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Exploring brand purpose

Our latest FashMash Focus explored the world of 'brand purpose' - a phrase that has meant more than ever during 2020.


‘Purpose’ has long been a keyword relative to the fashion industry’s exploration of social, cultural and environmental issues - certainly since FashMash was founded, or indeed since social media was a platform on which brands first opted to have a voice. But 2020 has been a year like no other. Brand purpose has meant more than ever due to COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, and a wealth of other key moments in between. ⁣

So how has the industry fared? Where have we seen authenticity versus virtue signalling, or success versus cancel culture? And ultimately, what place should purpose play in the world of marketing and branding today? We dove deep on this in our latest Focus roundtable with members. Check out the highlight below… ⁣

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ON AUTHENTICITY ⁣

It goes without saying that any efforts made towards brand purpose need to be meaningful, authentic and evidently aligned with the values of the brand. Those making sweeping statements this year without being able to back them by progress or actions also being taken internally are the ones who have faltered. Without, this is merely performative or tokenistic.  ⁣

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ON STAKEHOLDER PRESSURE ⁣

Saying nothing at all is often better than commenting for the sake of appearances if you don’t have the basis on which to back it up. But being quiet or pressing pause is easier said than done for those large organisations facing the pressure of both external as well as internal stakeholders in the heat of the moment. A lot has been learnt this year.⁣

ON PROACTIVITY ⁣

If there’s one thing we’ve seen in 2020, it’s a lot of reactive behaviour. The brands doing the best have been those who have had the tools in place to respond based on consideration away from the moment of crisis. Preparation and proactivity have proven crucial, reflecting again on those who have long placed purpose at the core of their strategies.  ⁣

FashMash Focus is sponsored by Klaviyo.

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