Main points:

Today’s consumers are increasingly informed and conscientious, and they recognise the detrimental effects of fast fashion not only on our environment but also on the lives of underpaid workers in factories worldwide. As awareness grows about the unsustainable practices prevalent in the fast fashion industry, there is a growing demand for transparency, ethical sourcing, and responsible consumption. This shift in consumer behaviour underscores the need for fashion brands to prioritise sustainability, ethical labour practices, and social responsibility. 

But what type of fabrics, manufacturing processes, and supply chains are considered “sustainable” and how can you find out what your consumers expect from you? 

Defining Sustainability in Fashion

Defining sustainable fashion is complex because it encompasses a wide range of practices and criteria, including the use of organic, recycled, and plastic-free materials, which can sometimes be contradictory. For example, using fabrics made from recycled plastic is often labelled as a sustainable practice, but not all clothes and accessories made from it can be recycled again.

Recycled polyester is commonly sourced from PET bottles taken out of a closed-loop system where they would normally be recycled back into bottles. Moreover, clothes made from recycled polyester also release microplastics into the environment and cannot be recycled multiple times which gives them a one-way ticket to landfills. 

The moment people learn about the type of materials your brand uses and how it sources them, they can turn to social media to share their opinions, experiences, and concerns. What people say online can have a direct impact on your brand reputation and it can directly influence your sales, endangering the success of your business.

How Can Media Intelligence Help Your Fashion Brand Remain Sustainable?

Media Intelligence can help you keep up with these conversations as well as gain valuable insights into consumer perceptions, preferences, and trends related to sustainable fashion. Here are 7 ways Media Intelligence can assist your fashion brand in enhancing sustainable practices:

1 / Researching Target-Audience Preferences

Whether you are just starting in the fashion industry or looking to improve your current sustainability efforts, you first have to get to know your target audience. Media Intelligence empowers fashion brands to dive deeper into their target audience’s preferences, opinions, and behaviours related to sustainable fashion. By analysing online conversations, reviews, and social media interactions, you can gain valuable insights into which sustainable practices, fabrics, and initiatives resonate most with your audience

Understanding consumer preferences allows you to tailor your product offerings and marketing strategies to align with your audience’s values and expectations. Moreover, identifying practices or fabrics that are less favoured enables you to address concerns, improve transparency, and prioritise sustainability initiatives that drive engagement, loyalty, and positive brand perception among consumers passionate about ethical fashion.

2/ Monitoring Brand Sentiment

You could be doing everything right, but people might still be upset with you. Data helps you understand what makes your consumers happy and what makes them walk away from your products. Media Intelligence tools can track and analyse conversations on social media platforms and online forums, providing real-time insights into consumer sentiment. You can learn how people feel about your brand as well as about your competitors.

The ability to analyse sentiment and understand public perceptions can help you identify your target audience’s pain points and pinpoint white spaces that you can fill in with your product offering. The next step would be to promote those products through tailored brand messaging that will resonate with your target audience.

3/ Identifying Key Influencers

Media Intelligence not only enables you to identify and engage with key influencers and thought leaders in the sustainable fashion space but also provides valuable insights into their influence, reach, and impact on your target audience. Understanding the metrics used to assess the influence and reach of fashion influencers is crucial in building effective relationships and maximising the impact of your brand’s sustainability message.

📈 Reach – refers to the size of their audience across various social media platforms, blogs, and other digital channels. By analysing the number of followers, subscribers, and website visitors, you can gauge the potential reach of an influencer and assess their ability to amplify your brand’s message to a broader audience interested in sustainable fashion.

🗨️ Engagement Rate – serves as a critical indicator of an influencer’s effectiveness in driving meaningful interactions and conversations with their audience. Metrics such as likes, comments, shares, and click-through rates can provide insights into the level of engagement generated by an influencer’s content. A high engagement rate often indicates a more engaged and loyal audience.

♻️ Relevance and Alignment – evaluating the relevance and alignment of an influencer’s content, values, and audience with your brand’s sustainability goals and target audience is essential. For example, if you praise yourself on being a sustainable brand, you would not want someone who does fast-fashion hauls to promote your products. By assessing the type of content they create, the causes they support, and their commitment to ethical fashion practices, you can ensure alignment and authenticity in your collaborations, fostering trust and credibility among consumers.

⭐ Content Quality and Authenticity – understanding the quality and authenticity of an influencer’s content plays a significant role in shaping consumer perceptions and attitudes towards your brand. By analysing the creativity, authenticity, and relevance of their content, including visuals, storytelling, and messaging, you can identify influencers who can effectively communicate your brand’s sustainability message and resonate with your target audience.

💸 ROI and Performance Metrics – measuring the return on investment (ROI) and performance metrics of influencer collaborations is crucial in assessing their effectiveness and impact on your brand’s sustainability initiatives. By tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) such as website traffic, conversion rates, sales growth, brand mentions, and sentiment analysis, you can evaluate the success of your influencer partnerships and optimise future collaborations to drive measurable results.

4/ Tracking Emerging Trends in Sustainable Fashion

Staying on top of trends is not easy, especially when you consider the amount of content that goes up on social media every day. The good news is that Media Intelligence tools, supported by AI features, allow you to analyse big amounts of content over desired periods, which shows you the topics that generate a lot of engagement. By doing so, you can monitor emerging and ongoing trends and learn about innovations and audience-approved practices in sustainable fashion. Staying informed about industry developments helps you adapt your product offerings, manufacturing processes, and supply chain practices so you can align with evolving consumer expectations and regulatory requirements.

5/ Benchmarking Performance

Do you ever wonder how your brand fares against your competitors? Are they doing a better job of being sustainable, or are they failing miserably? Media Intelligence enables you to benchmark your brand’s sustainability performance against competitors and industry benchmarks. You can analyse their strategies and read what people say about them which will help you identify opportunities for differentiation, innovation, and leadership in the sustainable fashion marketplace.

6/ Anticipating and Managing Crisis Situations

Let us say, for example, that your garments contain viscose. That might not sit well with people who are increasingly concerned about its environmental and ethical implications. Viscose, often touted as a sustainable alternative to synthetic materials, has come under scrutiny due to its production process, which involves the use of chemicals, including carbon disulfide, that can be harmful to workers and the environment if not managed properly.

Additionally, the deforestation linked to the sourcing of wood pulp for viscose production raises concerns about biodiversity loss and habitat destruction. Not to mention that the lack of transparency and traceability in some viscose supply chains has led to questions about ethical labour practices, including issues related to fair wages, working conditions, and social responsibility. 

So how should you respond if people start attacking your brand for using viscose? What other fabric choices do you have? How can you save your brand’s image and show consumers that you are making the necessary efforts to improve? 

You can learn all that through research. 

Media Intelligence provides you with the tools to proactively identify and mitigate potential reputational risks and crises related to sustainability issues. By monitoring online conversations, news coverage, and social media trends, you can anticipate challenges, respond promptly to consumer concerns, and demonstrate your brand’s commitment to responsible practices.

7/ Measuring Impact

All brands want to impact the fashion industry, but achieving positive and measurable results requires more than just good intentions; it demands strategic planning, execution, and evaluation. Media Intelligence enables fashion brands to quantify and assess the real-world impact of their sustainability initiatives on various facets of their business, including brand perception, consumer engagement, and sales performance. By analysing key performance indicators, sentiment trends, and consumer feedback, you can assess the effectiveness of your strategies, refine your approach, and communicate your progress transparently to stakeholders.

“Okay, Where Do I Start?”

Deciphering consumer preferences, monitoring industry trends, and managing potential reputational risks sounds like a daunting task. At A Data Pro, we understand the intricacies of the fashion industry because we work with many small brands as well as industry giants. Our Media Intelligence services are tailored to help brands like yours enhance sustainable practices, improve brand reputation, and drive meaningful change.

With a global reach and a team of analysts covering over 40 languages, we specialise in monitoring markets worldwide, providing media intelligence reports with real-time insights, actionable recommendations, and strategic guidance to help you make informed decisions. Whether you are looking to research target-audience preferences, monitor brand sentiment, identify key influencers, track emerging trends, benchmark performance, manage crises, or measure impact, our Media Intelligence solutions offer comprehensive coverage and unparalleled expertise to support your sustainability journey.

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