Lauren Winter, global managing director of consumer culture and senior partner
Togetherness, or social cohesion, binds different groups, factions and demographics together, breaking down boundaries and fostering friendship, belonging and well-being.
A variety of factors have combined to erode our sense of togetherness, including a breakdown of social trust and a reduction in cultural, economic and social experiences that are shared across different demographics.
This is happening at the same time as consumers, shareholders and other stakeholders are becoming increasingly conscientious in their consumption and investments. Companies are expected to prioritise social value as well as financial value and to play a part in solving society’s biggest issues. As research conducted by FleishmanHillard, made in partnership with Harvard professor Robert J. Waldinger and futurologist Martin Raymond, shows togetherness is one of these very issues. More than 60% of consumers polled said they feel brands have an important role to play when it comes to fostering togetherness in society and 70% said they are likely to buy a product if the brand offering the product promoted togetherness.
There is no doubt that we, as communications professionals, have a key role to play in pushing togetherness to the forefront of how brands market themselves. The results of our polling show nearly twice as many people feel that the way brands currently market themselves leads to social division than those that don’t (45% versus 23%). Solving this isn’t only important from an ethical and social point of view but an economic one too: 75% fear that a lack of social togetherness will impact the economy; there is such a thing as a togetherness economy! Moving brands to being cohesion spreaders is work that requires skill and consideration, and we are privileged that some leading minds contributed to providing blueprints for how this can be done.
In Chapter 3 of The Togetherness Economy Report, world-renowned Harvard professor Robert Waldinger has co-developed with FleishmanHillard a checklist that brands can use today to ensure they are fostering cohesion — something we call “Togetherness Traits”.
Things to consider include: avoiding siloed communication, not saying different things to different people, and genuinely representing the society in which you operate.
For the fourth chapter, we have worked with Martin Raymond, the founder of the U.K.’s most successful futurology consultancy, the Future Laboratory, to look at how we expect society will value cohesion in the future and here, too, the expectation is that it will only become more important. Martin has co-developed a blueprint for a cohesive corporate future that focuses on moving brands from saying to doing and to becoming ‘community companies’.
Download The Togetherness Economy Report to explore togetherness and how brands can harness it for the good of society and reputation.
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November 20, 2023
November 15, 2023