Why Philanthropic Business is in Fashion

Ethical business is a hot topic these days, with consumers becoming more aware of the brands they are buying into, and what they stand for.

CIBC Run for Cure 2015

photo credit: Sangudo / Flickr

Many larger companies, and even start-ups are taking on a philanthropic approach to their operations by supporting charity, donating a portion of their profit to ongoing projects and becoming proactive within their community. Not only does this raise awareness for important causes, support local communities and fund various projects, it can change how the consumer perceives that particular brand. If they are recognised for acting as a morally responsible, ethical and charitable company then this can only be a good thing. Surely?

That being said, it’s extremely important to get it right, and not just look like you’re using this as a marketing tool! You have to invest both time and effort into a continuous strategy which enhances your brand identity and consumer perception. This means getting involved, being totally transparent and viewing this as a long term investment rather than a one off.

From internationally recognised super brands to smaller start-ups, philanthropic business isn’t going anywhere, and it’s becoming especially prevalent within the fashion sector. So who is making it work for them?

Nike

A globally recognised brand, Nike have taken on a very philanthropic approach, and are dedicated to ‘creating positive social change around the world’. Not only do Nike take it upon themselves to aid in tackling some of the world’s biggest challenges such as global warming, they also work with communities and offer various different scholarships and programmes to youths. There’s definitely more to this sportswear giant than just sneakers.

Marks & Spencer

British high street giant and internationally recognised brand Marks & Spencer have also worked hard to establish themselves as a philanthropic ‘do good’ company. They regularly work with Oxfam with their ‘shwopping’ campaign offering customer’s vouchers in return for bringing in their old clothes to donate to charity. As well as this the brand recently launched the Sparks card, enabling customers to donate 1p to the charity of their choice every time they make a transaction in M&S.

But it’s not only ‘big’ fashion brands taking on this approach, there are many smaller companies and start-ups using charitable giving and a positive philanthropic approach as the heart of their business.

Miki Moko

A recent fashion brand to hit the scene is Miki Moko. An online designer glasses brand, Miki Moko have a very unique and intriguing business model. Charity is at the heart of what this brand do, and for every pair of glasses sold, 50% of the frame price is donated to the Nepal Youth Foundation, working to free enslaved children. But that’s not all! The brand actually invite the consumer to choose the price they want to pay for their frames, meaning the donation is in the hands of the consumer. Very clever!

Feed Projects

Another brand with giving at the heart of what they do is FEED projects, a handbag label that has one specific mission: to feed. For every FEED projects bag purchased, you’ll be supplying a number of meals to underprivileged school children around the globe. You can even see just how many meals you’ll be giving with each bag you buy.

Whether it’s for guilt free shopping or the attraction of helping others through purchasing, philanthropic fashion is clearly appealing to today’s customer. It shouldn’t be ignored, however big or small your business is, and whichever sector you compete in. Positioning your brand as a company that actively helps others, gets actively involved in the community and works towards positive changes can only enhance your brand image, increase customer loyalty and draw in new potential custom.

Do you think philanthropic business is important? Do you think it will continue to grow?

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