Is Your Brand Woke?

Over the past year, there has been a massive increase among Millennials and Gen Z in the volume of products they are purchasing. According to a recent report by Business of Fashion, these two groups now represent $350 billion of spending power in the US and will account for more than 40% globally by 2020.

It’s no secret that this younger generation spends far more on clothing, cars, and the latest technology than previous generations. However, it’s important to note that their spending habits also directly reflect their priorities: relatability, transparency and authenticity, and social good.

 

1. Marketing Mag // 2. Inc.
3. Marketing Mag // 4. Social Media Today

 

In order to keep up with this shift, brands must be ‘woke’ to what the younger generation is passionate about. What is ‘woke’, you ask? The term ‘woke’ refers to a perceived awareness of social and environmental matters such as #metoo, #blacklivesmatter, and #timesup. The industry considers brands ‘woke’ when they address these issues in their target messaging toward younger consumers.

Today, it is crucial for brands to fully understand what Millenials and Gen Z are talking about – and why – to maintain existing loyalty and attract new customers. Now, more than ever, consumers are buying more from brands that align with their own beliefs and concerns. This includes speaking about and supporting issues that have been previously deemed too controversial for brands to get involved with.

However, it’s not just younger audiences that believe companies have a responsibility to address these issues. Over two-thirds of consumers worldwide would actually switch brands if they weren’t in line with their point of view on controversial topics. This evidence proves consumers believe they are able to use their buying power to express and support their principles and beliefs.

There is an abundance of brands and retailers who understand the importance of appearing ‘woke’ and as a result have adopted a new marketing approach to reach the younger generation.

Nike supporting Colin Kaepernick as the face of the NFL players’ anthem protest, Gucci supporting a student-led march for gun control, or fashion designer Jeremy Scott selling a -T-shirt with the words “Tell your senator no on Kavanaugh” during the US Supreme Court hearings are all examples of huge brands getting on board with clear viewpoints regarding these issues.

While some companies are using their marketing messages to evolve their brand’s “wokeness”, some are going as far as to become B-corporations. A B-corp is a business that considers the impact of their decisions on people, society, and the planet. Specifically, among fashion companies, there’s been a huge rise in this switch, with brands such as All Birds, Eileen Fisher, and Athleta jumping on board. Business of Fashion predicts that there will be at least one $500 million-plus company that becomes a B-corp by the end of 2019.

Although some say it’s too risky for brands to either express their beliefs through marketing messages or convert to a B-corporation, these woke brands understand that being involved in everyday conversations is a must in today’s retail game. The goal is simply to not only attract a new, younger audience but to also foster customer loyalty which is by far a greater reward in the long run.

Wokeness is equally important, if not more so, for brands to carry out at the wholesale level. Brands need to be communicating their messaging effectively to retailers if they want their story to be told correctly to their consumers. B2B platforms, like NuORDER, can help brands market their vision through campaign and merchandising tools and help sell their message from the top down.

To learn how NuORDER can help you tell your brand story, request a demo or reach out to your account manager today.