Everlane uses the concept of "radical transparency' as the focus of their brand story.

Everlane uses the concept of "radical transparency' as the focus of their brand story.

You take pride in your socially responsible business and the superior products it sells. And you're super passionate about making the world a better place. But, like far too many independent ethical businesses out there, you may be experiencing some major roadblocks on the path to success. And there's a good chance one of them is effective storytelling.

I remember coming across research that suggested only 15% of consumers regularly make purchasing choices based on eco and social factors. Fewer than a quarter of consumers are paying for products and services based primarily on what’s good for the environment, the planet and other people! Which goes to show that while we can (and often) think of others, it's human nature to focus on serving the self first and foremost. Meaning we'll go for the eco purse, but only if it's also stylish and functional.

Forward-thinking businesses often make the mistake of speaking only to that tiny segment of true blue conscious consumers ... and alienating everyone else. For example, they use specific images, language and symbols that turn off or confuse potential customers. When what they should be doing is simultaneously speaking to that 15% in addition to a much wider audience. 

The good news: it's doable! There are companies who are successfully building their businesses through killer conscious branding.

 Zady is committed to raise awareness about the worst issues in the fashion industry.

Zady is committed to raise awareness about the worst issues in the fashion industry.

I heard Zady co-founder, Maxine Bedat, explain her company’s philosophy (which has helped them become one of the most successful sustainable fashion companies). She admitted a revealing fact: they never use the word sustainable. With hashtags like #thenewstandard, they convey their commitment to transparency ... without going too heavy on the green messaging. 

Everlane is another e-commerce fashion company that also focuses on what they call 'radical transparency.' They've rolled it out across their brand identity, using social media hashtags like #knowyourfactories, and producing high quality, minimalist fashion that is incredibly popular with urban millennials. They share photo essays of their production facilities around the world, and post detailed cost breakdowns so customers understand the price points of their products. They even dedicated profits on Black Friday to support a social investment project at a partner manufacturer in China.

These brands have found visuals, phrases and meanings that align with their standards of practice and  guiding values, yet are embraced by a much wider audience. And that is powerful, because it makes them relevant to the mainstream! If anything, far from "selling out," their fresh take on cohesive storytelling has driven stronger customer loyalty and helped them transition from start-ups to seriously successful companies. Ones that are seen as thought leaders in the industry; who participate in the broader fashion conversation and not-for-profit global campaigns like Fashion Revolution Week.

Every conscious brand has the opportunity to take a similar approach; learn how to reflect your story and values to consumers in an inclusive way. And So Ripe Social can help by assessing your brand position, building your brand story and supporting your business with a strategy to sell your products. Join us for a free consultation and we’ll show you how.

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