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Conscious branding: why brands are complying with new-age consumer choices?

Some leading and emerging brands are already setting examples towards becoming brand conscious, while many others are already making changes towards becoming one.

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Drastic changes in consumers’ choices towards a healthier lifestyle transform the go-to-market strategy of leading and emerging brands.  As stated in the Nielsen report, “two-thirds of consumers across the globe said they would pay more for products from companies committed to having a positive social and environmental impact.” 

Due to this recent trend seen in consumer choices, all brands have to make their products and services comply with the four value drives: Health and Wellness, Safety, Social Impact, and Transparency.  

Table of contents

  1. What is conscious branding?
  2. Brands that are socially responsible
  3. How technology allows brands to demonstrate that they are conscious?
  4. Why should brands become conscious?

Some leading and emerging brands are already setting examples towards becoming brand conscious, while many others are already making changes towards becoming one. Read on to find out which brands lead a conscious branding journey and how they are doing it. 

What is conscious branding, and why is it so closely related to transparency? 

Conscious branding embraces ethical business practices and integrates social and environmental responsibility at its core while creating transparency and accountability to create value and rise over the competition.

Apart from this, a conscious brand can provide or serve as a platform to advocate or educate on a specific topic, or as stated by Shantini Munthree, president of BRANDKIND Marketing, to “take a stance on a larger social, political or cultural debate.” 

Conscious branding goes beyond sustainable branding -which focus is on elements and practices that ensure less impact on the environment, such as zero waste management and renewable energy-. It covers more than responsible branding, which focuses on the effect that a brand’s activities can have on communities and the social environment, such as equity, fair labor, and local living. 

conscious branding

Conscious branding adds to these efforts a long-term vision in which its presence in the marketplace adds up because it meets the demands or needs of its audience while becoming part of the solution to concrete and pressing problems. 

The rise of conscious brands worldwide comes directly from the increase of a brand-conscious consumer that better understands his rights and obligations as a part of the market staging. 

The challenge for conscious brands is to offer products that align with consumers’ beliefs and prove their claims are true. Transparency and demonstrability are crucial for any brand expecting to survive in a moment where social responsibility is no longer an add-on to make a brand look good. Instead, today’s consumers need facts in exchange for their loyalty and the possibility of advocating for them. 

Food and fashion industry brands in full speed ahead to socially responsible labels 

Food and fashion are two of the industries that have the most significant impact on the environment. Both for the enormous quantities of water used for crops and the carbon emissions generated in its production and disposal. 

“Cotton is one of the most water-consuming crops- according to WWF, “It takes 20,000 liters to grow 1 kg of cotton, which is the amount needed to make a T-shirt and a pair of jeans.”  

Fashion Brands like Rothy’s use single-use plastic water bottles and different renewable organic materials to manufacture their products. 

The central claim of the clothing brand Tentree is to plant- as stated in its name-  ten trees for every item purchased while offering its customers the opportunity to track the growth of their trees with a code. 

The food industry is also under scrutiny for its environmental implications and concerns, ranging from crop water management, pesticides, clean energy, fair labor, and gender equality.  

Agri-food brands like OLAM Agro, with its adherence to UN’s Sustainable Rice Platform, are examples of conscious brands for the agriculture category. In addition, they have achieved complete transparency thanks to blockchain technology for their supply chain, leading the way for Agri-food brands looking to build trust with customers. 

How technology allows brands to demonstrate that they are, in fact, conscious? 

Brands are only as strong as their supply chain. That´s the reason why the latest trend is to make the supply chain fully traceable for every agent involved, all the way from the producer to the end consumer. And the only way to achieve this is through traceability using blockchain technology

The operational advantage it offers goes far beyond controlling every stage of the process, from the raw product to its transformation into the final product. This coupling between supply chain and blockchain technology allows brands like Timios to ensure complete food safety– a key component for a baby food brand- and to find areas of opportunity, facilitate decision-making, and transform them eco-conscious from the ground up. 

What’s in it for brands to become conscious? 

The business climate is being rapidly reshaped by consumers’ demands for socially responsible brands. As stated in a report by MWWPR, 

“not only do 90% of consumers say they’re more likely to patronize companies that take a stand on social and public policy matters, but 80% say they’ll even pay more for products from such brands.” 

This pattern of brands embracing a social responsibility approach is also being noted by investors and followed too. According to Morgan Stanley’s Investment Institute, “65% of individual investors expect sustainable investing to increase over the next five years, and concluded that millennial investors are nearly twice as likely to invest in companies or funds that target specific social or environmental outcomes.” 

From a branding standpoint, choosing social responsibility and complete accountability as their growth strategy means being one step ahead to support companies’ claims, generate brand experience, increase brand trust, and generate competitive advantage, leading to conscious branding. Click here to find out what benefits these agri-food brands have achieved by becoming fully transparent.  

Brands across all sectors are waiting for the consumer to point the way. So let’s choose the right one, for we all have a responsibility to be part of a more resilient, safer, and fairer future.