Using Your Fairtrade Certification as a Brand Advantage
Let’s face it, in today’s business environment the best way to get a competitive edge is through honesty and authenticity. Today’s consumers are smart, and they can smell a facade from a mile away. With that being said, when they find a company they love, they stick with it through thick and thin, to the point of paying premium prices with the knowledge that their money is going towards a company that shares their values and beliefs. According to a study done by KPMG International, in order to find success in today’s hyper-competitive world, “consumer and retail companies need to appeal to their customer’s hearts as well as their minds and wallets”.
On top of that, brand loyalty has become a big part of consumerism today, with more people than ever before incorporating brand values into their personality and using it to build their own personal branding. Therefore, establishing a strong brand identity for your company, and using your Fairtrade certification as a brand advantage will help you build a positive brand image and reputation, with a set of values that your customers can identify with and be proud to support.
We put together a short list of ideas for small, Fairtrade-focused companies to consider when building their brand identity and business, so that they can be sure to to use that precious Fairtrade certification as a brand advantage.
Take the time to perfect your product offering.
As someone who cares about consuming Fairtrade products, what would YOU want to see a Fairtrade-focused company offering to you as a customer? This is oftentimes a process that is ongoing over the life of a business with tastes and preferences changing often, but it is nonetheless important to consider at any given moment what your customers would want to see from your business. While perfecting your product offering, keep in mind that this might mean skipping out on a product that’s hot this season, but establishing a positive brand equity is priceless compared to making a few extra dollars on a trending product.
Hone your brand Vision and Mission statements.
Make sure they align with the values that the Fairtrade certification carries with it. As a growing brand, your Mission and Vision build the base for your brand and competitive advantage. What do you want to do that separates your brand and company from your contemporaries? At the same time, these statements highlight what you truly care about as an organization, and building a base that shows your values as a company goes a long way in establishing authenticity and brand equity.
Check out this article by Mindtools to learn more about creating the perfect Mission and Vision statements.
Build up your social media presence!
Post, post, post! The quickest and most effective way to reach many of your current and potential customers is through social media. Simultaneously, your social media presence gives you a platform on which you can highlight and show off your product offering, values, and brand personality. At the end of the day, consumers love to feel connected to a brand through the personality that they convey, and being authentic on social media allows your company to get rid of the formal and faceless front put up by many brands.
Establish your brand voice.
If your company were a HUMAN, what would it sound like? What would their tone be? What words would they use? What would they talk about? Having a few solidified statements describing your brand voice goes a long way in staying consistent in what you post online and giving your company that all-important human touch. Show yourself in your brand. As an organization focused on Fairtrade, this is an opportunity to showcase your values some more. For example, using your brand voice to show passion about making change in society may align with your brand Mission and Vision, and it shows your customers that you practice what you preach.
Check out this article by Sprout Social to learn more about creating your brand voice.
Reach out to other companies who share your values.
Make connections in industries you are interested in, or specifically with organizations that align with the values of a Fairtrade company that you could build a professional relationship with. Establishing relationships may go a long way in getting the name of your company to consumers who may be interested in your products, and may grow your customer base. Aligning with companies who share your values gives you access to customers who share the same values as your brand, leaving you with only half the work, providing them with products they may like!
At the end of the day, beyond being a certification, the Fairtrade symbol carries with it a set of inherent values. These values indicate that as a business or a person who consumes Fairtrade products, you care about where your products are coming from and knowing that you can be proud of the methods used to obtain its ingredients. With this in mind, a large part of using your Fairtrade certification as a brand advantage at your growing company is in using your voice and available resources to spread your passion for those values. The process to becoming Fairtrade certified takes work on your part, with careful product selection and supply chain management, so be proud of and share your status as a Fairtrade-focused company!