As we slide further down the spiral of politicians and large corporates showing us ever more contempt in regard to morality and genuine care, there are some brands who are beginning to recognise that in order to be trusted and build long-term relationships, they need to do more. They need to demonstrate that they care, have integrity, and want to do the right thing, regardless of just focusing on the money.
This is borne-out by research which suggests that consumers respond better to brands that display corporate responsibility, with 73% of people believing that companies should do more than just offer a product or service.
As it happens, many brands are now looking into doing their bit, commonly drawing up ‘social good’ strategies to raise money or fight for a chosen cause. However, more often than not, this is done somewhat behind-the-scenes and not as part of a consumer-facing strategy.
An organisation that has given it some thought is Lacoste, who have now added to their famous crocodile logo in an effort to support ten endangered species.
For the first time in the fashion brand’s history, Lacoste has expanded its logo and added to the famous crocodile with ten endangered species, all of which face imminent threat of extinction. The launch marks Save the Species, a three-year partnership between Lacoste and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to support and raise awareness for endangered animals. The IUCN has been a global authority on the status of the natural world for 70 years.
Lacoste has worked closely with Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC Paris) and the IUCN to design the limited-edition logos, which are in the same embroidery style as the globally renowned crocodile. The French fashion company has correlated the number of available shirts with the number of animals that remain in the wild. This ranges from 30 shirts with Vaquita Porpoises on them to 450 Anegada Rock Iguana embroidered shirts. A total of 1,775 shirts have been made, each of which is selling for between £130 – £150. The money of each sale will be donated to the species’ conservation.
Although being socially responsible and caring shouldn’t just be a way of generating more business by creating an aura of caring, without doubt there are benefits for those organisations who choose to be more philanthropic, these include:
- The ability to have a positive impact in our world
- It encourages others to make similar commitments
- It increases the chances of being an employer of choice
- It encourages both professional and personal development
- It enhances relationships with clients
- It increases creativity
- It expands the potential customer target market size
A powerful brand cause sets out a company’s intent to change the world for the better and connects with consumers on a personal level. The rise in conscientious consumers means that we all need to think much more about the social, environmental, ecological and political position of our brand.
Having a brand cause isn’t a process that should be entered into lightly as it takes commitment and consistency. This is mainly because the risk of coming across as disingenuous can and usually does result in negative consequences, far worse than not having a cause in the first place. Get it right though, and the advantages of connecting with people on a personal level can be significant. The reason for this is that people see themselves in a brand and if the brand is caring, this reflects on them. A brand with a good cause creates brand advocates who recommend to friends and family, securing repeat business and a bigger following.
Whether you are big or small, having a cause can make a huge difference. The key is that when defining your brand cause, focus on making it real. Look for an emotional connection and a good reason to inspire true brand loyalty. It doesn’t end there, your cause needs to become part of you, so you need to monitor and nurture it constantly to ensure its continued sustainability, relevance and success in achieving the true reason of the cause.