Regressive, Neutral or Progressive Activist Brands. Whether You Take A Stand For Something Or Not, You Fall Into Any Of These 3 Categories.

Rod Aparicio
2 min readMar 21, 2022

Brand activism. Beyond marketing-driven or corporate-driven decisions. Society-driven.

It’s action. How and what your brand does everyday, everywhere. Your brand’s actions (or lack of) tell your customers, market and society what you’re about.

Action tells more than your words.

Business efforts to promote, impede, or direct social, political, economic, and/or environmental reform or stasis with the desire to promote or impede improvements in society.” Brand Activism, Kotler and Sarkar, 2018.

3 Types of Brand Activists

Regressive Brands

They care about making it profitable, no matter the costs and consequences — to employees, stakeholders or society. One big example: Betting and gambling companies. Promotes the “virtues” of betting when it actually hurts everyone. Particularly, in sports. Now they even own or sponsor teams, fairs and sport shows.

Neutral Brands

Defined by the lack of action (that is an action in itself). They just try “not to be evil”. They’ll be lost in the mushy middle, become background noise.

Progressive Brands

They intent to make an impact in society and world’s wicked problems. They’re taking their purpose to action. They take a stand for something and are willing to sacrifice profit for impact. Ex: Patagonia. Don’t need to buy a new item if you can repair it.

“If you choose to send in your repair for an evaluation, we ask that you cover the shipping cost. The repair work (in most cases) and the return shipping are covered by Patagonia.”

Where are you, if you take in account what you do as a company?

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