Sara Gonzalez, Senior Strategist at Brandhouse

It seems clear that we are witnessing a rise in nationalist sentiment, fuelled by mass discontent with certain potentially adverse effects of economic and cultural globalisation. The “Brexit” vote, the presidency of Donald Trump, or the latest efforts of the Catalunya government to hold an “independence consultation”, are only a few examples of the recent events that prove it.

This movement clearly reflects the concerns around identity, origin and nationality that are returning to the forefront of socio-political debate.

Many brands have already joined the conversation. Corona, the Mexican beer, has reacted to Trump’s attacks on its fellow Mexicans by encouraging them to raise their voices and not let fake stereotypes define them. Diesel is another brand that, under the motto “make love not walls”, has positioned itself against Trump’s border wall. Other brands such Heineken and Danish TV 2 have spoken out against prejudices that divide us, and invited us to see beyond the stereotypes to treat each other as individuals.

Personally, as a Spanish person living in London, I had to deal with the clash of cultures, and experience first-hand the good and bad sides of it. Thus, I am particularly sensitive to this theme, and I can understand that the debate around identity is not only legitimate but also inevitable. In a world where borders are becoming more and more blurred, people try to hold onto what is familiar. But we can let the fear of the unknown ignite the flame of hate.

In fraught times we need a beacon. That is why today more than ever we need messages of inclusion, diversity, humanity and tolerance. Brands influence consumer decisions and perceptions and therefore have an important role in our lives. A study by Havas Worldwide reveals that 65% of people believe that businesses bear as much responsibility as governments for driving social change, and are in better position to create a better future.

So, gracias to all those brands that have taken a step in the right direction towards this better future. but now we must ask ourselves if communication campaigns alone are actually enough to drive genuine change. It is time to walk the talk and take a real stance. We are at a turning point; is your brand going to help us pick the right path? Is your brand the beacon we need?

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