Brands have the capacity to create messages and make sure these messages reach the proper audience. These capabilities are key when a brand seeks to help communities around it.

In Japan, since 2011, there have been great efforts and energy deployed around helping the communities around Fukushima. From urban Tokyo to rural regions, the Japanese population keeps close to their hearts the fate of the residents of Fukushima since the nuclear disaster, and a lot of help, non-profits, funding has seen the light of day to find solutions and love.

And brands jumped in too.

Susumu Namikawa, who started his career as a copywriter and is now a published author, started a non-profit organization supporting the Fukushima population. He has since put a lot of thought into how brands are able to support communities in many different ways.

In a series of extremely interesting articles published by BrandingMag, he outlines 4 ways brands (his focus is on Japanese brands)  are contributing to creating a better society.

At Toast, we repeat every day how important it is for brands to take a posture of help when envisioning their content strategy:

“How is my brand going to help someone today?”

This way of thinking is key because it makes sure that everything a brand will do in terms of content will be centered around the fact that it needs to help its consumer, its stakeholder, its community.

Namikawa has a list of 4 ways brands support communities when looking at the Japanese advertising industry:

  1. rather than devising messages exclusively for selling products, advertising companies began creating socially conscious messages”;
  2. advertising companies started organizing activities to improve society, and marketing was designed to elicit broad support for those activities”;
  3. “advertising companies became involved in socially conscious projects aimed at creating shared value”;
  4. “advertising businesses began moving beyond advertising to design customer experiences that could bring joy and satisfaction to consumers”.

He mentions how these 4 steps have been important for the evolution of the Japanese advertising industry over the past 50 years.

Bringing value to your audience through content and initiatives can come in many shapes and forms. The key is making sure that your focus remains on helping, on reflecting on what impact will this content have on someone.

If you cannot find a suitable answer to this impact question, maybe this content shouldn’t make its way out there.

The book Think Do Say by Ron Tite focuses exactly on these questions. How can a brand Say something if it is not backed by actions (the Do), but also backed by a deeper Thinking about its values and its deeper purpose.

Brands have the capacity to make an impact. Content is the perfect tool in the toolbox to complement the thoughts and actions behind this impact.

How will your brand make an impact?