These days, many companies are trying to express moral, social, or political values that resonate with values-based consumers. Giving Tuesday (which falls on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving) presents an opportunity for companies to do just that, so a growing number of brands participate.
However, companies’ participation in Giving Tuesday will resonate with the market only if consumers perceive it as authentic — and consumers’ standards for authenticity are rising. For example, in 2018, Nike’s sales skyrocketed when its edgy ad campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick connected with racially conscious customers. But just two years later, Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters picketed outside Nike’s headquarters, demanding that the brand “close the gap between what it says publicly about racial justice and how things actually play out inside the company.”
The bar for authenticity is rising in large part because companies engulf consumers in similar values-based content at every turn. Decades ago, Subaru became a favorite with lesbian consumers because it was among just a few brands to use subtly queer-coded ads. Now, however, LGBTQ+ consumers are skeptical of brands’ overt and omnipresent queer messaging during Pride Month because it seems opportunistic. Similarly, this summer, consumers mocked many companies’ responses to BLM protests because the statements’ similarities made them seem inauthentic.
This Giving Tuesday — when thousands of companies across myriad industries spotlight their altruism — consumers will gravitate toward brands that distinguish themselves with unique and authentic generosity. Companies that fail to do so will get lost in the mix or even be viewed with disdain. So make Giving Tuesday a success for your business: Ensure that your messaging, donations, and actions are authentic to your brand, even if it means rethinking strategies that passed muster in previous years.