Since 2015, thousands of companies, including Meta, have committed to partnering with the United Nations Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) to achieve established targets by 2030.1 Consumer’s desire for brands to address these challenges has only accelerated and it has impacted all aspects of the consumer journey, especially purchasing decisions. In fact, a Kantar study commissioned by Meta found that 56 percent of consumers globally say it’s very important that the brands they buy from support the same values they believe in.2
The evolution of expectations
This evolving sentiment is reflected in a recent McKinsey Consumer Pulse Survey. As the economy reopens, 30 to 40 percent of consumers continue to switch brands, driven primarily by younger consumers putting greater emphasis on purpose-driven alignment and quality.3 At the same time, a Meta- commissioned Ipsos study revealed that half of surveyed Millennials and Generation Z say only the brands that share their values are able to earn their loyalty.4
Notably, this fundamental shift in how consumers evaluate an organization’s commitment to sustainability, values and corporate best practices is increasingly happening on platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
Fashion Leading the Way
Meta believes fashion brands have an opportunity to shepherd good for the world business practices that could set an example for other industries looking for a path forward on similar challenges.
“Fashion has always been a catalyst to push forward cultural shifts, and this is no different for social good,” said Elizabeth Choo, Meta Client Partner, U.S. Luxury Retail. “Fashion allows people to express themselves boldly about personal beliefs and the things they care about, enabling brands with the unique position to collaborate with consumers and empower them to signal the change.”
Recognizing that social good isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy for companies, Meta has developed a three-part decision framework encouraging fashion brands to ask questions about authenticity, relevancy, and value at the core of any brand’s initiative.
“As your brand’s purpose becomes an important component in how people are evaluating your brand, it‘s essential to ask yourself: Is what you’re about to do authentic to your brand, relevant to your customers, and creating meaningful value to a community or cause?” asked Sarah Richards, Meta Client Partner, U.S. Fashion & Luxury Retail.
Business and people coming together
As an inaugural global partner in the United Nation SDG initiative, Meta has made long-term, company-wide investments with the goal of creating a more sustainable future for everyone, including achieving net-zero emissions in our global operations, and committing to being water-positive by 2030.5
For people around the world, the company understands that social impact fosters community by empowering people to make the world a better place. Meta’s free tools have helped raise more than $5 billion in charitable giving, provided real-time crisis response to emergency workers across the globe, helped blood banks recruit and retain donors, and provided a connection for millions of people who share their interests and passions with others around social good in Facebook Groups.
These same tools are available for eligible companies looking to connect with their customers one on one on issues that are important to them.
“Fashion not only invents, but quickly embraces new ways to reach and excite people; many fashion brands were first to embrace Facebook and Instagram to successfully connect with their customers through our platforms,” said Choo. “We want these same brands to consider broadening the types of storytelling they activate on our platform to include narratives around what they’re doing around social good.”
In an Ernst & Young post-pandemic attitudes survey, one-third of consumers strongly agree that they will reappraise the things they value most and not take things for granted, impacting brand loyalty and overall consumption patterns.6 Cause marketing is a great place for a fashion brand to tap into this sentiment by aligning with organizations their customers care about and inviting them to engage and participate in social good challenges together as a community.
“As people turn to social communities to learn more, connect with others, and get involved in social good initiatives, it’s imperative for brands to put themselves at the center of where these conversations are taking place,” said Richards.
Examples include, promoting Bulgari and Save the Children’s 10 year partnership together. In 2020, the team mobilized more than 50 influencers to post personal Instagram Stories from their own profiles to request donations on #GivingTuesday using the Donate sticker. Bulgari supported the campaign with video ads and collections ads to drive sales of the collection where part of the proceeds from jewelry sales went directly to Save the Children.
“Fashion marketers need to acknowledge that the reasons why a consumer purchases a product has evolved,” said Richards. “As the economy reopens, consumers are looking for intrinsic social value as a motivator to considering buying something.”
tentree, a sustainable lifestyle apparel company, has integrated social value into their brand mission. The Fall Collection is their most eco-friendly collection ever, using new innovations in sustainable fabrics and streamlining their production process. By planting 10 trees for every purchase, tentree hopes to make big change accessible to everybody by showing the lasting impact one small choice can have.
Communities are vital for mobilizing key causes. A brand sharing and supporting their goals with their community can impact brand loyalty and brand advocacy.
Stella McCartney’s commitment to sustainability is evident throughout all her collections and is part of the brand’s ethos of being a responsible, honest, and modern company. For their Autumn 2021 collection launch, Stella McCartney’s Facebook and Instagram campaign celebrated the animal kingdom and highlighted that all species should live in harmony together. In addition, the brand partnered with the humane society to drive awareness and sign ups of their petition to ban fur. This approach directly ladders back to one of the causes the brand cares about most and allows for authentic and relevant connection with their community.
Notably, Gen Z consumers are using technology to harness the power of community in unprecedented ways, including the ability to create compelling messages that go viral and grow into movements they’re passionate about. Brands signaling to this group about their passion for something bigger than themselves are finding new ways to align with customers on a deeper level.
Ultimately, brands need to act now and communicate their commitments to the causes and communities that their consumers care about regularly and with transparency. Meta provides a suite of solutions designed to meet people how and where they’re at in the moment.
Ralph Lauren connected with consumers about their sustainability goals through Facebook and Instagram video and static formats as part of their Earth Polo campaign. The Earth Polo is Ralph Lauren’s sustainability take on the classic Polo, designed with Mother Nature in mind as it’s made from 12 plastic bottles and dyed using a waterless dyeing process.
The Power of Storytelling Will Bring Us Together
“Purpose and social good are more important than ever as consumers increasingly expect companies to not only step up and do the right thing, but to step in and help lead the way in the conversation and solutions to societal issues,” said Richards.
As brands rise to this challenge of igniting the trust and loyalty of customers today and tomorrow, it’s clear that social good has moved beyond a single advertising campaign or something that lives in the marketing department. Doing good is now essential for the long-term success and value of any organization.
“Our shared struggles and experiences during the pandemic created a need to be closer together,” said Choo. “For fashion brands, it’s an opportunity to become more committed to supporting and helping our communities, becoming involved in solutions that renew our social connections, and building a more trusting, long-term relationship between businesses and people.”
Building for what’s next
To explore more fashion thought leadership from Meta, read more on The Fashion Report, a chapterized thought leadership series HERE. Be on the lookout for Chapter 4 in 2022.
Meta is constantly working to increase ad transparency and integrity across its platforms. As such, the company has established measures to promote authenticity and legitimacy for anyone wishing to run ads about social issues, elections or politics. To learn more, click HERE.
1. Sustainable Development Goals. United Nations. (n.d.). Retrieved October 29, 2021, from https://sdgs.un.org/goals. 2. Facebook IQ “Industry Micro-Shifts Monthly Tracker” by Kantar Profiles (Meta-commissioned online survey of 96,938 adults across AU, BR, CA, DE, ES, FR, HK, ID, IN, IT, JP, KR, MX, TW, UK, US), May-Aug 2020. 3. “US Consumer Sentiment and Behaviors During the Coronavirus Crisis”, by McKinsey & Company, August 2021. 4.“Global CPG Re-emerge Study” by Ipsos (Meta-commissioned online survey of 44,899 people age 18+ across AU, BR, CA, DE, FR, IN, JP, MX, SK, TH, UK, US), Jul-Aug 2020. 5. INC, F. (2021, August 19). Sustainability at Meta. Meta Sustainability. https://sustainability.fb.com/. 6. “US Future Consumer Index 7: How to Balance Optimistic and Hesitant Consumers”, by Ernst and Young Global Limited, June 2021.