Everything we buy and use has an impact on the environment and on people. An increasingly energized citizenry is part of a new reality that calls for new rules for managing brands and reputation.Many factors have contributed to more people feeling a greater need to take action. Strident polarization is among the most obvious, with tribes forming along various points of social and political spectrums.
There is also a stunning crisis of trust, with consumer faith in all public institutions dropping precipitously, according to the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer. Government rings in with only a third of the nation trusting that institution, and 57 percent stating that the overall system has failed them.
Another new reality is that these untrusting consumers now look to brands to join them in the business of making the world better . More and more, purchasers expect to see businesses put their values on display and do more than simply sell products and pursue profits. Remaining silent on the sidelines is less and less of an option, as silence can be viewed as complicity, a social/political statement in itself.
If you’re used to taking comfort thinking of millennials as primarily the ones who are socially energized and likely care about brands taking a stand, think again. The Washington Post-Kaiser Family poll showed that close to half of these activists are 50 and older, with more than a third earning over $100,000. Almost 4 in 5 have had at least some college education, with half having completed college and post-graduate study. Men and woman show up in equal numbers, with a large portion of them living in the suburbs.
You may not realize it, but you have a lot of political power–not at the voting booth, but in the checkout line. In this new age of consumer activism, buyers are sending strong signals to companies with impressive results. No longer do consumers want to be the passive recipients of marketing messages, trained to purchase things they don’t want. They’re using their wallet as a weapon and fighting back.
At Traces of the World we give conscious female consumers the chance to connect, support and empower the artisan groups with who we collaborate through their purchase decisions. Long term, we’re building up a community of makers and consumers that will invent further sustainable solutions.