Aren’t We Woke? Buy Our Products!

29 Nov

I ran across the term “conscious capitalism” the other day and it gave me an uncomfortable vibe. Not that I object to corporations doing good, but because I don’t like such an obvious heart tug. It’s good for the Earth, but how does this help a company’s bottom line?

I’ll admit, my first prejudice against this term came because I heard it in a commercial – told by a recent female college graduate. With her “like, you know” cadence, I couldn’t help thinking, “they must be just giving MBA’s away.” But again, I wasn’t the ad’s demographic. They’re trying to convince teens to go to their school. “Get out in four years, get your business degree, change the world for good.”

So I did some surface-level research. “Conscious capitalism” seems to be a new branding on traditional business practices. This reminds me so much of mission statements that go no where. Sure, [your grocery store] gave $X million to charity, but where did that money come from? Maybe from all those screens when you’re checking out to give money to the [whatever] fund? So really, did the grocery store give that money, or did you?

Does it really work? Suburu has rebranded themselves completely as the green-loving, earth-caring, responsible car manufacturer. Were you more likely to buy a Suburu after this? Me, not really, but again, I’m not their demographic. In the conscious capitalism article, they used Whole Foods as an example of how this worked, and just then… everything clicked.

It comes down to the business adage, KYC – Know Your Customer. People who buy Suburus and go to Whole Foods tend to be liberal, younger, and make a higher income. These are people who participate in Climate Marches. To keep their customer base, they can’t come across as those capitalists (even though they are), they have to tell their customers “we’re like you–we believe in the movement.”

Maybe they do, maybe they don’t, but even the cynical like me still believe in free trade coffee. (I watched the documentary Black Coffee and it completely changed my mind on this issue–go ahead, it’s streaming free!) When I go to the shelves, I see a brand that says “free trade,” it might even have an accreditation label… but how much research am I going to do to determine how free trade it is? I’ll just pay the extra couple of bucks, get a better cup of joe, and feel righteous.

Is something locally sourced? From where? How would you know? My wife has supported CSA’s (community supported agriculture) before and so you knew exactly where it was grown, but that’s a level of commitment beyond going to the store or even the farmer’s market.

So I’ll admit, I’m biased against “the cause” because I don’t believe that their motives are genuine. But I’ll admit, I may be missing something. If you know what it is, let me know in the comments below!

2 Responses to “Aren’t We Woke? Buy Our Products!”

  1. spwilcen November 29, 2020 at 11:15 am #

    Believe their motives genuine? Really? I mean, REALLY? It’s the bottom-line, man, and you know it. All the BBA, MBA wonders buy this shix, just as every entitled group believes the handouts they get are FREE! Magic! Like the $1/doz eggs they pay $1.50 for to see the green sticker so they feel-good, and by golly aren’t they holding corporations’ feet to the fire? Pu-lease, like, you know (eye roll) don’t get me started on the coastie-girls’ clatter, you know. Great post. Now where are my tranquilizers?

  2. joanne the geek November 30, 2020 at 8:52 pm #

    Totally agree!

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