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As the world reels from the news of Nelson Mandela’s passing, we are reminded of the many reasons why we respect and adore the man that was. Mandela is the emblem of perseverance; he represents the small number of human beings that are willing to go through hell and back to fight for their cause.

Today, we are seeing more brands following in the footsteps of monumental characters like Mandela – brands are standing up for something they believe in. Not just regular Corporate Social Responsibility that manifests itself as an afterthought upon tallying up the fiscal year’s revenue – but an honest and undivided attention towards the disparities of our time.

Take Tom’s as a prime example – Their ‘One For One’ philosophy, in which they pledge to donate a pair of shoes for every pair you buy for yourself, has captured the world’s imagination (and the industry’s market share). This approach in marketing kills two birds with one stone – first, your product is flying off the shelves because consumers appreciate the gesture, but secondly, and most importantly, your brand can contribute to society with more than just the product alone.

Consumers have grown with the times – they are no longer satisfied with simply brandishing labels or with the occasional CSR campaign; they want more bang for their buck. And fortunately, that little extra they are in search of isn’t for themselves, but for others. So it is important that we acknowledge the innate compassion of the human race and the leaps and bounds your brand can make if it works earnestly on the side of good.

More brands are joining the cause – Body Shop is standing up against animal testing, Starbucks is standing up for gay rights, H&M is standing up for garment recycling, just to name a few. More and more brands are starting to recognize the value of working on the side of good.

Whether this is just an insincere wave of marketing exploits, or whether these brands truly give a damn, in this case, is irrelevant. What matters is the audience; the average Joe; the regular human beings that react positively to a good cause. What matters is that we care, and that we take the time to put our money into products that demonstrate similar care to the well-being of the world.

This isn’t a lesson on branding and how you can up your value by subscribing to a cause – this is a lesson in humanity – and a demonstration of how we’ve changed for the better, all thanks to those, Mandela and activists alike, that have paved the way towards creating a culture that cares.

What do you stand for?

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How would your brand participate in the golden age of the geek?

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