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Nov 21, 2019

How to inspire others to shop consciously this holiday season

‘Tis the season to be mindful

As a social entrepreneur, you’re on a mission to inspire others to shop consciously all year round, because excessive consumerism has a detrimental effect on people and our planet.

Not just with child labor, the extinction of species or deforestation, but also on our own mental health.

Even though awareness of climate change and the constant pressure of wanting more and more is rising, it seems that consumers are buying more than ever before.

Next week, it’s going to hit an all-time high with Black Friday and Cyber Monday approaching.

According to blackfriday.com, the highest recorded amount at $6 billion was spent on Cyber Monday in 2018.

On Black Friday, it was $4.8 billion and even on Thanksgiving when people could be spending quality time with their families, sales were up at $3.4 billion.

That’s a lot of stuff being bought! Just on those three days! And only in the states!

The holiday spend in 2018 was forecast at $719.17 billion!

And get this: According to Optoro, nearly $70 billion worth of holiday purchases were returned in 2014. I couldn’t find their stats on returns in 2018, but I guarantee they were similar.

Newsweek goes on to explain that the Daily Mail reported that 42% of women returned holiday gifts from their husbands, 17% planned to donate a gift, 13% planned to regift one item and 10% would just throw a ‘bad gift’ away!

If tossing a gift to landfill makes you cringe, think about the poor soul who gifted it or worse yet, made it. 

You want your products to find good homes.

Where can you make a difference? 

You know why you’re in business: To help create the change you want to see in this world.

I know you talk about this with your customers either in-person, on your social media channels and in your mails. And you probably also talk about it with your friends and family.

Which is great and still very much needed.

This isn’t going to make that much of a difference though.

What may help even more is if you spread your important message to reach the masses

Because if you only have conscious consumers, you’re already preaching to the choir. They already know why they shop consciously and that’s why they support you.

But more importantly, the conscious consumers aren’t buying much of anything these days. 

They aren’t your ideal customer anymore if you own a product-based company.

There just aren’t enough conscious consumers to help you make the positive impact you want to make in this world.

There sure are enough mass consumers who are willing to purchase the better alternative though.

The time is ripe. Especially after an intense year of Greta and the media covering climate change.

Awareness is rising. Quickly and people are ready to change. A little bit anyway.

It’s great to be smack dab in the middle of the ethical revolution.

This is your time to now shine! 

The challenge now is to not to try to convince the conscious consumers to buy more products, but to inspire the huge segment of the market to think before they buy.

This is what will create the change we want to see in this world.  

When you inspire others to shop consciously, you will help create a better world faster.

How to reach the masses

Earlier this week, I published an article on my author website about shopping consciously this holiday season.

With this article, I’m reaching a different audience consisting of conscious consumers, but also those who are just starting their sustainable living journey. And even some who aren’t quite ‘there yet’.

In my article, I wrote the above-mentioned stats to raise awareness about our shopping habits.

I also provided a categorized list of social enterprises doing something good in this world to give them a better option.

And, I followed up with the #ShopEthicalInstead initiative from Ethical Hour so that they can learn more about these and other ethical brands.

Do you have another platform where you can reach a different audience?

This is just one way to step out of the echo chamber and reach consumers who are actually consuming.

Speaking to a different audience can open up doors.

 Other ways to reach the masses

You know what you enjoy and what you don’t. Do more of what you love is the motto here!

Suggestions on how to reach a different audience:

  • Set up a stand at your local Christmas/weekend market and communicate with your neighbors.
  • Collaborate with other ethical brands on a targeted campaign, perhaps on an international day of the cause you collectively support.
  • Join an already established initiative such as  #ShopEthicalInstead or if you want to boycott Black Friday altogether, choose to #OptOutside.
  • Write a guest blog post to a different audience. For example, I wrote an article about marketing manipulation that will be published on entrepreneur.com on November 26. There may be resistance to my non-traditional marketing mindset, but seeds will be planted which is what inspires change.
  • Engage with members of various social media groups that are not 100% eco-oriented, but would still love your offer. Just don’t forget to abide by their rules, which usually means no promotions. You can still spread your message and communicate with others in a conversational manner.
  • If writing’s your thing, heck, write a book too!
  • If vlogging’s your jam, then set up a personal youtube channel to spread your message, not solely to promote your products.
  • Get press coverage. Write a press release about your Black Friday campaign and/or message.
  • Make your products accessible by pitching to retail stores. If you sign up to my mailing list, I’ll send you a checklist about brand positioning and how to get your products into retail stores.
  • Get your products on other online portals such as Etsy, Creative Market, eBay, Walmart, etc. And, if this is an option for you, Amazon. I know, I know, this may not speak to you and that’s OK, but if you want to reach a larger audience and feel comfortable with this, it is OK to do so. Please don’t ever feel like you’re selling your soul while giving consumers the better alternative.

There are more ways of course and I’m sure I’ll come back later to add to it.

If you have any suggestions, please share them in the comments below. I’d love to hear your ideas.

Staying true to your values is admirable. But not reaching the masses because of them may also be destructive and a huge lost opportunity to create the change we need to create.

One last thought

Two weeks ago, I watched TerraX, a high-quality German documentary series. It was about Cameroon and Dirk Steffens, the moderator, mentioned poaching while buying a pangolin for 23 EUR on the street.

Pangolins are the most trafficked animals on this planet and this poor guy was all curled up from utter fear.

Dirk Steffens could have left the scene, but he felt he had no choice but to buy the pangolin and later release him. Otherwise he would have been sold to someone else and made into a purse or wallet.

True, he supported poaching by paying the street vendor. Did he have a choice though?

As I was watching it, I wept in a low voice, “Buy him, buy him!” My husband just sighed and said, “He is, just watch it!” in a ‘for crying out loud’ kind of way.

Oh, we empaths have it rough sometimes, don’t we? 🙂

You always a choice, so make the best one for you and those you care about.

Do you want help reaching a different audience?

Have you had success in reaching the masses?  Comment below and let’s talk!

Peace,

Photo credit: StockSnap on Pixabay.

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