Dora Nikols (pictured below) is a PR and social purpose specialist at Social Mission that helps companies find and share their social purpose so they don’t just stand out but stand for something. In her latest post for B&T, Nikols takes a look at youth fashion brand Sportsgirl and how it’s managed to stay relevant after so many years…
A great product, story, history and creative PR and marketing campaigns aren’t enough today to keep brands alive. The market is too competitive and consumers are too savvy and increasingly they are becoming more conscious. Today brands who don’t find and share their social purpose are at risk of not staying relevant with a market that cares.
According to the Edelman 2018 Earned Brand Study nearly 2 in 3 people choose, switch, avoid or boycott a brand based on its stand on social issues. Today consumers want to buy from brands that reflect their values, in a sea of millions of options they gravitate to the brands that are visual and vocal about how they are making the world a better place.
At a time when major brands are crumbling all around us, just think Shoes of Prey, Topshop Australia, Bardot and David Lawrence now is a time to stay relevant in a socially conscious market. The one brand that gets it right in this competitive market is 71year old Sportsgirl.
The visually arresting brand with its bold and bright logo stripes was founded in 1948 and continues to keep customers loyal and attract new ones because it found and stayed loyal to its social purpose. For over one decade Sportsgirl has stood for creating a positive body image for young girls who suffer with eating disorders through it partnership with The Butterfly Foundation.
Moving away from just featuring fashion and models in its campaigns which every brand does, in 2006 Sportsgirl asked its customers what issues they care about as it was determined to build a deeper relationship with its customers. It found that 66 per cent of its target market said they were unhappy with their body image.
Since then it has partnered with The Butterfly Foundation and runs awareness campaigns to address eating disorders within its loyal community. It has raised $3.2million and supports over 100,000 girls with eating disorders.
To stay competitive today, companies need to find a cause that resonates with their customers, support it long-term, live and breathe it and raise awareness for it in their PR & marketing activities. This is how Sportsgirl gets it right and what we can learn from them:
- They support a cause that a majority 66 per cent of their customers are affected by and deeply care about – a negative body image.
- They build authenticity and trust by supporting the same key cause long term – The Butterfly Foundation has been its charity partner for 12 years raising over $3.2million.
- They are visual with their cause support which customers instantly recognise their ‘Butterfly Collection Accessories’ – a range of products that features The Butterfly Foundation logo where a percentage of sales goes to the cause.
- They walk the talk by hiring girls of all shapes and sizes – its social purpose of ‘creating a positive body image for girls’ is reflected within the company culture and isn’t just a PR or marketing exercise.
- They build their social purpose into their PR and marketing activities with their ‘love your body week’ campaign supported with the #BeAVoiceForChange hashtag to change the conversation young girls have about their bodies – this has allowed them to own the ‘body image’ issue and create a conversation around it.
- They support a cause that is not just crucial within their own target market but one that affects 1million Australians – strategically this also helps them attract new customers who resonate with their social purpose.
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