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Corporate social responsibility example: Icon Undies

Here's a great brand social responsibility example for you.

I've been watching body-positive marketing since a presentation by the Dove team a few years ago. It's of interest to me for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that while I'm as tall as most models, I'm for sure not as slender as they are.

That's why I started following Icon Undies on Instagram, which sells "pee-proof" underwear for ladies who leak. Yup. They don't sugarcoat the reasons their customers buy their gear. The brand's Instagram is an unapologetic feed full of real people in real Icon undies interspersed with tips and other stuff -- all of which goes back to the brand. But it's more than smart marketing. It's creating a space where women with leaky bladders can speak frankly, be treated with respect and find elegant solutions to a challenging social and medical problem.

This week, Icon is promoting World Continence Week, an initiative that started 10 years ago led by The Simon Foundation, the World Federation of Incontinence Patients (WFIP) and others. Icon announced its participation across its online, social and email channels on Sunday night.

Graphic supporting the #threeinthree campaign

7 Reasons Icon Undies' #threeinthree Campaign Works

Here's what I like about this corporate social responsibility campaign:

  1. It's a real deal. This isn't a frivolous made-up observance or a one-off thought-leadership push. World Continence Week began way before the brand existed, and is now in its 10th year. Pelvic floor issues are a major health problem for about one-third of U.S. women of all ages and activity levels. At a time when women's health is being debated in state houses and Congress, it's a highly relevant topic.
  2. It's simple and unifying. The premise is clear and encourages us all to be involved: "1 in 3 women may experience bladder leaks, but 3 in 3 people have the power to change the conversation around women’s bodies. #threeinthree". The "not just (y)ours" message emphasizes that this is a problem we can all work to address.
  3. It's manageable. They're not asking fans to do too much. The campaign activates advocates across channels and offers a downloadable kit that includes a  one-sheet explaining the campaign, sample social posts to inspire your own, and photos and a quote suitable for posting. The images are tasteful -- not graphic or silly -- so you're more likely to share them.All this makes it pretty simple to get the hashtag and @'s rolling.
  4. It sells in context. Icon created threeinthree.com, a microsite sharing facts (did you know that "On average, it takes a woman seven years to discuss pelvic floor health with their doctor"?) alongside pictures of women wearing their products.  The shop now button is present, of course, but it feels like an opportunity rather than a sell.
  5. It's got a clear call to action. It's not just about selling underwear. The campaign includes a clear ask: "vocally support women who leak" and demand more resources and visibility around pelvic floor health.
  6. It creates all the feels. Sure, not everyone's going to publicly participate in the campaign, but either way, Icon wins. Those who do participate spread the word and feel good about advocating for something that impact their lives. Those who don't realize they have an advocate in Icon. The campaign positions Icon as not only a brand who understands and solves a big problem, but who cares about it beyond just moving merch. Those feelings instill serious loyalty.
  7. It builds the brand. On top of encouraging women to talk about leaks and promoting women's health, the  increased exposure for Icon Undies will doubtless result in more fans and more sales. And there's nothing wrong with that. In fact, it's what makes this campaign a win-win.

If you're planning an advocacy or awareness campaign as part of your corporate social responsibility strategy or marketing plan, look closely at this one for inspiration and ideas.

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