Marketing With a Cause: Brands That Give Back

We’ve discussed before how it’s more important than ever for brands to connect with their consumers and how imperative it is to do this in a genuine way. As Millennials & Gen Z make up a growing proportion of the purchasing population, brands are being held to higher standards and expected to reflect their values in everything that they do. Brands from Nike to Iceland to SodaStream are trying this out and succeeding in varying degrees. Are you looking for a way to show your target audience what your brand is really about, but not sure how to go about it? Take a look at what three of our favourite brands are doing for inspiration:

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Give Back Locally

It’s always nice to know that a brand you use is giving something back with the purchases you make, but sometimes it’s really great to know that your contribution is staying within your own community. Jollie’s, an organisation that makes high-quality unisex socks that come adorably packaged in tin cans, contributes right back to the city that their customers live in, no matter where they are in the UK. With whimsical designs and cosy fabrics, they’d be high on our Christmas list anyway, but the fact that they gift a pair of socks to a local homeless charity for every pair bought bumps them to the top of our stocking-stuffer list. You read that right: not only do they give a pair for every purchased pair, but the donated pair stays right in your own community, whether you live in Edinburgh, Oxford, Aberdeen, or loads of other locations where their products are sold! Here in Edinburgh, they work with Social Bite and Souper Saturday, so you know the socks your purchase provides are helping someone close to home.

Jollie’s shows that you don’t have to go far from home to make a difference: chances are, there’s a problem in your own community you can help to solve through your organisation.

Help the Environment

The environment is in crisis, and it can be difficult to find organisations that are doing their part to halt the destruction of climate change. Add to this the frequency of so-called ‘greenwashing,’ where brands package their products in such a way as to look like they are recycled, natural or otherwise green, and it’s easy for consumers to think they are supporting green brands when they’re actually still contributing to big business’s massive carbon footprint. One brand that’s doing environmental activism right is Lush.

Ok, you’re probably familiar with them as they’re practically a High Street staple here in the UK. But did you know that their products are 100% vegetarian, mostly vegan, that they go packaging-free whenever possible, and they don’t test on animals or, crucially, buy ingredients from companies who DO test on animals? They don’t stop there, though- over a decade ago, they began investigating ways to eliminate palm oil from their products and to date nearly all of their products are palm oil-free. Your brand may not have the power to solve global warming, but you can reduce the damage being done, a win-win for you and your consumers.

Know Your Maker

The ethics of fast fashion have been hotly debated for years. Besides the amount of waste generated from each individual article of clothing’s production and the carbon footprint from transporting low-quality merchandise across the globe from factory to shop, there’s also the human aspect to consider: wages paid to factory employees and conditions under which they work are often abysmal. The desire many young consumers have to avoid fast fashion comes both from their desire to avoid these negative aspects as well as to set themselves apart from the crowd by not wearing the same clothes seen in High Street windows, and American brand Krochet Kids has found a way to solve both of these issues.

Started by three young men who had seen first-hand the poor conditions of workers around the world, Krochet Kids hires vulnerable women in poverty-stricken regions to teach them valuable skills. The women are paid anti-poverty wages to create unique items of clothing, enabling them to better support their families. A bonus? Each piece of clothing is signed by the maker, so buyers can visit Krochet Kids’ website to learn more about the woman who made their clothing and even send a thank you note directly to the maker!

Each of these brands succeed in their efforts to improve the world around them for the same reasons: they truly believe in what they’re doing, and they involve their customers in the process, educating their audience on how to better their community. Consumers become advocates, new consumers convert, brands profit and communities improve: a win-win all around!

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