One positive from 2020 is we are seeing the emergence of more ‘conscious brands’. A conscious brand is one that is aware of its surroundings and isn’t afraid to take a position on key social and political issues.
These include areas brands previously saw as “no go” areas such as race, climate change and privilege in society. It’s about taking a stand and making a difference, something that is important for brands if they want to remain relevant.
There are some that are definitely doing it right! To avoid excess waste Ikea recently announced that they would buy back your furniture that you no longer wanted and in return they would give you an Ikea voucher.
John Lewis last year announced a buy back scheme to combat the amount of clothes ending up in landfills. Customers bring their preloved clothes to the store in return for payment per item showing their desire to help build a more sustainable industry.
Oatly, an oat milk company from Sweden, has been praised for their effort in trying to combat greenhouse emissions through their whole production process and how they sell their products. For them it’s the proper process rather than the profits that are more important.
There has been a shift in what has been called ‘pretend purpose’ and instead of just “badging” it’s important businesses are seen to drive real action.
Brands need to aim to be empathetic and communicate in a ‘human’ way. If they can show a better understanding of cultural context and their customers motivations they will increase their relevance and their market share.
Brands must now ask themselves what they believe in and stand up for that. They don’t have to stand for everything but to stand for something is important. A good example is Headspace who decided to offer free yearly subscriptions to people that had been made unemployed in the pandemic.
Let’s hope that 2020 will continue to see more brands fall under the ‘conscious brand’ header, and in doing the right thing socially, environmentally and morally see a positive impact on their business.
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