Every brand is born from a purpose. But should brands have a higher purpose? Or, has doing good become the latest trend? Causes such as diversity, gender equality and pride have seemingly become commodities. What we should be asking is, are brands doing good for a genuine reason? Or are they simply piggybacking onto a cause for their own self-promotion?
In today’s climate, we can’t sit on the side-lines. Brands should use their profiles to do good, whether that’s on a macro or micro level. As a brand, you are going to have to both articulate, and defend, your values because your consumers are watchful and constantly engaged; social media has provided them with the perfect instant feedback platform.
Having worked with huge clothing factories in China, Yael Aflalo, founder of the fashion brand Reformation, decided to do something about the industry’s extreme wastefulness. Her ambition? To make sustainability sexy. Adopting a sarcastic, dry tone for their comms, Reformation became the total antithesis to the conversations that were ongoing around sustainability.
Reformation’s purpose rings true because it embodies the values the company was built on, something all brands entering this space should take note of. Their message “Being naked is the #1 most sustainable option. We’re #2,” quickly transcended into the real world, and found a voice at the heart of the bigger global message of sustainability.
A brand’s purpose cannot be chosen tactically. It cannot be a flash in the pan, a glittering exploit that generates a moment in the spotlight for the brand. Purpose should always be more than making money, with a human, not commercial, purpose at its heart.
“Creative people are empathetic people. Our job is to sell stuff, but we can add another layer on that. We can use our creativity to move the needle.” David Droga, when he was accepting the Lion of St Mark award at Cannes earlier this year
We need to use our voices, and those mouthpieces we have at our disposal, to be part of a bigger global conversation and generate positive change. Our job may be to sell stuff, but we have the ability, and responsibility, to move the needle.