courts agreed, so Nestlé’s marketers will have to return to the tasting room for new brand inspiration. Consumers want products that reflect new tastes and changing sensibilities. European consumers especially worry about the impact of food production on the environment. These trends will drive changes in the way food is produced, distributed, and consumed — as well as marketed. Nestlé knows to be sensitive to its consumers but must make its own name in burgers.
Apple And Google Unite To Offer A Standard For COVID-19 Exposure Notifications
As reported in our recent blogs, Apple and Google partnered to create standard COVID-19 exposure notification APIs and protocols. This approach separates exposure tracking from identity — which protects Apple and Google and requires public health authorities to manage apps, privacy, and notifications. While we believe the potential benefits are significant, public health officials have a variety of hurdles — such as distrust, adoption, and usability — to overcome. Moreover, since decentralized apps (like those that would use the Apple-Google APIs) focus more on preserving end-user privacy than establishing bidirectional communication channels between public health authorities and the general public, interoperability with local partners and tools for contact tracing teams are a must. Even without high consumer adoption, the signals coming from those that do participate will help public health authorities direct resources on the ground engaged in traditional contact tracking efforts. According to Google and Apple, 22 countries and many US states will be using this software — a good start.