In the corporate world, the word Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a well-known term. It was originally conceived as a way for corporations to have a positive impact on their employees, stakeholders, communities and the world at large. It’s a way to get businesses to stand for something; to stand for a cause.
In recent years, there’s been a lot of advocacy for fashion brands to integrate sustainability into their business processes. Sustainable fashion is a part of the growing design philosophy and movement towards environmental and social sustainability. The goal of which is to create a system which can be supported indefinitely in terms of human impact on the environment and social responsibility.
For a fashion brand to become sustainable, they need to identify from a wide range of business practices and see how they can integrate sustainability into their business models and purpose. For many companies they could make use of their vast resources to support non-profits and civic organizations dedicated to sustainability. For others, it’s sourcing the materials in a manner that is more environmentally safe. And others are taking smaller steps, such as recycling, or installing energy efficient and to whatever degree, companies can both help society and increase goodwill toward their brands.
Public Relations is about establishing and maintaining goodwill and image for your brand and it is evident that engraving CSR in your operations improves your marketing and sales efforts.
According to the 2015 Global Corporate Sustainability Report published by Nielsen, 66% of consumers will choose to spend more money on a product from a sustainable goods. Over 50% of them are influenced by key sustainability factors, such as a product being made from fresh, natural and/or organic ingredients (69%), a company being environmentally friendly (58%), and company being known for its commitment to social value (56%). Note that Sales, and Coupons didn’t even make the top five.
This in essence means fashion brands need to also integrate sustainable practices into their business processes if they want to win in this industry. Research has shown that there is a clear link between doing good for the community and doing well with consumers. Consumers are most likely to pay more for brands that are committed to a positive social and environmental impact.
In this era where consumers are inundated with so many options, their buying decisions to purchase one product over another is being driven by a multitude of factors. And to rise above competition, you must define the social purpose of your brand and fully understand your consumers by applying the different strategies that will work for both your brand and the consumer because consumers have become more conscious and demand it.
With the Easter Season a few days away, it will not be too late to explore the possibility of embarking on a social cause that will make an impact in your community and the society. Some ideas may include donating old cloths or products that weren’t purchased from previous collections to charity organization or raising funds through your Easter sales to support a cause that you or your organization is passionate about. Others may include making cash donations, engaging in community activities that improve the lives of others, providing resources such as skills-based training and financial support to your workers. I believe there are a host of many more ideas you can take on that supports your brand values and business goals.
This article was originally published in the Business and Financial Times Newspaper on 12/04/2019