This column is about the people of sustainability. What makes them tick? What’s their unique way to create impact? What have they learned that works? This time, it’s Christopher Gavigan, co-founder and chief purpose officer at the Honest Company.
Bob Langert: You studied behavioral psychology. Changing behavior is always a hard thing to do. Have you been able to apply that in your business?
Christopher Gavigan: People are creatures of habit and sometimes we fall into these habits and these habitual daily actions without really much conscious thought. I'm a firm believer that the best way to engage and apply corrective action or to shift people's mindsets is through a relationship of trust, emotion, empathy and vulnerability.
Consumers are looking for an advocate, they're looking for a friend, they're looking for some type of partner who they can trust, especially during the major life moments of having a new baby, a new home or a new family. They don't know who to turn to; there can sometimes be a generalized lack of trust and more of a distrust of certain institutions. So being one of the founders and a representative of the Honest brand, it's my job to uphold and express our brand values through all customer touchpoints such as in our written copy, visual representations of the brand, as well as through our products.
Langert: Tell me a little bit about how you put this into action.
Gavigan: In crafting our new line of Honest cleaning products, we’ve invested a lot of our research and development resources and countless hours towards innovation of efficacy and performance. The challenge typically in the green chemistry area is how to bring these plant-based technologies and proprietary formulas to the world, where, at the end of the day, a mom or the end consumer is really just wanting a cleaner to do its job, right? Show me performance. Show me results.
Therefore, you can have strong, powerful formulas, but you really need to be selective and thoughtful on all marketing, sales and education materials, choosing words that acknowledge the compromise in the traditional "green cleaning" space.
At the same time, we challenge the status quo in this space and showcase our relationship as a partnership. So, we say "This is clean," and it's a tagline, but we are really alluding to "clean without compromise." There's very intentionally a double meaning there. We think of compromise as very much a part of the traditional cleaning segment, so it's our job to remove the stigma and to express ourselves in a positive way. We aim to showcase the fact that in this shift, you no longer have to have a behavioral concession as you have in the past.
Langert: I know your company has been through some scrutiny and challenges on claims. Are they tough to deal with?
Gavigan: I would say personally it does hurt. It's highly disappointing to get attacked and to feel that your brand is not being represented in the marketplace as you had intended. We very intentionally named the company the Honest Company because honesty, openness and transparency are the principles at the foundation of the company and we always strive to showcase our ethos of commitment, not of perfection.
In naming ourself the Honest Company, we've placed a target squarely on our chest because we want to be a paradigm-shifter. We want to change the conversation in consumer product goods space and empower people to really take their own health into their own hands by offering safer products for them to potentially choose in the marketplace.
Read the full article here.
The Honest Company is dedicated to helping people live a happy and healthy life. Founded in 2012, the mission-driven company provides 100+ safe, effective, and delightful products across a wide range of consumer categories, including baby, personal care, beauty, home care, and vitamins & [...]