Do brands have a duty of care to support inclusivity?
A particular trend has been seen with millennial consumers— they flock to companies that are evidencing there efforts rather than those that are all talk. Powerful mission statements are own thing, but if you fail to put your money where your mouth is you could easily lose your millennial customer base. An active investment in finding solutions to social problems is a millennial priority, both for brands they shop at and brands they work for.
Brands talk a lot about inclusivity, but as the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. Most consumers want to see their favourite brands taking action and making real steps towards inclusivity. Brands need to go further than pledging support and really make some changes.
Read on to find out which brands are leagues ahead when it comes to social inclusivity.
Gola Shoes and Veganism
Veganism took the world by storm in 2019. As a result of this, it is no surprise that we are seeing more and more brands making an effort to include this important lifestyle choice into their range. According to statistics from the Vegan Society, the number of British vegans had quadrupled from 2014–2018. But while most news headlines concerning veganism tend to be around the growing choice of food options available meat and dairy free, brands are also increasingly aware of their own products containing animal products.
Footwear brand, Gola, is setting an excellent example and striding ahead in the world of vegan fashion. Gola is the go-to place to find vintage, colourful, and bold silver trainers. With their new online ‘vegan’ badge and dedicated vegan section, customers can easily locate a range of footwear options that are free from animal materials and components. The shoes have undergone intensive Ve-MAP chemical testing that identifies any trace of animal DNA from chemicals within Gola’s footwear and the manufacturing process, meaning customers can be assured of their purchase. In addition, all Gola vegan styles are registered with the Vegan Society, the oldest vegan organisation in the world. Founded in 1944 the Vegan Society is a world leader in its field and Gola has partnered with them to give customers additional reassurances. It’s a widely varied range too, with everything from celebrity-picked women’s classic tennis Mark Cox trainers, sported by actress Kristen Stewart’s stylist girlfriend, Sara Dinkin, to the timeless white and black contrast men’s classic trainers.
Morrisons and Autism
Morrisons is going to impressive lengths to meet the needs of its customers. The supermarket chain introduced a new ‘Quieter Hour’ scheme across all of its stores in 2018, working alongside the National Autistic Society. The supermarket explained that it is aware that the experience of shopping can be a difficult one for those with autism, or parents with autistic children. At best, it can be an anxious endeavour; at worst, it can be overstimulating and terrifying.
Morrisons has recently introduced a ‘Quieter Hour’ which takes place om designated Saturday mornings between 9am and 10am with the aim to reduce autistic shoppers’ anxiety. During this time, the lights are dimmed, the music is turned off and tannoy announcements are reduced to the bare minimum. Staff also reduce the movement of stock trollies and the checkout sounds are turned down. This makes for a quieter and hopefully more enjoyable experience for customers who find an excess of noise and movements a struggle to get through.
Hopefully, the coming years will see many brands following in these pioneering footsteps. While companies and brands can’t, and shouldn’t, present themselves to be resolving these societal problems entirely, their efforts to stand for something certainly don’t go unnoticed.
Jeffree Star Cosmetics and the LGBTQ+ community
Widely considered one of the ‘original’ internet celebrities, Jeffree Star has 13 million YouTube subscribers, 3 million Twitter followers and 11.8 million Instagram followers. And this celebrity entrepreneur, make-up artist, and singer didn’t stop there!
As a key figure within the LGBTQ+ community, Star instantly used his fame to give back to the community that supported him throughout his life. One of the best examples of this came in the form of his cosmetics company, Jeffree Star Cosmetics, partnering with the Los Angeles LGBT Centre. Star launched a new product bundle specifically for this — the rainbow-coloured ‘Equality’ bundle, which contained a rainbow of liquid lip products. Proceeds up to $125,000 were donated to the centre in June 2018.
Another way that Star has used his earnings for a good cause is when used all of the money he earned through discount code links with Jouer to donate towards the centre as well. Given his popularity among the digital generations, it’s clear that Star knows exactly what his customers want — for the brands and icons they follow to make meaningful gestures towards solving social problems.