As 2020 turns into what will potentially become one of the most pivotal years for our generation, we have been reflecting on how we can make what we stand for as a company even clearer and more accessible. How to clearly convey a message sounds easy in theory, but as many individuals and brands have experienced this week, everything is open to interpretation. It’s easy for a message to get lost in translation and to say the ‘wrong’ thing.
As a brand, what we need to always keep our eye on is that what we say we stand for is actually what our customers and followers see represented when they visit our social media or website. When what we say we stand for matches what we put out, then our message is clear and aligned.
Here are some points we have been discussing in the studio the past two weeks:
- We always set out to be as transparent as possible, and because of that we always wanted our company policies to be available on our website. We don’t want companies or customers to want to have to request our policies. You will find our Green Policy and our Ethics & Diversity Policy in the bottom menu of our website.
- How do we make what we stand for clear? By talking about it on social media, engaging with and listening to customers and followers, and by making sure our words are aligned to our actions: saying we champion women in the workplace means nothing if we don’t do so in reality! It means nothing if we make a sustainable product and then wrap it in plastic. It’s the different elements of a brand that together show what you stand for.
- Customers worldwide are becoming more and more clued up on the world of fashion, branding, ethics and greenwashing: it’s no longer enough to say that you “champion diversity” in your boardroom if the numbers show differently. Not that it should ever have been enough, but whereas previously big brands may have been able to get away with this, customers now are more educated and empowered to question and critique, and withhold their money if the answers aren’t satisfactory.
- Can we showcase what we stand for in different formats? Words are one thing, but we are a creative company, and visuals are important to us. For this reason, we have decided to have a diversity policy in words and also a diversity infographic: a visual tool that is perhaps clearer than words. Our aim for this tool is for it to be available to customers, but also something potential collaborators can use to determine whether they want to work with us or not.
Certain things can feel overwhelming when you are a small company where any money you make is going back into the business and not actually into a pay check. Thoughts that we sometimes have are: “Why should we as a small company, that we don’t take a regular pay check from, donate to charity before we can even live off our company? Why is it that small companies around us are so quick to give from their profits, however small those profits might be, and big companies remain silent?” These are questions that arise out of ego or personal frustration, but what we always come back to when we have an open discussion about this, is that we want to start the way we mean to carry on. So if we lay the foundations right from the start, foundations that sit well with us, then we can develop a company on sturdy ground that we are happy with and resonates with our customers.