The Vogue Business Index was recently published, this year it showed that brand loyalty is valued more than the values of the brand, when determining if customers believe, or don’t believe, a brand is sustainable.
Brand affinity is also considered and has shown that it is indeed a halo effect. It all depends on how much a customer likes a brand in a positive manner, then correlates with how sustainable the consumers then believe the brand is. The true level of sustainably doesn’t actually matter, it is all down to what the consumer thinks.
Louis Vuitton, Hermès and Chanel are just a few of the brands that were ranked highest in metrics about customers sentiment. They also ranked high based on environmental, social and corporate governance. The research takes multiple factors into account, corporate governance is a major factor, but board effectiveness and cultural factors are also accounted for.
Chanel consistently ranks high, among categories. Their success also comes down to the fact that they are acknowledging some practices still aren’t the most sustainable, but they are making an effort to become more sustainable. Majority of brands would struggle to become sustainable straight away, which is why we all need to remember that it is a work in progress.
Another discovery was that a customer’s brand loyalty is held in a much higher regard, than the brands values. Despite more and more consumers making decisions on where they shop and what stores match their own personal values, the index suggests that a lot of people don’t actually shop like this. The average consumer that makes luxury purchases is spending $2,500 on average on luxury fashion and beauty, so with the exception of overly conscientious customers, majority of us don’t sit and look up brands sustainability policies in a critical manner.
Whilst some brands are being offered shortcuts, recent findings in the financial sector have indicated sustainability will be part of most businesses if they want to be successful. However, for brands who wait for their customers to demand change it could be risky, and they could lose not only their customers, but investors. The luxury market should be doing this already and having a more proactive role in leading the way. Whilst 8 in 10 customers believe all products on shelves should be sustainable in the next decade, there is also the risk of not knowing what the next backlash will be. Burberry is a prime example of this, their unethical practice of burning unsold clothing sparked outrage, so by improving brands corporate polices, they could minimise risks of this happening again and prepare for the unknown.
The industry has started to make big changes to be more sustainable over time, part of this was due to the increasing demand and pressure from their customers. As I said previously customers shouldn’t be asking brands to be making these changes, and it could potentially be problematic.Despite all changes that are being made, customers will always argue that their favourite brand is more sustainable than others.