Read This. Save Lives.

Coffee with purpose. Shoes with purpose. Glasses with purpose. Lingerie with purpose. Granola with purpose. From TOMS and Warby Parker to Naja, do-good consumerism has been all the rage. The promise: do (and feel) good while spending, eating, wearing and experiencing this too—a win-win scenario.

Nowadays, it seems more and more consumers are seeking out these options. In fact, 90% of Americans say they’re more likely to trust and stay loyal to companies that actively try to make a difference. Case in point, I choose to frequent and support
two coffee joints near our office—COFFEED and Think Coffee—because of their commitment to community and sustainability respectively.

More and more brands have the power to push important issues to the forefront, helping us think about how we consume and the causes that deserve our attention and support.

But the preponderance of brands new and old proclaiming a social bent or impact causes one to wonder, at what point is social consumerism really capitalism in disguise, another marketing gimmick just to sell more stuff? Unfortunately, not every brand is credible, which can start to build a healthy dose of skepticism among consumers.

As a brand that is legitimately doing good, how do you break through in an increasingly crowded and noisy landscape, and stand apart from brands whose social intent is more lip service than reality? There are four key questions to keep in mind:

  • Is it clear? Do people understand your brand’s social mission and what it’s trying to achieve?
  • Is it authentic? Does it feel genuine coming from your brand? Does it make sense for your brand and business?
  • Is it compelling? Is it something people can get behind? Is there a real need?
  • Is it actionable? The social mission needs to be more than a feel good story. Beyond the initial point of sale, can you deliver on your promise? Can you demonstrate how the brand with the support of consumers has made an impact?

For any brand that’s looking to successfully incorporate a social mission and drive business and social impact, I challenge you to ask and answer these questions.