June 6, 2019Published by: Andrea DiNardo

Influencers and the rise of conscious consumption

The conversation around sustainability, conscious consumption, and our environment is far-reaching. These hugely important issues have become impossible to ignore, especially for brands keen to reflect the values of their customers.

From the banning of plastic straws to the rise of Fashion Revolution Week, more of us are considering how we purchase and consume products, and the effects these decisions have on our planet. We now know that £149m worth of clothes end up in landfill each year, and are increasingly aware of how many products are used in a ‘disposable’ way, rather than investing in products for the long-term. We’re also seeing a rise in curated shopping experiences, from the opening of Coal Drops Yard to online retail companies like Endource. This kind of personalisation and considered customer experience is something many of us are gravitating towards.

As we look to reduce our volume of rubbish, influencers are also trying to minimise their impact on the environment, and in turn, inspiring their communities to do likewise. With 49% of consumers depending on influencer recommendations to decide which items to purchase, they are the gatekeepers for a huge online conversation, and hold the power to not only promote a brand’s products, but also hold them to account on sustainability.

Influencers joining the conversation

Globally, many influencers have started to talk about personal changes they’re making to reduce waste. Eva Chen has been vocal about swapping make-up wipes for reusable pads in an attempt to reduce waste. Other influencers such as Venetia Falconer have also started to call out just how much waste they amass through their work. After all, unrequested samples from brands begin to pile up, and eventually become waste.

When gifting goes wrong...

In a recent podcast with prominent beauty Instagram account Gelcream, Estée Lalonde stated: “What I find so strange is when a company will send me, no lie, 30 different foundation colours in full-sized bottles.”  This is despite the fact she is one person with one skin tone. This practice by brands lead to huge amounts of waste, but also communicates an impersonal experience to the influencer. By not tailoring to the influencer, the company misses an opportunity to showcase how relevant the brand or product can be to them.

Victoria of @inthefrow has also been vocal about this, advising that she’d rather request specific products from brands to ensure she avoids excessive waste and gets to review products she genuinely likes and would use.

How can brands act responsibly to ensure gifting happens in an authentic and valuable way?

It starts with a ‘quality over quantity’ approach: it’s all about making the most of each and every collaboration.

Here are some of our top tips:

  • Choose influencers that are a good fit for your brand and have a relevant story to tie into your offering.
  • Ask the influencer what they want to try, sending only the most relevant products.
  • Avoid sending a range of products to an influencer’s PO Box or agent’s address. Just because they’ve accepted products to trial before, doesn’t mean they will want to review every one.
  • Take the time to talk to the influencer, get them excited about your product and brand so they can discuss it in an authentic way.
  • Communicate your stance on responsible gifting and help them share that message.

We want to ensure influencer activity enables social media users to discover products and services that they love, without being led down the dark path of overconsumption. By working with influencers to communicate brand value in a way that feels unbiased and authentic, we can create meaningful conversations around sustainability and brands that are looking to make a difference.

About Battenhall

We look after brand profiles on social media, and we're proudly the world's #1 at what we do. Named The Drum's social media agency of the year for the last three years running. Get in touch! hello@battenhall.com

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