Today, more consumers than ever are demanding that companies become a conscious brand, change their practices, become more transparent, communicative and take a more hands-on approach to make the world a better place.
People are jaded by outdated marketing techniques, false advertising and businesses/influencers who do not walk their talk. Not to mention brands that are simply all about revenue don’t feel good during our current climate.
If brands do not have an intentional purpose or lack social responsibility, they risk being skipped over for a brand that embodies sustainability, creativity and a higher purpose.
We’ve seen this trend evolving over the last decade in the corporate landscape. There is no doubt that our current situation in the world will not lead back to what was, but will propel us faster than ever into this inevitable future where consumers demand conscious practices in all of their investments.
By intentionally integrating social responsibility as part of your daily business routine, you can ensure you are doing your part in practising social and environmental responsibility and be seen as a thought leader in your niche. (Check out our blog on building sustainable business goals for success here.)
Ready to take the first steps?
We are going to take a look at 3 areas of your business to focus on to ensure you are cultivating a conscious brand by looking at big businesses who are doing it right.
1: Be clear about what you stand for and speak up.
Ben and Jerry’s is an iconic conscious brand that has been doing this well since the 1980’s. Climate control, Rock the Vote and declaring Black Lives Matter are only a few of the socially responsible causes Ben & Jerry’s has advocated for over the years. And it only makes people love their brand even more and become loyal, raving fans.
In a recent report by MWWPR, consumers say they’re 90% more likely to patronize companies that take a stand on social and public policy matters, and 80% say they’ll even pay more for products from such brands.
Now this doesn’t mean you have to get behind every cause, but following B&J’s lead of including your views and values in your marketing and center stage in your brand is sure to help you stand out amongst the noise online and help attract clients with similar values.
Are you incorporating your brand story in your marketing? Check out our recent blog post, ‘5 Simple Steps to Writing Your Brand Story‘.
2: Elevate the Level of Service You Provide
Patagonia is a leader in environmental and social responsibility. You might as well start with the brand’s mission statement —
“Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis”.
Their level of transparency around that goal is truly awe-inspiring.
In addition to being fair-trade certified for all its sewing production (and by fall 2017, more than 400 products), the brand knows and publicly discloses all of its first-tier suppliers, and is actively working to map out the rest down to the farm level for raw materials.
So how does this apply for an online business owner who is selling a service, not a product?
How can they demonstrate they are a conscious brand too?
Be sure to set clear standards and agreements around how you will show up with integrity.
Be transparent about your numbers, operations and team.
Last but not least, have quarterly goals to improve workflows, offers, and customer experience.
Have you considered your Customer’s Journey? Go ahead and check out our blog, ‘Your Buyer’s Journeys – 5 Simple Steps‘
3: Cultivate Conscious Brand Partnerships
Co-branding is known as an effective way to build a business, boost awareness, and break into new markets.
In 2015, Target partnered with UNICEF on a campaign called Kid Power, which committed Target to one of UNICEF’s sustainable development goals (SDGs). The retailer sold kid-friendly fitness trackers encouraging them to complete various fitness activities, which ultimately helped deliver food packets to underprivileged children around the world.
By selling this fun, inexpensive fitness product, Target encourages children to embrace a healthy lifestyle and uses kids’ successes to supply underserved communities with the resources they need. It’s an ongoing partnership that generates awareness of global malnutrition, helps UNICEF, and opens up Target to a demographic of giving families they might otherwise have had access to.
Brand partnerships in the online world are most often known as affiliate marketing. Unfortunately, affiliate marketing often gets a bad rap because of unethical practices or little to no transparency. That being said, some of the most amazing launches would not have been possible without this model. Think B School, KBB, and Impacting Millions. Programs that are widely popular and have had a massive positive impact due to affiliate marketing.
So what’s the trick? One simple rule can ensure you’re making smart decisions while partnering: choose partnerships that align with your values. If you do not feel aligned with the thought leader or influencer, if you do not 100% believe in the value of the product, pass. If the stars align? Jump on it!
Who you partner with has a direct impact on your reputation, your brand and ultimately your customer’s perception of your business.
Conscious Branding is No Longer a Trend, It’s a Must.
As people become savvier, trust in marketing is growing more vital each day. It’s not enough to just offer a great product or excellent customer service. Customers want to do business with companies they like, trust and align with. Those brands that sit on the sidelines regarding important issues are coming under greater scrutiny. Meanwhile, those with guts to take bold but strategically sound stands are being rewarded.
By embodying ethical business practices while creating transparency and accountability, providing immense value and developing aligned partnerships, your brand will rise up over the competition.
Brand Transformation Expert
Tiffany is an expert at developing brand experiences that are forward-thinking and legacy driven. She is the creator of The Legacy Brand Transformation Method and serves clients work-wide in her various high-touch offerings.
Her passion for entrepreneurship led her to work solely with entrepreneurs who are mission-driven. By serving those who TRULY make an impact in the world with their work, she satisfies her core value of being a light in the world.
You can connect with Tiffany on her Instagram here.