The power of branding has been proven time and time again which is why organizations across the globe spend so much time, money, and energy on branding strategy. An important cause backed by powerful branding can make a huge impact in people’s lives as well as society as a whole. I can’t think of a single cause that has gotten more well-deserved attention than the #MeToo movement and now it will be recognized for its prowess.
The #MeToo movement, founded by Tarana Burke, will be named the second annual “Brand of the Year” by SVA Masters in Branding Chair, Debbie Millman, at Brandstand in New York City on Friday, December 7, 2018.
Over the course of 2018, the #MeToo Movement catalyzed change to dismantle shame surrounding sexual assault as survivors came forward to tell their stories. Perpetrators were held accountable and we witnessed the removals and resignations of everyone from high-powered executives to political figures and Hollywood producers. The collective force of #MeToo has forever transformed the cultural landscape of sexual violence against women.
Substantial change. Real results. Tangible impact. These are the notable markers of Brand of the Year, launched in 2017 by the The Masters in Branding program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Chosen by the program’s esteemed faculty who take a sweeping look at commerce and culture, Brand of the Year disrupts industry competitions that often require a complicated entry form and fees to complete. It requires no reach or effort by any brand to be considered.
The inaugural Brand of the Year in 2017 was the pink, cat-eared “pussyhat” that became the icon of the Women’s March. It signified the potential of branding to reach beyond the commercial and be democratized—truly by the people for the people. In the same spirit, #MeToo, which began as a grassroots movement, has now circled the globe to unite people behind one cry and cause. This is the highest calling of branding: to bring people together for the benefit of humanity.
The power of branding to transform, catalyze, and inform change is illustrated by both the inaugural Brand of the Year, the “pussyhat,” and this year’s #MeToo movement. This cultural swell has been building in strength as people rally around the call to implement systemic change that will have a positive, lasting impact on our world. The possibility of a brand to make change has never been so tangible as we look into the future.