When it comes to social causes and movements, brands can’t stand on the sidelines anymore as traditional calls to action are being upstaged by emotional connections. “You cannot not stand for nothing. By doing that, you’re standing for something and something that won’t resonate with your consumers,” says Michael Kahn, Global Brand President at Digitas.

One of the founders of the Digital Content NewFronts, Digitas titled its own presentation this year The #Boycott NewFront. Afterward, in this interview with Beet.TV, Kahn makes the agency’s case for brand involvement in issues to which consumers can relate.

“Right now, everyone’s taking sides in issues everyone has causes and beliefs and brands need to have them too,” Kahn explains. “So it’s time to make that part of your agenda, part of your strategy and part of your curriculum.”

It’s the agency’s role to set the table by imparting information and knowledge about the conversations that are always happening within a given brand’s consumer set. “Understand the interaction that their audience has out in the marketplace. And then sharing with them all the stories of brands that have taken stands, have a brand view and the positive outcomes.”

Those outcomes aren’t necessarily material in nature, for example sales and market share, according to Kahn.

“I’m talking about brand reputation, brand preference, loyalty, enthusiasm and love. You can tell them those stories and then work with them in an authentic way for them to identify what resonates for them, what they can stand for.”

Asked about measuring performance, Kahn says it’s always been about driving things at the point of conversion “and now it’s about driving things at the point of connection” based on genuine, authentic brand identity.

“So I think it’s changed now that performance can’t be driven by just straight call to action. It’s got to be created by an emotional connection and I think that’s where an agency like Digitas can jump in and help the clients we serve.”

This video is part of Beet.TV’s coverage of the Digital Content NewFronts 2018. The series a co-presentation of Beet.TV and the IAB. Please see additional videos from the series on this page.