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Every brand should do a Social Scan

A blog by Madzy Beynen, our head of strategy

The last couple of months it’s been truly interesting to look at how brands behave during a national pandemic crisis and the racial inequality debate. What we’ve seen is that a lot of brands have become more humane, whereas brands such as Nike, Ben & Jerry’s and Patagonia have always openly displayed their humane character. Due to shifts in cultural and social norms, big mainstream brands are now following along in their footsteps. When the corona pandemic emerged, brands showed their human qualities by guiding customers to create a safe journey in their stores.

Social value encompasses all the rewards people usually get from interacting


In the current racial debate, brands have started to speak up as activists, sharing their social values. You could argue that we are now past the point of debating if this is something brands should do. But what is more interesting is why it works. The reason why brands who speak up about societal issues often find that this resonates with their audience is quite simple.

Brands can make a tremendous impact by providing social value through their communications, and simultaneously reap the shared benefits. Social value encompasses all the rewards people usually get from interacting with friends, social groups, and social institutions. It ranges from the small to the massive – anything from a bit of humor to addressing core human values such as truth, safety, hope, self-worth, belonging, or solidarity. When you build your campaigns around social value, you will be able to establish a true connection with your audience.

For example: Albert Heijn tapped into the social value of safety during the corona pandemic. They launched special opening hours dedicated to the elderly, helping them to do their grocery shopping in a safe environment. This shows sympathy and communicates that Albert Heijn is aware of the various needs of their shoppers.


People expect something in return for the attention that brands are asking from them


Another example is Unilever. The multinational launched a boycott against Facebook because in their perception, they don’t match their social values of truth and safety. Unilever claims that the platforms of Facebook & Instagram need to be less resentful.

With this statement, the multinational claims they are against hateful speech. It is interesting that they use Facebook as a vehicle to spread this message. It will be interesting to see how the company will make good on these values more holistically.

Bringing social value to people also created shared value for brands, because people who appreciate the brand messaging will be more open to purchasing from that brand.

Solely creating a brand purpose is not enough anymore. It is now time to act on those purposes, because people expect something in return for the attention that brands are asking from them. Thanks to the current societal crises, brands are now forced to take the next step.


Boomerang Agency’s Social Scan


That is why Boomerang believes that the only way for brands to grow is to become more human. By anchoring campaigns in social values, and speaking up or standing up for what they believe in. To help brands find the right angle, we created the social scan.

This is a scan that scans marketing & communications of brands in which we look into 4 key areas:

1. How brands go beyond their products and tap into a social need

2. How brands treat consumers as humans in communications

3. How brands act on their purpose

4. How brands create impact on society


The scan consists of various components:  EEG research to help uncover unconscious biases, client-self-assessment to zoom in on the purpose of the communications, an agency team survey to gain an expert view on the potential power of content and  consumer-based questionnaire to measure how the brand communications benefits them.

By distilling all this information, we help you identify opportunities for extra impact in these 4 key areas. We create a report that is the foundation for a new social movement in your company. Are you interested in creating a durable change in the way your brand communicates with its audience? Let’s talk!