In recent years, there has been a rise in corporate activism in India as companies are increasingly embracing social causes as part of their public relations and branding strategies.
From LGBTQ rights to environmental sustainability, Indian companies are taking a stand on various social issues that were formerly considered taboo or risky for businesses to publicly support.
Experts note that this shift towards corporate activism is being driven by both changing societal attitudes as well as potential public relations benefits.
As Indian society becomes more progressive on issues like diversity and inclusion, companies realize that they need to project themselves as socially conscious brands in order to appeal to mainstream consumers and stakeholders.
At the same time, throwing their weight behind popular social campaigns provides good publicity and allows brands to boost their reputation.
This strategic embrace of corporate activism is evident in how brands are leveraging online platforms and news media partnerships to advance their causes.
From high-visibility social media campaigns to getting company executives or brand ambassadors to author opinion pieces for digital publications, PR teams are proactively pushing social messaging beyond conventional advertising channels. The focus is on earning media coverage and steering influencer and blogger conversations rather than buying ad space.
As competing brands try to outdo one another in championing popular social movements, critics have questioned whether these corporate activism efforts are driven more by savvy PR strategy than a genuine commitment to social change.
However, it has undoubtedly sparked more conversations around important issues while positioning brands, especially younger ones, as being socially woke.
For PR teams and marketers, corporate activism has become the strategy du jour to shape brand narratives and connect with causes that consumers care about.