The partnership aims to help local brands grow their market share in a way that advances people, the planet and profit.

According to Greg Viljoen, CEO and founder of social change agency Bigger Than Me (BTM), the future of marketing lies in purpose-led business strategy driven by powerful storytelling.

"To connect with current and prospective customers, brands have to communicate what they stand for and not just what they are selling. This is especially important post-pandemic, as consumer values continue to shift. If brands have the power to affect social change they should, it's what people can get behind in a crowded marketing space," says Viljoen.

"When brands understand that they are speaking to real people with real lives, they can better identify the positive impact they can make with their marketing. It's all very well to have a CSI campaign, but if it's not reaching anybody on a deeper level, there are missed opportunities for real brand engagement," adds Viljoen. 

"This is where the art of storytelling comes in and brands who are already doing this are reaping the rewards. Not only are they engaging their audience, but they are also boosting their brand value — all while contributing to social good. It's a win-win," says Viljoen.

Businesses do, however, need to be quick to realise that consumers won't accept disingenuous or empty marketing tactics, he says. They are far more adept at sniffing out those brands who are dedicated to a real cause from those that are just jumping on a bandwagon. Authentic social impact storytelling is driven by the benefactor's point of view, and never overrun by a brand's marketing goals or board room objectives. 

HOS uses mobile journalism to share local stories with a global audience and has trained thousands of ordinary citizens across the world to use their individual voice to harness video and social media to share news for change.

"Our work has given citizens a voice, but it's time that more brands use their clout to influence behaviour for the good. Unfortunately, not many know where to start and that's where the right mix of technology, strategy and creativity come in," says Yusaf Omar, co-founder of HOS.

Omar says that by empowering people on the ground in various communities to share their truth, brands can be a part of something more meaningful than just making a profit; they can bring people together.

Omar says that the technology available to us today is primed for user engagement and full immersion, allowing for content to make a powerful impression with impactful storytelling.

"That's why we are excited to partner with BTM because they at the intersection of social impact and storytelling. Together, we can help South African brands develop their purpose and map out a clear call to action to make a difference," Omar concludes.

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