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Q&A with Bombas: The right way to communicate about your mission-driven brand

Insider Intelligence spoke with Randy Goldberg, co-founder and chief brand officer of Bombas, a certified B corporation. The apparel company provides individuals in homeless shelters, rehabilitation centers, and more with clothing items, donating one item for every purchase. 

II: How do you communicate your mission to your customers?

Goldberg: One of the obstacles we still come face to face with is authenticity. Customers see how brands communicate, and they can see through a brand’s gimmicks. There is a real danger of seeming like you're doing good just for marketing purposes. We try to over-communicate around our mission to make sure customers know that the purchase they're making is going to have a real impact in their local community. 

For example, a customer can type in their ZIP code on our site and it'll tell them where we're donating products near them and if those organizations are open to volunteering or donating other products. We also tell stories around our giving partners, the shelters and organizations. We try to make sure our customers know the direct impact they are having with their purchases. 

II: What advice would you give to a brand that is hoping to contribute profits to a cause?

Goldberg: As a brand, it's harder to do that later on, but it doesn't mean you shouldn't try. When I speak to companies who want to add this on, the No. 1 thing is making sure that the people at the company who are going to be involved in this effort are passionate about it. You have to be willing to invest in donating things and giving away your time. It's not just the act of doing it—it's also speaking to the people you're trying to help and making sure they actually want what you're trying to do.

Then for your customers, make sure that you're telling that story consistently over and over again. It's the kind of thing where if you're not sick of talking about it then you're not saying it enough.

II: How have consumers’ expectations for brands shifted? 

Goldberg: Customers are demanding more from the companies that they're spending time interacting with or shopping with. They're choosing where to put their dollars and voting with their dollars. They want to know that the company they’re supporting is doing something good and that the product is well-built. 

Most good companies today are famous for something beyond just their product. If you're building a strong brand, it's about what you sell and something else that you're doing to benefit society, not just lining your own pockets. It’s almost a prerequisite at this point for a brand to do something beyond their product. More companies are going to be coming to the realization that they have to do more than just deliver a good product and deliver profits to their shareholders.

This was originally featured in the Retail Daily newsletter. For more retail insights, statistics, and trends, subscribe here.