Every day it seems a new social movement appears, from #MeToo to Fairtrade, the list is endless. #Veganuary was first introduced in 2014, by Matthew Glover and Jane Land. Both follow a vegan lifestyle and are active animal-rights advocates. They created the UK-based charity, Veganuary, to convince others try 31 days of a vegan diet.
The #Veganuary challenge is designed to encourage people to commit to becoming vegan and in turn promote a healthier lifestyle, protection of the planet, animal rights and social responsibility.
The first run received instant attention, with 3,300 pledges signing up. The challenge has since become a social movement, growing rapidly each year. With over 250,000 pledges in 2019 and 47% of participants maintaining their vegan diet, the charity has certainly seen great success.
Veganism was recently appointed a philosophical belief and is now recognised and protected by the Equality Act 2010. This is an important milestone for vegans, meaning that their lifestyle choice may not be discriminated against.
Inclusivity has never been more important.
In this blog post, will be discussing:
- How does a social movement impact on business and marketing?
- Do companies really support veganism and all it stands for?
- The opportunity of being authentic and inclusive of all lifestyles
The challenge has become a yearly trend, attracting a lot of attention over social media. Social media engagement is highly encouraged by Veganuary, using their hashtags (#Veganuary, #Veganuary2020) and tagging their accounts (@Veganuary/@WeAreVeganuary) to share veganism through recipes personal stories and updates.
How does a social movement impact on business and marketing?
Greggs, for example,is one of the leading companies utilising #Veganuary.
Last year, they launched their vegan sausage roll, which was briefly trialled during Veganuary before hitting stores nationally. After mass request and rumour, January 2nd saw the introduction of the vegan steak bake.
Interestingly, Gregg’s internal marketing doesn’t associate with Veganuary, nor make any mention of the trend. Instead, they released the product at the beginning of January. This is an interesting marketing strategy as there is a massive rise in the sale of all vegan products. Using the social hype and trending discussions means the movement essentially does the marketing for them while increasing their target market. Not only do they attract existing vegans, but they also receive mass attention from those attempting a new vegan diet. Greggs is a well-known company, therefore there is less need to include Veganuary’s brand in their social media campaigns.
However, for smaller businesses, this is a beneficial tool to implement into your social media strategy. It may be unlikely you’ve ever used a tag like #Veganuary for your business’s social media before. However, this is an opportunity to reach a new audience, in turn increasing impressions and exposure.
Greggs, although they are primarily centred around meat-based products, are extending their product range to cater for a much wider audience.
But do they really support veganism and all it stands for?
The release date of these products is clearly tactical: using the social media hype around veganism as an inexpensive and effective marketing tactic.
During the rest of the year, the majority of their social media advertising centres around their meat products, with only an occasional mention of their vegan products. However, they are actively researching more vegan products – aiming towards providing a vegan option for every classic product they sell.
Opportunity truly lies in being authentic and inclusive: everyone can consume vegan products.
Whether you directly incorporate Veganuary or not, aligning with any social movement increases exposure through indirect, consumer marketing. This is an inexpensive, non-time consuming method which can broaden your target market and increase brand recognition.
Genuine support of social movements, like veganism, builds trust and helps your nurture current and prospective leads: demonstrating that you truly care about their values, rather than exhibiting a superficial front of activism.