Why Be A ‘Mission-Driven’ Brand?
Author: Jasmine Waters
Any brand without a compassionate conscience at its core will be one that suffers at the hands of the modern consumer. This is set to become even more magnified in a post-lockdown world as the consumer priorities evolve and adapt to focus on the human and empathetic element of business. As bad as not acknowledging general societal feelings or individual needs is, it is arguably worse to speak and completely miss the mark. So how can we make sure our brands hit the nail on the head, and truly become ‘mission-driven’?
Why are we talking about this?
It is safe to say that in overall terms, the current situation is one that is forcing industries to continuously adapt and innovate. The fashion industry is one that is often looked down upon as frivolous and could arguably work harder to reflect the global feeling through its creativity. With social injustices such as Black Lives Matter and Pride month particularly highlighted during the last few weeks, there has never been a greater need for fashion to speak up, take action and fight back. The dialogue now needs to turn to making sure the voices of all can be heard, and that reflects in a brand’s long-term ethos.
How can this be effectively achieved?
Let’s take Pride as an example. Throughout June, many companies and brands can be seen slapping rainbows on products, displays and digital platforms like there’s no tomorrow. And that’s all very well and good if it’s followed up with genuine support. A great example of this is Levi’s. Not only were they one of the first brands to publicly donate to AIDS charities in 1982, in recent years they have donated 100% of profits from their pride collections. Compare this to Target – who faced immediate backlash in 2016 regarding gender discrimination policies after releasing pride clothing – we know which mission community consumers would put their trust and loyalty in. There is a question of tact that comes along with choosing to be vocal. Publicly donating a fair percentage of merchandise relating to a social cause is extremely important, alongside a brand carrying these values and allyship on a long-term basis.
As we’ve seen over the last few weeks, there is a large difference between posting words of solidarity and actually taking the steps to being active in your support. What happens when it isn’t pride month, or social causes are no longer on a news feed? Such support can be achieved through making sure these voices and representation are seen and heard year-round, both as part of the brand as well as who’s behind it. The authenticity of a brand’s actions much stay consistent with its core values, coming from a genuine place of inclusivity. Being a ‘mission-driven’ brand should now be considered something that is essential, and businesses need to move beyond superficial elements in order to sustain credibility.
Photo source: https://www.pexels.com/@42north