With the prevalence of the B Corp now dominant across much of the retail sector, customers are coming to expect that when they purchase from you, their dollars will be going toward much more than simply shareholder profit.
Patagonia is the obvious example in this space - a retail brand that has managed to turn anti-consumption into a core message. Their strategy has seen them reap double digit annual growth for some time now.
Theirs is not an isolated story but part of a growing trend. In fact, customers under 30 are more likely to purchase from a company they consider to be ethically aligned with themselves.
It is clearly more important than even to be moving your business in this way. Check out the following for the how-to.
Engage with your customers on an issue you know is important to them.
Choosing to engage with an issue that you know your customers care about is a good way to show you are engaged and listening to what they want.
The phrase ‘think global, act local’ is a good guiding principle in this regard. If you’re a smaller company with a single point of operations, getting involved in the local area is a great way to build brand credibility.
‘Authentic’, ‘local’, ‘natural’, are all good starting point ideas when choosing to go down this route. Young people in particular are much more likely to choose a brand that exhibits these qualities.
We’ve touched on the benefits of activations that raise money for good causes already. If your brand is particularly passionate about addressing a problem, brand experiences can be a great way to showcase this issue.
Corona have previously used large sculptures in city centres to highlight ocean waste - could your brand do something equally as eye catching to raise awareness for a cause?
Work eco or ethical messaging into existing activations or events.
You can’t champion a cause while not living the message yourself. Ensure you book venues that align with the messaging you’re sending. Use eco-certified suppliers and organic materials as much as possible.
Even something as small as using bio-degradable plastic bags or cutlery won’t break the budget but will show you are a brand that considers the details. Check out this list for more ideas.
If you’re already doing something like donating to a good cause - perhaps via 1% for the Planet - then don’t keep quiet about it. Work that message into existing branding.
Clean up something.
Sometimes you just gotta get your hands dirty. Cleaning up a local area can be a really simple way of getting customers involved while boosting brand recognition. If your team are involved, it’s perfect for company bonding as well.
Cleaning up an area stamps ownership over it, meaning greater brand ties to local communities and the before/after pics will play well on social media.
Run your event with care
When deploying activations, make sure you’ve got all the angles covered. Are there other events happening in the area that might complicate your own? Has something similar been done here before? What were the outcomes?
Music festivals have been making big moves in this direction recently and it wouldn’t hurt to take a leaf out of their book.
As stated above, single-use plastics are not a great look and can take away from your core messaging. In addition, make sure you properly clean up after the event and leave the place looking tidy. There is nothing worse than being called out on social media for having left a mess.
The most important factor here is being genuine and on-brand. Suddenly moving toward a social cause or issue that doesn’t make sense for you will provoke accusations of ‘greenwashing’. On the other hand, customers appreciate honesty and authenticity, so take the opportunity to do something that is close to your heart.