How Sustainability and Influencers are Shaping Social Change

Global movements and social trends are changing the ways that brands interact with consumers and utilize influencers for brand awareness and connectivity. The mindset has shifted from me to we, and purpose led brands are on the rise.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen brands that have been on the receiving end of negative backlash for their stance (or lack thereof) on issues that affect our global community.

In this new period of profound visibility, we’re seeing how social media and technology are motivating individuals to speak their truth and stand firm in their beliefs with no fear. This time is propelling people to not only use their voices, but to also make smarter purchasing decisions.

Screen Shot 2021-04-23 at 12.48.46 PM

Companies are under the microscope of the world like never before as they make every effort to place themselves in a competitive advantage. Consumers are no longer making decisions solely based on pricing or product. They need to know what a brand stands for, and see the work being done to achieve those goals. A global study conducted by Accenture Strategy stated that “nearly 30,000 consumers found that 62 percent of customers want companies to take a stand on current and broadly relevant issues like sustainability, transparency or fair employment practices.”

More recently, we’ve seen more influencers speaking out negatively about the wastage that comes with receiving PR packages gifted without confirmation from the influencer. On the flip side of this, we’re seeing how brands are more vocal about their sustainability efforts, and influencers are shifting their views on partnerships to make sure that their values align with the brands. Unfortunately, we live in a time of “greenwashing” as well, so sometimes it isn’t as easy to separate the real from the faux.

Screen Shot 2021-04-23 at 12.48.54 PM

Greenwashing

What is greenwashing? Simply put, greenwashing is when a company puts forward a “positive” statement in regards to their environmental efforts without actually making any changes. Companies do this to make it seem like they’re speaking to an issue, when in reality, they’re looking to appease consumers and place themselves on the “right side” of the situation.

Green-washed products use ambiguous eco-friendly terminology to strategically make themselves more appealing to their target audience. In return, consumers purchase these products although they have been misled by the green initiatives and symbols that champion these claims made by companies.

Where do we go from here?

Sustainability has reached a tipping point. Brands are starting to realize their overall growth depends on it. As consumers are choosing more eco-conscious lifestyles, they’re also challenging brands — especially those that claim to advocate for sustainability in their company values — to reexamine their methods.

Ultimately, we’re seeing a huge shift in the ways in which they utilize influencers to reach and appeal to their target audiences as well. The days of one-off influencer partnerships are over. Brands are working to create exclusive, long-term partnerships with influencers to fit into their overall marketing strategy. As they know, consumers are more likely to support a product that they see an influencer promote for an extended period of time.

As consumers across the globe are exercising their power and demanding that changes are made, we’re seeing a shift in the overall brand-influencer-consumer relationship. Environmental concerns continue to rise globally, and younger consumers (Gen Zers + Millennials) are collectively more conscious than any other group. As they continue to demand transparency and accessibility, we’ll wait and see how brands continue to communicate and execute their stance on relevant issues and connect with consumers in a more purposeful way.

If you would like to guest contribute to our blog, simply drop the team an email and we’ll get back to you hello@takumi.com.