Sustainability has been on consumer’s radars for years, but only recently have we really seen that reflected in the influencer marketing sphere. Brands and creators alike are now making more effort than ever to champion a sustainable lifestyle and this is changing influencer marketing, arguably for the better.
Brands who want to keep up with the growing consumer interest in sustainability are now partnering with creators to share their message.
How Has Influencer Marketing Changed?
Sustainability has been a hot topic for a while, with internet searches for “sustainable fashion” tripling between 2016 and 2019. However, COVID-19 presented a real tipping point for sustainability and the way that creators interact with the topic. With COVID-19 putting a stop to both customer deliveries and going out of the house, the cycle of buying clothes to go out on the weekend or to an event has been paused.
As such, creators have had to pivot their content and try out more sustainable ways of shopping. Many creators have, perhaps unintentionally, moved to a more sustainable way of purchasing and living, and this has reignited the conversation around sustainability, making it even more mainstream.
COVID-19 has made people a lot more aware of how they’re living and caused many of us to reflect on the pace of our lives, subsequently deciding to slow down. On top of this, there has arguably been a shift in how we treat one another. With COVID being hard on us all, we’ve been more conscious about how we behave with other people, and this has fostered a much kinder online space.
To keep up with this adjustment in consciousness, many brands have opted to collaborate with creators who are championing this shift towards a kinder society - one which is kinder to people and kinder to the planet.
As Dame Anna Wintour, long-time editor of Vogue recently pointed out, "It’s an opportunity for all of us to look at our industry and to look at our lives, and to rethink our values, and to really think about the waste, and the amount of money, and consumption, and excess that we have all indulged in and how we really need to rethink what this industry stands for."
So, How Can Brands Collaborate With Sustainability Influencers?
Whether you’re a sustainability brand or not, running social campaigns that recognise the widespread shift in consumer attitudes towards sustainability is a must. Even if you’re not a 100% sustainable brand, as a 2020 McKinsey study points out ”players must address increasing consumer concerns over sustainability if they want to secure their future”.
Choosing to partner with creators who genuinely understand sustainability, but also reflect your brand is important. The best creators to share your sustainability message are those who can share their experiences and point consumers in the right direction, whilst also being authentic and fallible too.
On top of this, they need to really understand where your brand is coming from and align with where you’re at in your sustainability strategy. If you’re predominantly a fast-fashion retailer making a pledge to take action in a certain time-frame, you’re better off collaborating with creators who enjoy fast fashion occasionally but can talk about how your brand is committed to improving as opposed to someone who hates fast fashion and champions sustainability.
Additionally, lots of creators have the knowledge to carry a sustainability campaign, without necessarily being ‘sustainability creators’. As we’ve all become more aware of our own personal impact on the environment, many creators now have a good knowledge of sustainability.