Luxury consumers’ demand for ethically sourced and manufactured products is rising, with Google searches for “sustainable jewelry” quintupling over the last three years.
While disruptors like Aurate have established themselves as sustainable alternatives by anchoring ethical sourcing practices into their brand DNA, brands tracked in Gartner L2’s report on the topic are now acquiring or launching their own sustainable product lines as well. They also increasingly use social media to be part of the conversation. The number of tracked brand Instagram posts about sustainability and ethical sourcing has risen 620% in 2018, accounting for 3.6% of all analyzed jewelry posts in December 2018, up from 0.5% in January 2018. However, messages about these efforts have mixed results for brands, as it takes time for them to resonate with consumers and become authentically incorporated into brand identities.
Gartner L2 found that among specialty retail brands, initial posts featuring corporate social responsibility content resulted in below-average interactions, and luxury brands prove to be no different. Chopard announced its commitment to 100% Ethical Gold in March 2018, and Instagram posts featuring sustainability content during that quarter resulted in 33% fewer interactions per post than the brand’s average. Determined to see its initiative through across digital properties, the brand integrated Ethical Gold content on its site, featuring a “Sustainability” section in primarily navigation. With consistency across digital properties and more time, the message began to connect with consumers, and by the first quarter of 2019, Chopard saw a 77% lift in interactions on its sustainability posts.
Brands must understand that to win in sustainability, they must play the long game. To authenticate and hasten the process, brands should consistently message efforts across digital properties, including owned sites and social media handles.