Nike, Patagonia, and TOMS Shoes… all have one thing in common, apart from being successful global brands. They are all conscious brands that are building their businesses around a higher mission and purpose. They stand for more than just growth and profit and because of this, their standing in the market and consumer loyalty is unwavering.

Take Patagonia, a brand that has become synonymous with conscious and purpose-driven business practices. They have become a widely known leader in the impact space, as a diligent supporter of grassroots environmental effects and has donated over $20,000,0000 through customer contributions to their Patagonia Action Works initiative. They have become a shining example of how a business can prioritise social responsibility while still achieving financial success.

In 2023, being seen as the brand with the best products and/or the lowest price is no longer enough. Being a conscious brand that consumers, and employees, can align with, get behind and feel like they are a part of… that is.

What does being a conscious brand look like?

A conscious brand is one that prioritises social and environmental impact alongside financial success. They are aware of their impact on society and the environment and actively seek to make positive change that aligns with their values. Growth and profit are no longer their only purpose; they’re committed to making an impact on the world, whether it’s ethical and sustainable practices throughout supply chains, actively committing to social justice causes, and/or supporting marginalised communities.

Being a conscious brand in 2023 requires a shift in mindset from traditional business practices because it means going beyond short-term profit, and instead considering the long-term impacts a business is having on society, and the environment.

Why is being a conscious brand important?

Consumers are becoming more conscious about what they are buying, who they are spending their money with, and what (and who) they are supporting. They are more aware of their impact on the world and the long-term effects that their footprint is making.

They want to know where their groceries are being grown and sourced, whether the people making their clothes are being treated fairly and ethically, what products and manufacturing processes are contributing to climate change, and whether businesses are being inclusive and supportive of marginalised communities both within their own teams, and their wider communities.

In a recent survey taken by Harvard Business School Online, it was found that:

  • 62% of people are more conscious about where they shop, who they are shopping from and the products they buy – and admitted that they are doing more research than ever before making a purchase.
  • 77% of consumers said they are more motivated to purchase from companies that have Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives in place.


  • 73% per cent or investors stated that efforts to improve the environment and society contribute to their investment decisions.

With social media and technology becoming more prevalent in everyday life, it’s now easier than ever for consumers to find the information they need to make informed decisions that align with their personal values and affect their overall buying behaviours. So, it’s important that the information they are finding is painting your brand in a positive light and of a favourable nature.

Being a conscious brand not only benefits the external perception of a company but also plays a crucial role in helping attract, and retain better talent; helping improve company culture, higher job satisfaction and increasing productivity and motivation.

When a brand demonstrates a genuine commitment to social and environmental responsibility, it creates a sense of purpose and alignment for its employees. Conscious brands that are seen as prioritising employee well-being, providing opportunities for personal and professional growth, and actively contributing to making a positive impact in the world are far more attractive and sought after.  By creating a work environment that resonates with employees’ values and aspirations, conscious brands cultivate a deep sense of loyalty and engagement among their staff.

In fact, the same study, above, from Harvard Business School Online found that:

  • 90% of employees who work at companies with a strong sense of purpose say they’re more productive, motivated, and loyal.
  • Nearly 70% of employees say they wouldn’t work for a company without a strong purpose.
  • And 60% said they would take a pay cut to work at a purpose-driven company.

How to become a conscious brand?

Brands can become conscious brands by adopting a series of intentional actions and values, and clearly communicating this through both their messaging AND actions, internally and externally.

The most important steps towards becoming a conscious brand are:

  • Actively engaging with your stakeholders, including employees, clients/customers, and local communities, to understand their needs and concerns.
  • Define your purpose. Identify the values and mission that drive your business. What do you want to achieve beyond just making money? Identifying the key areas where the brand can make a positive impact and aligning your strategies accordingly.
  • Create a game plan. Set goals on what you want to achieve and by when and develop a plan, that integrates with your business strategy. You might want to kick it off by doing a B Impact Assessment from the B Lab, to build a foundation on where you currently sit and what you can improve on. You may even decide to join over 150,000 brands globally and become BCorp Certified.
  • Prioritise transparency. Be open and honest about your practices and actions and take responsibility for any negative impact you may have. Where needed, communicate the steps you’re taking to mitigate and rectify any issues to establish trust and credibility, enabling your consumers to make better-informed choices.
  • Don’t just talk the talk. Talk is cheap… and nothing is not backed by action. Consumers will see straight through it for the play that it is. For example: While it may seem like a simple gesture, simply changing a LinkedIn profile picture to a rainbow flag during Pride Week without genuine support and action can be perceived as tokenism and could end up doing more harm to than good to a brand because it can portray lack of authenticity and superficially undermining credibility. So, if you say you’re going to do something, do it properly with full thought and support.
  • Prioritise your employees’ well-being: As Richard Branson once said, “Take care of your employees and they’ll take care of your business” and this couldn’t be any truer. Creating a positive work culture that fosters growth and development, and embraces diversity and inclusivity will make for happier, healthier, and more productive teams.


Becoming a conscious brand is a transformative journey that goes beyond surface-level actions. It requires a deep commitment to social and environmental responsibility, authenticity, and continuous improvement. By aligning your purpose with values that prioritise people and the planet, conscious brands not only foster better staff retention but also build trust and loyalty among customers and communities.

Ultimately, by embodying conscious practices, brands have the power to drive meaningful change and contribute to a more sustainable and equitable future, whilst achieving financial success.