Fueled by the Internet and its unbound access to information, consumers have pulled back the curtain, they see what your doing, and they're not happy about it.
The bottomline is: brands must evolve or die. Aspirational brands are the ones poised for the biggest changes because of who their customer is--the influencers, and the influencers can move the market. I'm not talking about the influencers you can pay for--I'm talking about the real influencers. The ones that can't be bought because even though you don't know who they are--the impact of their style choices can be felt across the globe.
I've been following these influencers and watching them grow in number for ten years. I'm not sure what they were doing 10 years ago, most likely they were still in High School, because that's the other thing you need to know--these influencers aren't the older population anymore...nope, in large part--these are straight-up Millennials, and they're a massive force that's going to change everything about everything we know today, and thought we knew yesterday.
To keep things simple, I'm going to call this person "The Good Consumer." Like most prestige brand consumers, they're highly educated, have a HHI, and are design driven across every vertical. From their shoes to their toothpaste, it needs to fit into their aesthetic, it needs to jive with their personal landscape. Increasingly, the attributes of their brands need to match their personal values. They ponder their choices carefully, they doing most of their homework online. This doesn't mean they're change-agents--this they are not. The anti-revolutionaries actually believe in capitalism, because capitalism (mostly) works for them. "The Good Consumer" is basically an "in-betweener" who cares about the world, but isn't really into inconveniencing themselves too much.
People who fit "The Good Consumer" profile wear TOMs and go to St. Barth's.They buy organic, use paraben free beauty products, and use no-VOC paint on their walls. But only if it comes in the colors they want. They keep their ears to the ground for new information about products and brands because "The Good Consumer" is also an information junky. Increasingly they're looking for the good factor for pretty much everything they spend money on. They want to know the truth behind the label, and brands should really be watching this person.
So what's your good factor? If you don't know, you need to find out. Start by answering these three questions:
1. Can you map the supply chain of every item you produce back to the very beginning.
2. Do you know what the "second life" or the "after life" of your product is.
3. Are you taking real concrete steps to incorporate positive impact elements within your core competencies.
Most businesses get stopped at number one. The production process of most products sold on the market today is so convoluted that even the business owner has no idea who is making their stuff on the micro-level. The persistence of unfair labor practices in the world means keeping it a mystery is what's best for their profit margins. But you need to know that your customer expects you to carry your ethics with you globally. They want to support brands that are doing the right thing. Or at least, brands that are trying to do the right thing. Most importantly--you need to be brutally, shamelessly, passionately honest.
What to talk about your brand's "good factor"? Get in touch!
Something to think about: