Challenger Brands Demonstrate Moral Leadership And Win Loyal Customers
How do you build a dedicated customer base that advocates for your brand? Attract the best talent to grow your team? Seize prized market share from your competitors and win?
Challenger brands are defined by their ambitious visions to overhaul the status quo. At 5&Vine, we believe true challenger brands work relentlessly to do right by their customers, teams and communities. And they confidently believe that in doing so, they will best position themselves to win – today and for years to come.
Let’s start with a look at how today’s customers and team members value aligning themselves with companies that prioritize social impact.
The Evolving Customer
Keeping the evolving wants and needs of your customers in mind is crucial to long-term success. Research has shown that millennial shoppers think of the brands that they purchase as a reflection of themselves more than any previous generation. There’s an understanding that they have a say in the kind of world they want to live in by directing their dollars towards brands they believe in.
The Conscious Team
Moreso, team members are placing a higher priority on working for companies that meaningfully contribute to the world. Planning ahead for your startup’s social impact isn’t an afterthought, it’s now a critical part of hiring strategy to bring the best talent on board and build a positive team culture.
Challengers Brands Lead The Way
Notable challenger brands have earned their top spots by purposefully building social impact into their core mission:
Norden – Lead with sustainability
Norden, the Montreal-based outerwear line, started with a mission to “make better choices to reduce waste for a cleaner planet.” Their entire line of winter coats are made with anywhere from 25 to 99 recycled plastic bottles; the jacket manufacturing process consumes 45 percent less energy, 20 percent less water and 30 percent less greenhouse gas emissions compared to regular outerwear. The team believes that tomorrow’s consumers will hold fashion brands accountable, and set out to prove that establishing more sustainable processes doesn’t mean sacrificing style or profit.
Greenlight – Values to influence the next generation
5&Vine client Greenlight is the smart debit card for kids that teaches them financial literacy in an increasingly cashless society. Last year, Greenlight launched its new Giving feature, allowing kids with Greenlight debit cards to allocate a certain portion of their allowance, birthday money, and part-time job earnings to be donated to non-profit organizations. With the feature, Greenlight paved the way for kids to start thinking about the charities that they’re passionate about from a young age, influencing a giving mindset that sticks with them as they grow into adults.
These challenger brands show that being a profitable business and doing right by the world isn’t mutually exclusive. They also show that building social impact into a business isn’t one-size-fits-all. Finding your startup’s own solution involves an in-depth understanding of what your company wants to stand for and the unique tools you can leverage to contribute in your own way.
How To Get Started Today
The first step to building a purpose-driven startup is ensuring that you have the right to win. This means looking at your entire business and asking:
“What do you want your legacy to be? How will you participate in shaping it?”
“What issues are consistent with your values? What are you willing to stand up for?”
“What are you uniquely suited to offer?”
“How can you effectively engage your customers, team members, and stakeholders to participate in your social mission?”
“How does your offering serve customers, society and the planet better than the market leader?”
The key to answering these questions will be to make the people and planet that you’re serving, the heroes of these stories.
A common thread that brings challenger brands together is a simple understanding of what it means to be one: the pursuit of both profit and purpose to make the world better in a way that you’re uniquely able to. Winning is a long-term game. We believe that a holistic approach helps startups achieve healthy growth for the long-term.