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Inspirational Brands

Leading the Way

For many decades, as consumerism grew at a rapid rate across the world, consumers aspired to purchase the best possible products, acquire as much of them as possible, and show those products off via social media.

Over the last 3+ years, however, a major paradigm shift has occurred where customers now care more about the mission of the brands they purchase from in addition to the quality of the product. I like to call it the anti-brand brand movement. Customers now want to be asked where they bought that shirt or sofa not so they can brag about the name of the brand, but so they can share a story about the artisan who made that item and how that item’s durability will decrease environmental impact over the next X number of years.

The brands that have taken up this mindset over the last 3+ years as an authentic value proposition have started to soar. Brands like GREATS and United by Blue intertwine their missions directly into the fabric of their messaging and actions, and use their platforms as an opportunity to improve society.

Conversely, corporate behemoths often have realities that run counter to their messaging, and are constantly being called out. Cancel culture is real, and while we can discuss and debate the political nature of cancel culture all day long, the reality is that inauthenticity will be sniffed out immediately, so brands should highlight their virtuous values and mission-driven ways even more. The ones that do will likely withstand the political winds and change consumer mindsets over the coming years and beyond.

With that, here are some recent examples that stood out to us during the Black Lives Matter protests over the past month:

  • Adidas outlined a specific course of action for increasing diversity among employees and leadership and donating to various black community organizations.
  • Aurora James, founder and creative director of accessories brand Brother Vellies, challenged retailers with The 15% Pledge — a call for multi-brand retailers to increase their offering of Black-owned brands to a minimum of 15%.
  • Sephora and Rent The Runway committed to stocking 15% of shelf space with black owned brands.
  • Sharon Chuter, founder of Uoma Beauty, started the campaign, "Pull Up For Change" to encourage companies to transparently show the diversity across their company and leadership team.
  • Pattern brands issued a statement to their customers outlining specific steps it’s taking, including mentorship programs, donations, and providing meals to those in need.
  • Glossier is committing $500k to organizations fighting racial injustice and $500k to fund black-owned beauty businesses. It also has shared data about its current team and leadership to hold themselves publicly accountable.

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