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8 steps towards an Activist Mindset (for brands!)

Updated: Mar 25

Ok so, what is this Activist Mindset we speak of? Well, in the first instance it’s about embracing the core values that feed activism: a desire to make changes that push for a better world and taking action to do so. And you won't need us to tell you the world has never needed more of this than now. For brands, it’s about making sure those 𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐬𝐩𝐞𝐚𝐤 𝐥𝐨𝐮𝐝𝐞𝐫 and ensuring the ‘doing’ is being done. Not just when the camera's on, but behind the scenes too. With this in mind, we created a quick-start guide to embracing an Activist Mindset in 8 steps.



1). Start somewhere!

  • Make a donation to a charity, speak to your colleagues and customers about relevant issues, think local. Chances are your brand can be of use somewhere right on your doorstep.

  • Small steps can snowall into bigger action. Make a start and don't give up.


SEE: M&S’s internal LGBTQ+ network formed 4 years ago have not only helped inform choices around Pride activations and benefiting charities but saw the business jump 100 places on the Workplace Equality Index this year through their influence.



2). Be authentic

  • What are your values? Do they mirror your output? Are you consistent?

  • Being clear on what you stand for and ensure your values manifest throughout will help with longevity and consistency.


SEE: Patagonia’s core value ‘using business to protect nature’ runs deep: amongst a number of initiatives they also self-impose an Earth tax of ‘1% for the Planet’ that goes directly to non-profit environmental organisations.


3). Be useful

  • Know your place: address tensions and fill gaps.

  • How can you use resources you have at your disposal and give support where it’s needed?

SEE: Boots used their retail stores as safe spaces for domestic violence victims during lockdown.



4). Support grassroots

  • Grassroots, local communities are the beating heart of culture from music to football and everything in between: many parts are under threat.

  • Government grants only go so far - can you help fill gaps? Start with the roots of culture and the rest will thrive

SEE: Nike supporting women’s 5-A-Side football tournament ‘Playing For Kicks’.


5). Be consistent

  • Think long-term and bake it in.

  • An ally doesn’t drop out when times are tough.

  • Even if budgets are tight, there are always ways to show up and make a difference.

SEE: Guinness donated funds to support COVID-affected bartenders in March which was later supplemented by a more long term programme ‘Raising The Bar’, helping pubs reopen and operate COVID-safe over the next two years.



6). Centre community

  • Want to support a specific community? Speak to them, involve them.

  • Look to your own community- what are the challenges your staff, colleagues and customers face and how can your brand support them better?


SEE: Levis ‘Unlabelled’ gender neutral collection is curated by Levis LGBTQ+ staff and allies.


7).Think beyond the surface

  • Some of the greatest work done by brands in this space does not take place on a billboard.

  • Representation is really important, but the work needs to happen behind behind the scenes too.

SEE: Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian stepped down from an all-white board of directors to make room for the company’s first Black board member Michael Seibel.


8). Do good and the rest will follow

It’s time to leave the egos at the door. This is not 'brand saves the universe’, but consumers will certainly take notice if you do it right.


SEE: Luxury labels Bulgari, Gucci & Prada switching production to PPE as part of coronavirus relief.

Bonus step:

Drop us a line hello@ontheone.io and we'll help you get cracking on steps 1-8!


#ActivistMindset #Brands #LGBTQ #BLM #Prada #Guinness #MandS #Reddit #Patagonia #Levis #Nike #Grassroots #BootsChemist

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