09 Jul Your Brand x Cause: How To Support Without Burning Out
Let’s talk about supporting causes. As creatives, we’re naturally more sensitive to the world around us – it’s what makes us able to tell our stories and share our messages like no other. Therefore, an artist attaching one song, a concert, or their entire career to a cause close to their heart is a very common occurrence.
One of my clients, Drake Jensen, is a bold advocate for LGBTQ+ inclusivity in country music (check out his music video for “Burn The Floor”). Dani Alexandria, who co-hosts our Let’s Talk Creative podcast, uses her YouTube channel to highlight how diversity leads to innovation.
There is no shortage of admirable causes to support. However, not only is it logistically impossible to support them all, but this day and age of 24/7 information streams, bad news selling, and woke culture leads to a phenomenon called “compassion fatigue,” where well intentioned people get burnt out trying to save the entire world at once.
The best thing I think you can do to avoid burnout from trying to champion too many causes is to determine what’s most important to you – your core values – and making choices based on those. You need to do what works for you, which will look different for everyone. – Noelle, founder of Good Choice Initiative
Meet Good Choice Initiative. They’re a local startup and the inspiration behind this article. Simply put, they’re an online directory of ethical, sustainable companies in the Ottawa area – but what really captured my interest in Good Choice Initiative was that its founder, Noelle, understands that there are a multitude of factors that contribute to buying a “good choice” product, and that consumers take different factors into account according to their personal code of ethics, lifestyle, and budget constraints.
I believe in using a holistic approach to sustainable living that considers both social and environmental well-being in our buying and lifestyle choices. As consumers, we should ask ourselves certain questions before purchasing a product: where it was made and by whom, under what conditions and using which materials, and what will happen to it once we’re finished with it. Everyone has different values and lifestyles but as long as we’re purchasing products in line with our social and/or environmental values, I think that’s making a good choice. – Noelle, founder of Good Choice Initiative
Let’s say you’re a musician who’s looking to get band shirts made to sell to your fanbase. Since they have your logo on them, you’ll want fans wearing a shirt that showcases your “brand” in the best possible light in a way that reflects your values. Here are some factors worth considering…
- Is the cotton ethically sourced?
- How much water will be used in processing stage?
- What kinds of bleach and dye will be used to add colour?
- Will the shirt be sewn by a child in a sweatshop?
- Do you want to use all new materials, or upcycle discarded fabric?
- How wide a range of sizes and cuts are you going to offer?
- At what price should you offer your shirts, so that you still earn money yet don’t exclude people?
This is where the “compassion fatigue”, as referenced above, comes in. These are just a few questions we can ask ourselves, and weigh what matters most to us and our base at this point.
So then, how does one choose what causes to support?
Of course, in your private life, you can (and hopefully should) make a “good choice” whenever it’s feasible. For example, in my personal life as “Clarence, the regular guy,” I volunteer with an animal rescue, have attended marches and rallies, occasionally get into debates in the comments section (for better or worse), and have an extensive list of injustices in the world I won’t stand for.
However, when I’m presenting myself as “Clarence, CEO of Pop of Colour,” I’ve got to pick and choose my battles and nemeses. As of writing this in 2020, the causes Pop of Colour supports are:
Making sure artists get paid. “Blockchain Technology Will Spark A Revolution For Songwriters” + “Why Musicians Should Support Universal Basic Income”
Make the music industry a welcoming place for everyone, especially women and the LGBTQ+ community. “10 Ways To Encourage Women In The Music Business” + “How To Handle Creepy Guys on Your Facebook Page”
If you need help choosing what causes to support as a public figure in your own right, download this free worksheet, or let’s have virtual tea. Oh, and be sure to check out Good Choice Initiative’s directory to shop from and support small, ethical businesses in Ottawa if you can.