- Posted by Megan Paquin
- On August 20, 2020
- communications, legal marketing, marketing
Belief-driven buyers remain on the rise. In 2017, 30% of consumers worldwide reported that they made belief-driven purchases more than they did in the three years prior. These are individuals who choose to buy a particular product or service based on their ideology, and whether it aligns with their perceived notions of certain brands. Generational studies confirm Millennials and Gen Z, two of the largest consumer segments, will buy or boycott a brand based solely on its stance; and, as ideological concepts like civil rights and climate change have seen a resurgence amid the COVID-19 crisis, brands are seeking more ways to engage with and win over the belief-driven buyer.
Legal Strategies are Corporate Marketing Strategies
Enter: your legal team? Yes, you read that right. While legal filings and lawsuits haven’t traditionally played much of a role in corporate marketing strategies (unless you count avoiding them), filing amicus briefs can bolster your brand’s credibility and help you become more competitive in the belief-driven market.
Amicus or “friend of the court” briefs advise courts of information that could be relevant to their decision in a given case. Take for example a recent question before the Supreme Court, whether it is legal to discriminate against an employee based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. On June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court ruled LGBTQ people are protected from workplace discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. But that decision came after careful review of hundreds of amicus briefs filed in support of – or against – the employees who brought their cases to the court.
200 Companies Join Together in One U.S. Supreme Court Amicus Brief to Promote Economic Opportunity and Fight Discrimination
In that case, Bostock v. Clayton County, more than 200 corporate organizations signed onto an amicus brief to take a public stance in support of employees and against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Brands like Apple, Comcast NBCUniversal, Nike, Inc. and The Walt Disney Company were among those who argued that diverse workforces make them better – that inclusion is good for both business and the economy and LGBTQ employees improve businesses. Appropriately, in the public record, they solidified their core values as workplaces free from discrimination.
Many promoted their participation in the amicus brief to their customers. And on decision day, when the brief helped shape the course of history, we saw some of the companies and law firms that wrote the briefs celebrating the decision along with their customers and fellow Americans.
Authentic Leadership and Public Commitments Are Good for Your Company and Should Be Promoted
Effectively promoting your role in a matter of public concern comes down to the authenticity of your role in the conversation. While the Supreme Court Justices only want amicus briefs that add pertinent relevancy to the matter at hand, how you communicate the “why” is just as important. A company’s stance while now on the record and undoubtedly critical to any case, is also judged outside the courthouse walls and brands are in a great position to capitalize on this.
Marketers and legal teams should work together to monitor relevant court filings, assessing risks to their organization along with the benefits of speaking out on issues that are important to their consumers. Collaborate on key messages to ensure the organization communicates with one clear voice in both legal filings and marketing campaigns. Partner with community organizations who can benefit from your support and offer ways for them to leverage your platform to elevate their work and demonstrate alignment to your customers. Finally, coach executive leaders to actively promote your brand’s beliefs and to feel comfortable discussing your amicus strategies in the public domain. Communicating about such legal concepts can feel unnatural to nonlawyers, but collaboration between legal and marketing teams can help translate legalese into powerful brand messages.
Megan Paquin is vice president at Poston Communications. She has been trusted to lead communications strategies for some of the world’s most respected brands. As a communicator, Megan thrives in complex, high-stakes situations. Her work in crisis management and litigation communications has proven essential to bolster the reputations of her clients.