With the ubiquity of the internet, it’s currently easier than ever for those of us in western culture to access information which can give us a heightened awareness of global causes and charitable platforms.

It’s also easier than ever to research the ethics of luxury brands and as a result, there are more luxury customers than ever actively seeking out luxury brands with a social conscience.

When a luxury brand shows a commitment to new luxury values such as eco-friendly, socially conscious, fair trade or cruelty-free practices by contributing to a specific cause in some way (as well as practicing what they preach in their day-to-day running of the business and belief system), it gives consumers an extra layer of exclusivity whenever they invest in the brand; not only can they satisfy themselves but they can also help others in the process.

This provides a crucial reversal of the polarity between luxury and non-profit giving brands a chance to show that they’re altruistic and significant alongside being lavish, elite and powerful.

Corporate philanthropy should go beyond being a luxury marketing gimmick, however, and strive to be beneficial in a way which empowers the charity and emboldens the customer, boosting the brand’s reputation in a manner which is in-line with their pre-existing belief system.

An example of a luxury brand that is proud to show its commitment to supporting a better world through both philanthropy and corporate responsibility is luxury luggage brand Tumi. The brand shares its philosophy and initiatives on a dedicated page of their website.

Visit https://intl.tumi.com/s/corp-responsibility to see a great example of how to use your brand as a New Luxury platform to do good in this world.

 

Tumi-charity

 

If you want to follow in the footsteps of Tumi, here are some essential basics to consider.

Choose a charity which fits your brand belief system

In order for charitable pursuits to be beneficial for both the luxury brand and the cause they’re seeking to support, then it’s vital for the belief systems of both to match up with each other.

This is attractive not just for the charity itself who will be more accepting of donations which come from an honest source with beliefs in alignment to their own, but also for the meaningful links it will create to your customers who will already share your belief system but may want to engage with it in a more rewarding manner.

Be charitable from a position of proven social and ethical responsibility

Choosing a charity with beliefs in alignment to your own is crucial, but unless you practice what you preach then creating links, partnerships or support systems with charities can end up looking like a cynical marketing ploy.

For example, there’s little use in supporting a charity which seeks to empower impoverished women or children when you may be relying on sweatshop workers as part of a production team; the hypocrisy will be visible to eagle-eyed customers as well as the media and as such, this approach can backfire horribly.

Take a moment to evaluate the ethics of your company and outline areas for potential improvement in trading with a social, fair and environmental conscience.

This isn’t just better for improving your reputation but as a whole, it’s also better for the World. Why be charitable if you can’t extend that same support to the work conditions and production values of your business?

Directly support a community who support you

Though many luxury brands may rush into charitable pursuits based on causes which feel ‘trendy’ or look impressive, one of the best and simplest ways that a luxury brand can utilize their privileged position for change is to directly help to support a specific community who are in some way at the heart of the brand.

This could be a specific location where products are made or where specific materials or components are sourced or it could be a marginalized community who have expressed continued support and admiration for the brand (such as the LGBTQA community).

Try setting up a business fund to help talented seamstresses start up their own business or donate towards the maintenance of local sustainable agriculture in the area where you source most of your materials from.

Giving back to the people who in some way help your brand to be the success that is can become a powerful part of your legacy and help to declare you as a brand which sells stories and experiences above products and aesthetic.

Don’t appear charitable, be charitable

When luxury brands endorse and support charities wrong it can be because of a blatant agenda for wanting to simply play the part of looking charitable without actually delivering on the appearance.

Whatever charity it is that you want to support as part of your brand needs to be a part of day-to-day operations, not just pinned to the lapel of a spokesperson or tagged on as a profile button on Twitter.

Donations are great, as is raising awareness of a charity and a cause but it’s also great to work with the charity to see how you could be improving their experience and aid; find out precisely what the donations raised have been spent on, in what ways the money has helped and what else the charity may need in order to progress, widen their scope or expand their cause.

Develop in tandem with the charities needs and you’ll both find an equally beneficial progression as a result.

Use brand content and social media to raise awareness

Part of being charitable as opposed to merely looking charitable is understanding every facet of the charity and the cause for which you’re helping and communicating those facts to customers.

Utilising the content marketing of your brand to show where charitable donations have been spent, who the money has benefitted and including interviews and testimonies of people that the money has directly impacted the lives of is a crucial part of humanising the charity and raising further awareness of what will no doubt be a little known or understood cause.

Social media is another perfect way of extending your charitable services, exploiting the power and influence of your brand to raise further awareness of the charity which is beneficial both ways.

Articles of social, charitable and ethical interest are often shared more readily on social media as people enjoy publicly aligning themselves with a cause with will promote both your brand and the charity, in the process.

Interested to read more about the subject? Here are a few articles from the web to consider.

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