• Newsletter Virtue is the new cool


Monthly Tonic - Issue 06

Being virtuous is rising as the one attribute consumers value above all others in brands, and where better to embody and share your values than through your physical retail environment.

Hi there,

Here we are again! A nationwide lockdown in the UK started last week, but it seems different this time round. There is less fear and more awareness. We are moving forward with refined beliefs and attitudes towards the brands, companies and institutions we interact with.

In our studio-wide debates, we have been discussing the one quality brands need (if you could only have one) to survive. Buzz words like… Brave, Agile, Curious, Sustainable, Inclusive and Kindness emerged as contenders. But one attribute stuck out as the quality brands need in order to be relevant today and in the future. Virtuous.

Being a virtuous brand isn’t easy, it’s actually near impossible to make all your decisions without a bit of self-interest. So… for our Monthly Tonic I have pulled together several key reports, articles and videos that add some detail and depth to our claim that… it’s the most virtuous brands that will survive!

The business case for being a virtuous brand The positive impact for the community and businesses has never been more clear cut. Afdhel Aziz, who coined the phrase ‘Good is the new cool’, provides all the data you’ll need to be convinced, while Edelman's annual Trust Barometer gives us a great insight into the importance of brand trust and consumer expectations around the role brands play in society today.

Beware of virtue signalling Pepsi tried to capitalise on the social momentum behind the Black Lives Matter movement and YouGov’s article discusses the brand’s infamous campaign-gone-wrong featuring Kylie Jenner, providing statistics which illuminate how the brand perception among Millennial consumers dropped and struggled to recover, after many judged their campaign to be inauthentic virtue signalling.

Support socially motivated causes that align with your business Jonathan Berr's article for CBS News provides an overview of Nike’s campaign supporting famed activist and former NFL player Colin Kaepernick. It discusses how the ad appealed to their core market, increasing Nike’s sales and value. There’s also a great video summarising the history of Nike’s bold brand positioning, which makes them seem authentic and trustworthy to their loyal followers, when it comes to having a voice for popular social causes.

The answer lies in your brand’s mission This excellent article in the Harvard Business Review thoroughly illustrates the huge impact that brands can have on social causes. By highlighting several case studies, it talks about the organisational requirements a brand should a start with and outlines a blueprint to produce real change.

Actions speak louder than just words Businesses with a retail presence have an unparalleled opportunity to have a positive impact on the community. Physical stores’ reach extends beyond ad campaigns, to interact with people on a local level, demonstrated in food critic, Jay Rayner's article, which looks at how ‘social supermarkets’ critically impact food poverty in communities in need.

Without doubt, one of the most inspiring attitudes to emerge from our COVID-19 experience is modern society’s shift towards kindness and empathy as key drivers to sustained market growth, consumer trust and loyalty.

In a short article titled, Why virtue is the new cool, we’ve captured our thoughts on why Virtuous brands matter and how physical retail environments can provide the best opportunities to activate these virtuous behaviours to connect deeper with your customers.

Feel free to get in touch if you'd like to discuss further.

Kind regards

In Quinine's ‘Monthly Tonic' newsletter, we share the key articles, reports and research studies that are driving the conversations we are having here in the studio. Each newsletter is based around a single theme that extends beyond retail to explore broader social and cultural influences shaping the changing world around us. We share a range of insights, perspectives and points of view that are positively impacting the direction we are heading and the discussions we are having with our clients. The following newsletter was shared with all our friends, clients and Quinine community members. If you would like to receive our next issue, please sign up here!