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Why 2022 signals the ‘conscious’ commerce trend
Wed, 23rd Feb 2022
FYI, this story is more than a year old

With the rise of the eco and ethically-mindful generation, consumers scrutinise retailers more than ever before. As a result, more companies are making sustainable business decisions, ranging from ensuring products are cruelty-free to profit-sharing with charities.

More and more consumers will only back companies that have a purpose. A global study highlighted consumers are four to six times more likely to champion brands with a strong purpose. In another Accenture study, 63% of surveyed global consumers prefer to purchase products and services from companies that stand for a purpose that reflects their own values and beliefs and will avoid companies that don't.

In the past decade, there has been a rise in the number of organisations involved in purpose-driven commerce. However, it is not just not-for-profit and charities getting involved in purpose-driven commerce; big corporations are putting their finger in the purpose pie. This can be seen on the 2021 Purpose Power Index, where organisations like 3M, Tesla and LG Corp were in the top 20 Purpose Brands.

The birth of conscious consumerism

Feed founder Lauren Bush Lauren explains that when she was beginning Feed, Product Red and TOMS were also starting their purpose-driven commerce journey.

"This was the birth of conscious consumerism and customers starting to pay more attention to the products they're buying, the ethos of the brand and what they're supporting behind closed doors. I've seen it evolve into activism consumerism, where people are not only purchasing from companies that align with their personal values but also boycott companies with values they don't support," Lauren says.

When Lauren started Feed, many organisations would sit on the sidelines and let societal problems and issues play out. An Edelman Trust Survey recently found that business has become the most trusted institution for consumers. The survey suggested that there's been a significant loss of trust in media, government organisations and NGOs, which has prompted people to look at businesses in carrying that mantle.

The survey also highlighted that CEOs should be outspoken over societal problems and take action where the government is staying idle.

"It's interesting where people and consumers are placing their trust and expectations nowadays. It is more interesting to be a business leader now because not only do you need to run your business and be mindful about your products and services, you also need to be able to do so very consciously and mindfully," Lauren explains.

"The pandemic has really focused us. We're omnichannel, we have a brick and mortar store in Brooklyn that's been open and closed, and open again. But if anything, the pandemic focused our strategy online into reaching customers in new and different ways and building that virtual community."

How to become a purpose-driven company

For organisations that are looking to become a purpose-driven company, Lauren says they need to ground their company around the purpose.

"Customers can sniff out when something is good washing or greenwashing. The benefit you have from starting from scratch is the purpose of your business can be established from day one. You don't have to reinvent it, and you don't have to rewrite it in five years," she explains.

"The benefits of having a purpose is that it helps you recruit other dedicated like-minded people to your company. They too are looking for companies that share a purpose at the core of their DNA. But showcasing that purpose joyfully and authentically to your customers and employees, it gives businesses an opportunity to build a community. Using that community can be very beneficial to your brand."