Authentic brands – the consumer call going nowhere fast

Authentic brands – the consumer call going nowhere fast

Of all the beauty trends that have emerged over the years, one of the ones I love more than any other is the growing movement amongst heritage and indie brands, from China to the U.S., that donate proceeds or collaborate with worthwhile causes. I know, I know, this has always been the case – any clued-up marketing exec has a watertight CSR game plan in place to appease the humanitarian consumer (or perhaps just to do good with no self-serving motive – I’m sceptical too). But while the trend is longstanding, what is starting to change is the call for authenticity and longevity of these good will collaborations and causes.

A few weeks ago I discussed the growing phenomenon of the social media callout culture (which you can read here), and the grasp the anonymous keyboard warrior has over the beauty industry. And there are a few things this chorus of voices is striving for; accountability from brands, and authenticity. Back in June we discussed the number of companies coming out in support of Pride month – flying the rainbow flag in a bid to showcase their inclusivity credentials for the LGBTQ+ community. What we also looked at was how many of these so-called caring brands continued these donations and campaigns year-round? The answer? Not many. The same could also be said for Breast Cancer Awareness month et al.

Of course, that’s not the full story and there are many companies that strive to donate or team up with charitable organizations on an ongoing basis. Of the industry stalwarts, The Body Shop is a leading force in charitable initiatives and has teamed up with Tungteiya Women’s Association in northern Ghana to produce its shea products, as well as paying a premium to allow the women to invest in community products, according to Refinery29. Sephora also actively works to empower women through its Sephora stands program, donating $10 from every purchase of its Sephora Collection crimson Fearless lipstick and On The Go Retractable Brush to the campaign. Asian beauty and skin care line Balm Kitchen gives back to charities such as Bone Marrow Donor Programme Singapore and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) while Kiehls is well known for its charitable efforts through its Kiehls Made Better initiative with singer John Legend. The company recently relaunched its deep cleansing mask, donating £5 to environmental charity Hubbub. Indie brand Charlotte Tilbury not only produces best-selling products, she has also recently announced a £1 million pledge to help out organization Women for Women International, while heritage favourite Elizabeth Arden continues with its March On philanthropic campaign, pledging a further $1 million to help UN Women. Other brands committing to long-term charitable causes include Neal’s Yard, Feelunique, Avon and MAC with it’s Viva Glam campaign.

However, with those that do, there are definitely those that don’t – or do at certain dates when said donations will garner the most attention. But with consumers calling for more authenticity, surely it’s only a matter of time before the likes of Estee Laundry run a piece on said brands who shout inclusivity at key marketing times? Our advice? Do more. With conscious consumerism set to accelerate even faster in 2020 – companies who do continually assess their charitable strategy and give back on a rolling basis are the ones that will continue to win out in a saturated market.