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Introducing the plugin

Debbie K, the founder of the Influential Consumer, talks us through some 
of the initial thoughts which generated the idea around the plug-in: 

Can you tell us what the idea of the movement is and how it came about?

Working at companies that build solutions for customer acquisition, retention, and communication, has crystallized the power of a consumer. There are different statics floating around to support this, all of which boil down to a few truths. Customer acquisition is expensive and retention is effective in increasing profits.

The advent of online shopping also means that as consumers in addition to power we have a plethora of choices. Choices we can judiciously exercise to support companies that align with our values. Which is why when I needed a cross body bag for summer, I purchased one from Kate Spade in support of Tapestry, one of four Fortune-500 companies, with an African American CEO. 

I realized then that having easy access to diversity data would influence my purchasing behaviour. I reached out to entrepreneur Dylan Whitman who advised that a chrome plugin would be a fitting solution. Sean N an engineer from my current company who really believed in the idea and my good friend Amie and former colleague who is currently Head of Partner Marketing jumped at the idea of helping a project which was so close to heart. I am hoping that with the combination of our talents and the help of all consumers out there we can really make this movement work.

‘Diversity – the art of 
thinking independently 

together’ 

Malcolm Forbes

THE CONSCIOUS CONSUMER

Conscious consumerism has been around for a while with sustainability and environmental issues being the front runners, but now the movement is starting to embrace human rights, social justice, and diversity. We are becoming information hungry and demanding transparency, there is a growing need to understand what a company stands for and to see if this aligns with our own morals and values.  

Just for a second recognise the power you have…….

BOYCOTTS AND PUBLIC POWER

Think about the boycotts you are aware of, for example the 1990s Nike boycott - which most people will remember or at least know about, was an exceedingly effective action. The company’s sales fell after activist groups accused the brand of using child labor.

But while the short-term hit to Nike’s profits was significant, the most impressive long-term impact came from the change the company made to their own brand. Since the 90s, Nike has worked hard to regain  its reputation to a point where they have now become a sustainability leader. And this was all from the power of our voices pulling together to create the desired effect - a behaviour change in companies that extends far beyond a company’s short-term profits.
 

Can you take us through how it is going to work?

Upon download of the chrome plugin-in, a consumer will have access to a company’s leadership diversity data if it’s publicly available without leaving the website. The plugin will give you the ability to tweet a company when the diversity data is unavailable to ask them to release it.


Now onto why is this important and why now?

We are in a time of conscious change, it’s well overdue, but it does feel like we are starting to wake up to realities that we have been ignoring for a long time.  With this, the age of the conscious consumerism is gathering momentum, the knowledge that as a consumer, YOU have the power to be an agent of change.

Nearly 42% of millennials take the ethical and moral standards of a company into account before parting with their

hard-earned cash.

DIVERSITY AND THE WORKPLACE

As consumers face political, environmental and cultural upheaval, a diverse workforce is business critical. Talent must come from different places, bringing new perspectives to create work that truly resonates with people. Diversity within companies must move from a box-ticking exercise to a place where we are building inclusive workplaces and developing communications that speak to the varied audiences. This is an exciting time, creating a range of possible opportunities for all businesses to do things differently.

 

Diversity as a concept needs to be firmly set into all of our minds and also firmly embedded into any business strategy. It’s the way of growth and the way of our future.  The business world must come together and be more engaged and vocal than it has been, to promote the message of a diverse and tolerant society. It is an uphill battle, but peace, prosperity and advancement depend on it.

MILLENNIALS

Millennials are key to this shift and given that our workforce is now on the cusp of millennial domination, it’s essential brands give this due focus. According to research from Morning Consult, nearly 42% of millennials take the ethical and moral standards of a company into account before parting with their hard-earned cash. When people from this generation become the economic prime movers, this demand for ethical integrity will only increase.

We see what we buy and who we work for as an extension of ourselves, our values don’t need to stop or start when we arrive at the office or when we go home – they are part of who we are and what we believe in and should follow us through all steps of our lives. 

YOU HAVE THE POWER

As a collective, we, the consumers, are starting to apply pressure on brands to step up and do more than the basics. Education based decisions and transparent messaging, alongside brands taking a responsible stance on a matter they believe in, is becoming essential to gain and retain consumer trust and create a strong and motivated workforce.

We, as a society, should be holding ourselves accountable for creating a meaningfully (and measurably) more inclusive culture.  You have influence, You have power - Use It !! 

We believe you can help to create more momentum behind this with the help of the influential consumer plug-in. 

Don’t feel as if your voice is heard, especially with the state of the current world? As a consumer you need to recognise that YOU have immense power with your spending and actions - so use it!

Our wallet and our beliefs are our everyday tool for making our voices heard and making real, tangible change happen. So are you ready to exercise your power?

CHANGE

Let’s create a change by giving action to our beliefs in moving society forward to a world we can all be more proud of – a place where true equality and social justice is present. As the company – put yourselves at the forefront of change  and get on board with this idea, declare your data and as the consumer encourage companies to make this data public and transparent. If change needs to happen within a company this is the best way to shine a spotlight on it from inside and out.