With a written proclamation manuscript in hand and a raging spirit to release the nation from a colonized ruling, First President Soekarno stood on the podium to announce Indonesia’s independence on August 17th, 1945. His stern declaration became the beacon of freedom that prominently shed light of hope from Sabang to Merauke. Notwithstanding, independence is a timeless goal that requires the nation to work for it with every step forward. “A nation that does not believe in its own power as a nation, will not stand in independence,” voiced Soekarno in his 1963 Proclamation Anniversary speech.
Instilling the same patriotic spirit, Indonesian born and crafted brands have been fighting for the nation’s empowerment while encouraging its people to realize the power that they have when they are in unity. In a world before the COVID-19 hit and now enduring it, a number of local brands among SIRCLO Store users have actively shown and advocated the raging spirit of empowerment and impact to the community. To these brands, the podium to advocate empowerment is a medium that has been restoring the distance between them and their consumers; technology. These brands were born to the online world to deliver products that could fulfill the people’s demands with a quality that is not only competitive, but also ethical. With today’s state-of-the-art technology, these brands are able to speak to their communities, raise awareness about things that need to be shed light on, and keep making headway to achieve more business goals. To put it simply, they have been operating their businesses, while also fighting for the nation’s everlasting independence; to be free of negative mindset and habits.
In recognition of these brands’ respective efforts and effectiveness, SIRCLO’s 2020 Awards highlight 3 local brands with outstanding business impact; the Agent of Change category to BLZR.ID, Earth-friendly Advocate to dr soap, and Agent of Empowerment to This Is April. Through their online selling website (webstore) powered by SIRCLO Store, they are able to expand the capabilities of their business and add more value to their identity. Bringing forward creative campaigns, these local brands have introduced the topics they champion to every website visitor and initiated a conversation with thousands of their website users. These brands have now acquired a growing number of customers within their webstore environment; adding up to a total of 30k members as per August 2020, and still counting.1 The growth is similarly reflected through an exponential Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) increment from January to July 2020, amounting to as high as 283%.2
Movements and creative content that showcase a brand’s positive intention have consistently been an appreciated value by consumers, most especially in difficult times where the people need to be reminded of the good despite the bad. When Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, numerous wildfires, and political tensions occurred in 2017, research has shown that people longed for reminders of compassion in addition to the differences that society can make in the world.3 In the same year, Ace Metrix, a leading advertising analytics company, released a list of Top Breakthrough Ads delivered by brands which featured philanthropic content as the top two ads.4 When the world is going through hardship, consumers desire a break from the distress and over the years brands have taken the opportunity to be the enablers of that. A Forbes analysis article once discussed how “brands are humane instead of inhumane”, and therefore need to be sincere in order to establish a human connection with their consumers.5 In achieving that, they may embody the two of the most humane expressions; kindness and empathy. Empathetic brands are seen as the most compelling businesses in the world, with their ability to understand the importance of human vulnerability and show empathy through care.6 This in turn translates to recognising people’s priorities amid market shifts, as seen since the outbreak of COVID-19. With the spirit of nationalism and camaraderie, the following local brands of SIRCLO Store have been practicing exactly that.
Being the Agent of Change
While focusing the business on empowering women in style, BLZR.ID have been actively participating and initiating various efforts for the humanitarian cause. Dennice is a firm believer on the principle that every fortune she gains is to be given back. Through BLZR.ID, she translates this principle into both internal and external efforts. They first kickstarted the effort by donating a portion of their revenues monthly to WWF (World Wildlife Foundation), an action that is still retained till the present day. Their first donation was then followed by numerous other contributions formulated by the team, such as to the Sumatran elephant protection and disaster relief funds. Determined to give more, BLZR.ID then started committing to monthly donations towards diverse fundraising causes promoted in the KitaBisa.com platform.
Although the outside world asks for a pause on the usual activities and human interaction, BLZR.ID allocated Rp50.000 of each blazer’s sales as fund donations for the COVID-19 cause through @goodsforgood.id. In addition to that, they also recently worked with @thechillybin & @trfhomemade.id in a movement of distributing 100 healthy rice boxes to COVID-19 response public health centers and hospitals. As facial masks have been on the rise of urgency, BLZR.ID also sells masks in order to fulfill the growing demands and to donate the sales revenue towards the medical frontliners. Notwithstanding the prioritisation for COVID-19 causes, BLZR.ID participated in the “AKSI CEPAT TANGGAP (ACT)” Donation program for 9,4157 Gorontalo flood victims.
In 2019, Jokowi announced the continuity of the “SDM (Sumber Daya Manusia) Unggul, Indonesia Maju” programme that campaigns the effort of producing prime human resources to bring the country forward into development.8 In line with this mission, BLZR.ID has taken the opportunity to contribute to the educational sector by raising funds for Rumah Yatim to grant scholarships to 350 orphans in need. BLZR.ID believes that every act of kindness brings a good impact, hence their ongoing commitment to spare a portion of their efforts to help others through sustainable means.
According to Kantar’s recent analysis on life and trends in Indonesia, 63% of Indonesians expect brands to donate their advertising space for charitable causes.9 BLZR.ID’s social efforts have insofar catered to those expectations, while reflecting the brand’s concern of the nation’s current struggles. What brands can do to help nurture a sense of togetherness amid turbulent times is by showcasing a truly ‘connected and kind’ world while ultimately infusing their role in the story.10
Being the Earth-friendly Advocate
Lack of hygiene awareness can lead to numerous bacterial diseases or virus infections. Even in a pandemic such as the present day’s, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that the best way to protect oneself from the virus infection is by washing our main touch point towards our surroundings, our hands, with soap and running water. Even before the risk of a dangerous virus infection such as that of COVID-19, dr soap has acknowledged the risks of not taking good care of our hygiene. WHO’s findings that considered household-level access to improved sanitation and drinking-water, environmental health was identified as a high priority health topic, especially with poor national performance and high levels of inequality.
In 2019, governmental efforts to create such facilities have brought decent results to many provinces in Indonesia, but not entirely equal. Certain areas such as Nusa Tenggara Timur and Papua are still struggling to achieve better sanitation as clean water and soap aren’t effectively available. With the same hygiene-aware state of mind that birthed the brand, dr soap initiated a movement called “#drsoapHealsEarth'' wherein every dr soap bottle sold is equivalent to one liter of clean water being distributed to the areas in need. They are currently in the process of gathering the funds and pushing the awareness for the final execution which will effectively take place following the pandemic crisis. They have also promoted bottle recycling programs, a positive initiative that has been similarly campaigned by numerous beauty/personal care brands.
Alongside social movements, dr soap has stayed faithful to its promise to be eco-friendly through their 5-year business operations. Firstly, the ingredients used to produce their products are plant-based and do not contain harsh petrochemicals nor animal derivatives. Secondly, every new product is ensured to be cruelty-free and bring no harmful impact to the environment in the process. Thirdly, the packaging for sold products are designed to cut down the use of plastic materials by using coco fiber instead, also adding a unique touch to the final product. Finally, dr soap implements the same eco-friendly principle in their work environment. This way, the effort is consistent among the business ecosystem without excluding either the products or the brand’s operations.
Being the Agent of Empowerment
Despite beauty being fairly subjective, the agenda set by various media with opinion leader powers have inevitably defined a set of ‘unrealistic’ beauty standards that have brought critical conversations in society. In reality, these beauty standards have shown to negatively influence a woman’s body image which in the long run may lead to unstable mental health issues. Recognising this problem, This Is April chooses to take on the role of mitigating the unfair standards and reminding their community about feeling comfortable in their own skin.
Their first campaign to support women empowerment began in 2017 with the tagline #BeautyIsNotJustAboutLook. In this campaign, they released 7 lip cream shades titled “This Is April Satin Lip Stocking”, first of its kind for the clothing brand. The 7 shades were inspired by the qualities of 7 Indonesian millennial women; Shahnaz Soehartono, Gwen Winarno, Lala Karmela, Martha Puri, Nicoline P. Malina, Karen Carlotta, and Marischka Prudence. The campaign aimed to remind women that beauty is more about what’s within instead of what’s outside. They advocate the beautiful internal qualities of a woman through the name of each lip cream shade; Independent, Compassionate, Confident, Creative, Fierce, Good Vibe, and Fearless. “Supported by the stories of each figure, we want women to remember that whatever their life goal is, they can still feel beautiful regardless of the beauty standards out there,” explained Cindy Wijayanti Hadi, This Is April’s Head of Marketing Communications.
Over the years, This Is April’s webstore and blog have created a haven for women to strengthen self-positivity. Specifically in 2019, they launched another women empowerment campaign championing self-love with the tagline #FirstLoveYourself. Insecurities from not meeting beauty standards have been an ongoing issue which also affects numerous Indonesian public figures, who likewise have become a victim of negative remarks aimed towards their body. One of the approaches that was deemed able to institute positive evaluations of one’s body is by holding a compassionate view of one’s self or mostly referred to as self-love/self-compassion.
Elevating their 2017 strategy, This Is April’s #FirstLoveYourself campaign featured the launch of This Is April Body Series, consisting of a 3-in-1 Spray, Body Serum, and Body Scrub. The messaging of the campaign was portrayed in the products’ 3 editions featuring 3 women of varying backgrounds; Folk Singer/Songwriter Nadin Amizah for ‘You Are Unique’, Voice Talent Ankatama for ‘You Are Beautiful’, and Paralympic Athlete Laura Aurelia for ‘You Are Precious’. Trusting that stories are one of the best routes to stay on the top of consumers’ mind, This Is April shared self-love journeys of each woman to inspire their community about the rocky road of self-love that every woman must take to find inner happiness.
Although brands predominantly highlight milestones and achievements instead of struggles, it does not necessarily reflect a journey that was not met with challenges. “Raising awareness is not as simple. For example, a few years back, it wasn’t easy to convince people to start washing their hands before meals or after going to the restroom. This was a struggle for many hygiene brands to advocate as well as for dr soap. Now with the pandemic, people are becoming more cautious and disciplined in terms of hygiene. We are certain that we are advocating for what’s right and important, so we never stray from our purpose in our 5-year journey and counting. We know it’s worth it,” Joycellynne, Founder of dr soap claims.
These local brands’ never-ending determination to support urgent causes among Indonesia’s society reflect the strong value of nationalism that can be put into practice through approaches that are each to their own. BLZR.ID has been quick to respond to the nation’s regional or national issues by investing their resources and capabilities to health, education, and misfortune areas in need. Through their continual effort in giving back to the people and planet, BLZR.ID is able to remind the people of a world with compassion. As a brand in the health sector dedicated to helping Indonesians live a healthier life on a healthier planet, dr soap has been implementing a 360° eco-friendly approach within their business operations by ensuring the consistency among products, manufacturing, and head office environment. Among many causes, the subject of women empowerment is one that still requires awareness in Indonesia. As a women’s clothing line, This Is April progressively formulates campaigns that aim to remind women of the beauty they were born with and the inner beauty that truly matters.
Having their own brand.com with the ability to convey stories through SIRCLO Store’s Blog feature brought forth an additional value that the brand can express, embody, and be associated with. With a medium that’s at the forefront of their fingertips, these local brands were able to make their strategies a reality. Not only bringing business revenues, they were also able to positively influence their brand and community as a whole. In the words of our First President Soekarno, “Raise your ambitions sky high! Reach for the sky. If you fall, you’ll fall amidst the stars.” As Indonesia celebrates the 75th year of the homeland’s independence, we encourage every individual to bring forward the ambitions one wishes to accomplish within this nation. Your business dream could be a solution to many and SIRCLO is here to help you make the first leap; visit store.sirclo.com to get started.
Happy Independence Day, Indonesia. Let’s raise our right hands to respect the red and white flag, with a spirit to #InspireTheFuture!
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