Causesurism: The Rise of Luxury and CSR

Isaac Mostovicz writes that that the rise of luxury brands embracing causes and CSR can be positive...

A recent article by Vanessa Friedman in the Financial Times talks about the recent trend towards “causesumerism”, a new term that has been coined by Lisa Ann Rochey and Stefano Ponte in their new book Brand Aid.

Causesumerism refers to

” …the increasing tendency of luxury and fashion brands to help consumers justify purchases by injecting a note of do-goodism into the selling of the product.”

The book focuses mainly on product (RED), which aims to stop the spread of AIDA in Africa by using the sales of branded goods such as Armani and GAP to support the global fund for fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

I have previously written about the relationship between luxury brands and CSR, and I believe that luxury and good causes are not mutually exclusive. This not only makes good sense for the long-term prospects of the brands in question, but can also be a positive attribute in luxury marketing – particularly if the brand aligns its CSR initiatives to core brand values and identity, and resonate with consumers.

Kahro, a jewelry stores Raleigh NC store which I run, has teamed up with Kay Yow Cancer Fund, a Raleigh NC based charity that work to fight female cancers. Giving to charity is seen as an aspect that Kahro shares with its customers; just as they spend extra, Kahro spends extra. This charitable giving builds self-esteem for all the Kahro employees, as they know that their workplace gives something back to the local community. In turn, this raises productivity and staff commitment.

Is this good in terms of marketing? Yes. But I also believe that it can deepen brand identity, and that it is not always driven by profit – it may make sense from an employee satisfaction perspective, or from a genuine wish to impact local communities.

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