But although Swartz admits that he is worried by public anger at the financial crisis, he sees the global downturn as a huge opportunity for the company he has been at or near the top of for almost 20 years. He feels the crisis gives brands with a social message the chance to reconnect with disillusioned consumers.
To do so brands will have to overcome the massive social fallout caused by the economic crisis, Swartz says. “The social fabric is frayed at best and torn in many places.” He argues that the “vibrations in the system” run much deeper than consumers deciding to shop less. “It’s more profound than that. People are asking, ‘What’s safe? What’s the truth?’” The challenge for brands today is to find a message that is relevant for consumers who, as Swartz puts it, are “shaken and stirred and not like James Bond”.
Swartz is hoping Timberland can tap into the reserves of social capital it has amassed with consumers over many years to prosper in the current crisis. The company has a strong record of leadership in responsible business, from ethical sourcing to transparent reporting on its social and environmental performance. It now reports quarterly on non-financial matters, for example.
Source: Ethical Crop
Image: Timberland tree logo