Following recent events around the world (I'll try not to make this depressing don't worry!) we wanted to blog about how brand purpose is evolving into brand activism - we are fully supportive of this and it's not just the big global brands that need to take a stand.
For 2020 Lisa and I (co-founders) have decided to mostly work with b-corps and brands who are serious about making a positive impact to our world, communities and environment. Even if the impact seems small we truly believe it can and will make a difference, not only to our planet and communities, but commercially too. Please read on if you want to know more....
Focusing on the consumer is key to brand success, and we probably all realise by now that there is an ongoing rise of conscious consumerism, especially after environmental issues came to the fore in 2019. Industry reports suggest that brands are likely to accelerate their response to this trend, with particular focus on packaging and the supply chain. We need to listen to what consumers want and understand their behaviours.
Brands (yes, that means each and every organisation) have a powerful role to play in society. We as brand professionals, agree that brands need to take a stand on social issues. The commercial and ethical gains are clear - consumers will reward brands that take positive steps on the environment, social, economic, or political problem. But, it’s tempting to jump on the bandwagon and support a noble cause - environmental concerns are so high-profile now that empty promises or half- hearted initiatives won’t cut it, and there is evidence consumers are suspicious of brands making big claims about their green credentials. Responding credibly to the climate crisis requires a long-term and considered strategy, not a rush to short-term communications around ‘purpose’. Given the growing consumer interest in environmental issues, it may be tempting to shout about 'purpose', but be careful here - consumers need to see all three elements combined; evidence, to trust in your product, and in the customer experience. And as businesses, we need to help remove barriers to behavioural change - try to make sustainable products as desirable, affordable and convenient as non-sustainable alternatives (Carlsberg are a great example).
So as hard it might seem, what with everything else you have to do running a business, it WILL pay off for your brand to really look at how you can make a difference. It will stand the business in good ground for the future and build brand value. Along with recent global events, plus the rise of the ever more powerful gen z, the switch in consumer behaviour will come relatively quickly and the the brands who have addressed environmental issues will be the winners.
As part of your overall brand plans this year, are environmental issues on your agenda? Get in touch if you need help to communicate your brands societal and environmental purpose. firstname.lastname@example.org