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Move the Meter: Bar for Brand Affinity Continues to Climb

Local event showcases how outdoor gear companies are winning hearts and customers
February 12, 2018

With the changing consumer habits of Millennials — including preference for purpose-driven and community-minded companies — there’s growing pressure on brands to win our affection through their business practices, not merely their products.  
Dozens of brand-consumer relationships were on display at the first ever Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show, which wrapped recently in Denver. The event came to Colorado from Utah last year after a controversial play by trade show organizers to show support for public lands.  
The outdoor industry’s vocal stance on public lands may seem like a gamble in a politically charged world. But it’s evidence that companies see greater benefit in aligning with their customers’ values than in playing it safe.
Some brands try to win hearts through direct advocacy. Others tap popular people — but not celebrities — as brand ambassadors to promote industry values.
Clearly, the standard for winning brand affinity continues to climb.
Here are other recent headlines that caught our attention.
Editorial Strategist Katharine Brenton:
On January 1, Google announced significant changes to the Google’s AdWords program for nonprofits, including an increase in the required minimum click-through rate from 1 percent to 5 percent.  While these changes may seem intimidating to nonprofit communicators, Nonprofit Quarterly argues the changes will actually benefit nonprofits by encouraging them to tighten their AdWords game. Tighter standards will result in higher-quality users finding a nonprofit’s website and online resources.  
Director of Account Services Kate Julian:
Most companies shunned politics in favor of entertaining and emotional ads during the Super Bowl. With huge numbers of people watching, companies like AB InBev and Hyundai used their Super Bowl spots to promote their corporate social responsibility — rather than their products.  
Project Manager Kathleen Ryan:
Elton John, self-proclaimed Luddite, announced his retirement from touring in a six-minute music extravaganza best viewed in virtual reality. It’s a 360-degree, captivating journey through a career that has spanned decades. It’s also an impressive final play by the legendary artist to connect with audiences in-step with the latest technology.

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