Canadian consumers prefer purpose-led brands


3 ways to build a brand that aligns with customer values

Saje Natural Wellness started as a small, family-owned-and-operated essential oils and wellness business in Vancouver, back in 1992. In 2018, they were listed among the fastest growing businesses in the country by Canadian Business, boasting 1,488% growth between 2012 and 2017 and annual revenue of $50-$100 million.

Founders Kate Ross and Jean-Pierre LeBlanc are the husband and wife duo who started Saje, and their daughter Kiara is now their creative director, overseeing the brand both online and in brick-and-mortar shops selling essential oils, diffusers and body and skincare products. And the family’s voice is evident in that branding, clearly sharing their values on environmental sustainability and ethical responsibility on their website.

“We believe that human impact has damaged the Earth and its ecosystems, and to survive, we must treat our one and only home with respect,” the website reads. “As we learn more about the impacts of consumption, it becomes even more critical to support natural choices, large and small.”

Saje told Forbes the company “utilizes 100% natural ingredients (most are vegan), not tested on animals, made without synthetics and sourced from sustainable farms all over the world and from certified organic sources wherever possible.” Beyond the renewable resources and recyclable materials that Saje uses in its products and packaging, it’s the aforementioned natural choices, it turns out, that are the most important ingredients to the company’s success.


Canadian customers choose brands that match their values

Market Watch recently reported on the Canadian takeaways of a 2018 global survey conducted by Accenture that revealed the majority of Canadian consumers are keen to buy products from companies that take a stand on issues they care about.

In other words, consumers are not just looking for products to solve a problem or to fulfill a need or desire anymore. They’re aware of the greater impact of a seemingly small decision. They’re looking for brands that don’t run counter to their values. For Canadian companies, this means your brand values and everything your company stands for has a lot more skin in the game. So what can you do now to begin building a brand that takes a stance?


Reassess materials:

According to the Accenture survey, 83% of Canadian consumers are attracted to businesses that commit to using good quality products, and 58% believe in reducing plastics and improving the environment. Take stock of the materials your business uses to create the final product or get work done.

If the materials aren’t as high quality as they could be or they aren’t easily recycled, think about your alternatives. What would you have to do to meet a three- or five-year goal of swapping out wasteful materials for higher quality ones? Your customers will be more loyal knowing the product will last and will not increase their carbon footprint.


Influence with leadership:

Your voice matters. Over half (55%) of Canadians surveyed said their purchasing decisions are influenced by the words, values and actions of a company’s leader, and 66% are influenced by a leader who is known to treat employees well.

If you have the platform for it, express the values behind your product, whether it be environmental or social issues that you care about, to make your customers feel more connected with the brand. If you don’t feel comfortable using a personal platform like Twitter, use your website to tell your brand’s story, as the folks at Saje did.


Improve public relations:

How you react to difficult situations in the public eye can make or break your business. 27% of Canadian respondents say they have been disappointed by a company acting contrary to what they believed it stood for, and 37% stopped doing business with a company as a result of such a situation. If you don’t already have a public relations policy, person or process, your business could be in trouble should communication go unchecked or damage control isn’t executed properly in the event something goes wrong.

You don’t have to be a holistic wellness company to care about issues for the sake of the customer and the greater good. Since 52% of Canadians say they want to do business with companies that take a stand on issues they care about, it’s smart to be vocal about where your company stands on the issues that matter most to your target demographic.


Today’s is an age wherein information on your product, your leadership and how you react in the hot seat is at least accessible and at most readily available to the public. It would be detrimental not to take a stand and be transparent with Canadian consumers, especially those you are proud to call your customers.