If you’re in business and not giving back in some capacity…you might want to think about getting started. Like…now. We live in a world of aspirational consumers, people who respond only to brands displaying some form of corporate responsibility. These tech-savvy, morally charged, young go-getters of the X, Y and Z generations demand you step-up and do some serious good in the world, and good on them too!
So…what are you waiting for?
To throw a stat at you, research suggests that 73% of consumers believe companies should do more than just offer a product or service…they should be standing for more or giving back, and if they’re not…they won’t get the sale.
Most businesses who’ve ‘made a splash,’ in the last decade have stood for something greater than themselves – because they want to, but also in order to thrive in a market of shoppers expecting them to, they simply have to.
Take All Birds for example, a $1.4 billion dollar company making shoes out of renewable and recycled materials. Environmentally conscious, the brand shouts its sustainability practices from the rooftops, falling on the ears of aspirational consumers who’re vowing to fix the mistakes of those who came before them. You can see the obvious synergies here.
In 2015 I formed Cadenshae, a clothing company that specialises in activewear for pregnant and new mothers. Our gear is designed to be ‘bump’ and ‘breastfeeding friendly.’ Fast forward a few years and Cadenshae is set to turnover close to $7 million next year. We’re no All Birds, but we punch above our weight and are now seen as the global leaders in our industry.
I found an untapped niche and serviced it. Sure – that’s one reason why we’ve experienced success, but another is the fact we stand for more. Our customers expect it, so we give it…
If you’re a company struggling in this area, take a look at the three things we concentrate on to appeal to these aspirational consumers. It works for us and could for you as well.
Stand For More (because you WANT to)
These days, you can’t send a press release out saying you’ve given a bunch of money to charity and call it a day. It’s not enough anymore. Create your own initiatives, preferably ones that interest your target market, and of course you too. You need to be genuinely behind your campaign and passionate about it, or else it won’t work. Create something that gives you all the, ‘feels.’ For us, we came up with an initiative called, ‘Sister Support,’ whereby women globally donate their used bras to local charities. We encourage our customers to give by gifting them 20% off any new product. Think of something that relates to your business and get cranking. As a bonus, it’s a great way to get some good P.R., but don’t let that be your main driver, you have to WANT to stand for more, or else these aspirational types will see right through it.
Heart Over Profit
We hear ‘profit is King,’ but sometimes having a heart comes first. Ask yourself what your customers would appreciate and act on it. For Cadenshae, we knew making things easier for moms was essential, so we ensured all our returns and exchanges would be free. It helped with sales, but what it really did was give customers faith in us, knowing that we get it, we’ve been there, we’re moms too. It may not have been profitable initially, but it’s led to some excellent reviews, and in turn, more sales. We found a lot of people really do read these reviews before purchasing, so it’s important to connect on a deeper level…for so many reasons.
Keep yourself at the forefront, and keep it real. Consumers these days are bombarded with falsities. False bodies, eye-lashes, muscles, personalities etc. I’m always speaking to my customers through social media, and there’s nothing fake in how I present myself. Some days I’m looking a mess, other days the kids are driving me mad and I express that, other days I am excited by a new product launch…whatever I’m talking about, I’m being me and I’m being real. This creates a solid and genuine connection with my customers and helps them to feel comfortable enough to contact me with issues, suggestions etc., which is essential – every business needs feedback to grow. Being open, honest, trustworthy and available has a huge flow on effect, resulting in increased sales and customer loyalty.
When it comes down to it, you have to give back and you have to want to as well. You must form a genuine connection with your target market and stand for more than just profit. Aspirational consumers expect more, so give it to them…you’ll get more out of it than you think.