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In ‘uncertain times’ brands have hurried to capitalise on Covid as a marketing tool to varying levels of success, so how does a brand communicate their ethical stance effectively?

As brands become increasingly involved in the political landscape by promoting societal change and advertising its own ethical choices, the consumer has become more wary of how brands leverage their position to benefit themselves rather than society at large.

The term ‘woke washing’ has become popularised to describe the PR driven efforts to claim the title of a socially responsible business, while continuing the same ethically questionable practices. As consumers get wiser to this practice, brands run the risk of turning away customers through their shallow efforts to connect themselves to social causes.

Reflecting societal changes can be a huge influence on a brands overall identity and the consumers connection with the brand. But simply promoting or tying your brand to inclusivity, gender equality or racial diversity is not enough to convince the most savvy consumers.

Taking a stance is obviously not without its drawbacks. As our world becomes more polarised, taking a stance on a social issue is bound to upset some. So when considering attaching a social issue to your brand, you must first consider your target demographic.

For example, outdoor wear brand Patagonia.

Patagonia continues to make news as its strong political and environmental views both upset its detractors and strengthens its bond with its core demographic. Highlighting its practices through ethical production, low wastage and a number of environmental programs, brands like these show its customer that they are reinvesting their wealth in a conscious effort in ways their core demographic would appreciate.

By focusing and emphasising the brands environmentally ethical product and practices, the brand can confidently continue to position their brand towards a particularly mindful consumer. As we look to the to the future for the next consumer trends, identifying and targeting these particular demographics with
particular ethical considerations, follow the lead of brands like Patagonia who show they are willing to put their money where their brand is.

The impact of this growing class of mindful consumers isn’t limited to environmental causes, as can be seen in the growing circular market. As the popularity of third-party resellers (StockX, Depop) has represented a significant lost opportunity up until this point, major retailers like Ikea and The Iconic are now rushing to get a piece of the action. As consumers grow more conscious of the waste they produce and the labor involved in creating their products, there is a now a growing market for the resale of most goods.

Modern consumers may be more sceptical than ever, but they are also more willing to align themselves with likeminded individuals and brands that are more than just talk.

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Author Taylor Wright

Hi, I’m Taylor. A professional photographer, videographer and all-around content creator living in Hobart, Tasmania.

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