Today, more consumers than ever are demanding that companies become transparent and take hands-on approach to making the world a better place. They’re looking for what experts call “conscious brands,” companies that embody a higher purpose by having an intentional purpose or embracing social responsibility. Think: Tom’s Shoes or Jessica Alba’s Honest Company.
According to a report by MWWPR, not only do 90% of consumers say they’re more likely to patronize companies that take a stand on social and public policy matters, 80% say they’ll even pay more for products from such brands.
But you don’t have to be a big name in order to transform your business into a conscious brand. Follow these three steps to make sure that your actions resonate with your ideal customers, helping you multiply your revenue and make a lasting impact.
1. Be clear about what you stand for
Ben & Jerry’s is an iconic conscious brand. Climate justice, LGBTQ quality and Black Lives Matter are only a few of the socially responsible causes the company has advocated for over the years. And it only makes people love their brand even more.
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 the guts to take bold but strategically sound stands are being rewarded.
Follow B&J’s lead and include your views and values in your marketing. Share your beliefs, and ask your audience to take part alongside you in supporting the causes you believe in. By intentionally integrating social responsibility as part of your daily business routine, you can ensure you are doing your part in practicing social and environmental responsibility and be seen as a thought leader in your niche.
2. Take action
It’s one thing to talk about the causes you support, but it’s another thing entirely to actually do something about them. People are jaded by outdated marketing techniques, false advertising and businesses and influencers who don’t walk the walk. While building and running a conscious business requires more intentional decision making and an uncompromising commitment to the mission for good, the reward is the creation of a movement that leads to unparalleled success and impact.
Patagonia is a noted leader in environmental and social responsibility. Their mission statement reflects this well: “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” From supporting grassroots activists working to find solutions to the environmental crisis to suing the former president of the United States, Patagonia has taken action on the most pressing environmental issues facing our world.
There are countless ways you can become part of the change for good: collect donations, offer scholarships, take part in activism. Use the resources you have — your voice, your business and your community — to take action. When you weave these actions into your company culture, and it’s embodied by employees and customers alike, you create a movement. By embracing ethical business practices while creating transparency and accountability, and providing immense value, your brand will rise up over the competition.
3. Cultivate partnerships based on values
Co-branding with another company is an effective way to double the awareness around an issue, increase the impact of an effort and, ultimately, expand the visibility of both organizations. Who you partner with has a direct impact on your reputation, your bran and your potential customer’s perception of your business.
As reported in a recent Hubspot post by Sophia Bernazzani, “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.”
To ensure that you’re making smart partnering decisions, choose partnerships that align with your values. If you have not yet determined your brand values, make it a top priority. The best way to do this is to follow my 3S Method. First: Source. Do a Google search of “brand value words.” Choose as many words as possible that you resonate with and feel are important.
I like to put them on index cards (or you could use digital Kanban boards) to make step two easier. Second: Sort. Group the index cards with similar words. For instance, honesty, integrity and truth would go in the same pile. Finally: Select. Choose your final words from the groups by what you feel best represents your deepest values.
Now, use these brand values as your North Star. Refer to them any time you are making decisions, such as who to partner with, who to hire, which clients to work with and more. Doing so is sure to help you stand out amongst the noise online and attract raving fans with similar values.
By: Tiffany Neuman / Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer
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