Brands don’t need deep pockets to give back. But what they do need to do is align the effort with the brand, said Taydra Mitchell Jackson, chief marketing officer for SheaMoisture and a brand retailers applaud for its philanthropic efforts.
“If you are trying to make your company purpose driven, start with something important to you. People have the ability to discern when something isn’t authentic,” Jackson said. Unilever-owned Shea Moisture is associated with giving back. The brand reinvests at least 1% of net sales into economic opportunities for underserved entrepreneurs and Black business owners.
Shea butter is one of the brand’s core ingredients and is sourced from women-led cooperatives in West Africa, providing fair wages and creating economic opportunities. Recently, SheaMoisture teamed up with The Roku Channel and MACRO Television Studios to debut “The Next Black Millionaires,” a docuseries that captures the journey of three entrepreneurs growing their passions into million-dollar businesses. The series provides inspiration for other Black founders who face obstacles, including raising funds.
Empowering brand philosophies
Leading with purpose was part of the DNA of Urban Hydration from day one, said Psyche Terry, founder of UI Global Brands, the parent of Urban Hydration. “For Urban Hydration, this connection to purpose is the driving force behind everything we do. It’s like this because I firmly believe that brands must have a clear and compelling purpose to forge a profound connection with their customers,” she said. The company has a multipronged approach. Each product, she said, is conceived to empower people and foster their sense of beauty from self-care.
Raw Sugar caught the attention of chains such as Walgreens for its formulas and its importance on bringing essentials to people in need. Since its founding in 2014, the company has distributed more than 16 million bars of soap and clean essentials as part of an ongoing partnership with Water for People and Eco Soap Bank.
A retailer who put Raw Sugar into her assortment said the positioning distinguishes the line from competitors. “I liked their products and positioning,” she said. Emerging brands can show support on par with multinational powers. Even as a relatively new brand, Bubble Skin Care plants a tree for each order shipped in its efforts to foster sustainability.
Purpose-driven marketing isn’t only about donations. Lottie London, a U.K.-based beauty brand expanding in the United States at Walmart and CVS, created a campaign to raise awareness about the importance of blood donations. Citing research that only 1 in 10 blood donors falls into the Gen Z age group, Lottie London kicked off the Beauty for Blood Campaign.
Milani’s efforts stretch beyond the traditional donation model. Employees get involved in programs like the partnership with Our Big Kitchen in Los Angeles. The team prepared almost 400 meals to distribute to local organizations. Jeremy Lowenstein, chief marketing officer for Milani, explained that Our Big Kitchen’s goal of getting high-quality meals to everyone mirrors the brand’s mission to democratize beauty for all.
“All of our employees want to give back to the community. As a smaller brand, we felt that the opportunity was for us to engage with our local community,” he said. Another effort helps support the Latino community. Milani invited four artists to create artwork for a virtual gallery for Hispanic Heritage Month. Social media followers then had a chance to win the one-of-a-kind pieces.