To provide its customers with a simple and effective way to take action in support of its advocacy campaigns and engage with local lawmakers and members of Congress, Ben & Jerry’s has struck up a new partnership with Phone2Action, a digital advocacy platform that connects citizens to lawmakers via Facebook, Twitter, text and email.
The move comes as a response to a shift in the way consumers view the role of brands in addressing social and environmental issues, a trend highlighted in a recent Cone Communications survey. According to the study, 86 percent of consumers expect brands to take a stance on social issues.
“Our passionate fan base is highly engaged in the environmental and social justice campaigns that we run. We are consistently looking for innovative ways to help our fans take action and make a difference in their communities and in their country and we’re excited to provide them with the tools they need to do so,” Chris Miller, Global Activism Manager at Ben & Jerry’s, said in a statement.
Ben & Jerry’s will initially use Phone2Action’s technology to focus on two core areas: climate justice and economic equity. Through the partnership, it hopes to drive over 100,000 actions annually towards its advocacy campaigns. Phone2Action’s technology will initially be deployed at events Ben & Jerry’s sponsors in support of its advocacy campaigning. Encouraging ice cream lovers to weigh in on the Voting Rights Act will be Ben & Jerry’s first order of business. Advocacy efforts will later be expanded to include the refugee crisis, LGBTQ rights and climate justice. Participants can let lawmakers know of their support for the legislation by signing a petition on their mobile phones.
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“Now more than ever, there is a need to connect advocates and constituents with their lawmakers. Ben & Jerry’s has been doing this in a traditional fashion since the company’s inception, but in an increasingly digitalized world, we needed a digital activism partner to truly drive scale and impact,” Jay Tandan, US Digital Marketing Manager for Ben & Jerry’s, told Sustainable Brands.
According to Tandan, the company first learned about Phone2Action from Patagonia’s Bears Ears campaign. “After reviewing a number of similar providers it was clear that Phone2Action provided the comprehensive suite of tools, reporting and analytics that we needed,” Tandan explained.
The company will also roll out call-to-action signage in its signature Scoop Shops, beginning with the Burlington, Vermont flagship store and shops in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
“One of the most effective ways [for brands to take a stance on social issues] is to empower their employees and their consumers to advocate on issues that align with the mission of the organization, elevating the power of the people’s voices and galvanizing the engagement into clear messages to corporate leaders and policymakers throughout the world,” Jeb Ory, co-founder and CEO of Phone2Action, said via email. “We have found that when people engage on issues they care about, they become a more engaged member of their community and ultimately strengthen the democratic process — a core tenant to civic society.”
Ory suggested that hearing directly from constituents via Phone2Action campaigns can also influence how policymakers think about certain policies and can help them decide how to vote. In an analysis conducted by the company in 2015, Phone2Action determined that their partners experienced successful outcomes 69 percent of the time using its social and digital tools.