Experts point to a number of factors or turning points: the 2008 financial crisis, the 2016 US election, the Black Lives Matter movement and the COVID-19 pandemic, to name just a few. In reality, it’s a culmination of global events over the past 20 years that’s led to a seismic shift in cultural needs and wants.
Mary Portas coined this ‘The Kindness Economy’, arguing that people have fundamentally changed what they’re looking for in products and brands. They’re even increasingly turning to direct-to-consumer companies to help solve societal issues. Where corporations and conglomerates once reigned supreme, there’s now clear demand for responsible niche brands that reflect modern outlooks, lifestyles and values. That’s where the challengers are filling the void for conscious consumers. And at the same time, many of these cause-driven disruptors have their eyes set on taking a hearty slice of the incumbent pie.
There’s more to business than profit
If one thing unites the challengers – whatever their product category – it’s that there’s more to business than just making a profit. Of course, they need to make money. But it’s about making money sustainably, and for the good of the world.
Much of this starts by identifying a problem. Some founders set out to radically change their category; others start with more modest ambitions. Yet both types of entrepreneurs build their companies on a shared sense of higher purpose – a mission to make, create and deliver for the better of consumers, the planet and society. This is their very lifeblood and their reason for being.