Jessica Lohmann of Ethical Brand Marketing

Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my! Jessica has combined her deep love of mother nature and all the animals who reside on planet earth with her many years of marketing experience and created an amazing company. One of the reasons I’m so excited to share her story and the story of her business is becuase Jessica is the first person that was nominated by someone else (from the link on my site to be featured). Also, the person who nominated her is not someone I know! Someone who follows me on IG reached out and said she loved what I was doing with the Changemakers series and that she knew the perfect person.

Boy, was she right! Jessica and Ethical Brand Marketing are an amazing example of using your business as a force for good. Not only is she giving back to causes she supports with her own business, she is promoting and practicing ethical marketing strategies. No manipulation or confusing language here - she practices and preaches full transparency in all of your marketing.

And, when you read her site, you can see that marketing is still fun and engaging, even when it is authentic. With her own connection to animals and endangered species being a core value, she calls the people she works with rare breeds. Who doesn’t want to be that special?

Like many of us, Jessica is also moving into the world of speaking and thought leadership and she recently had her first book come out (a children’s book about taking care of animals!).

I hope that you will enjoy learning more about what she does as well as how you too can practice ethical marketing.

Website: Ethical Brand Marketing IG: @ethicalbrandmarketing

Tell us about your business. What do you do? Who do you serve? How long have you been at it?

I've been a marketing strategist since I earned my BBA in the US in 1991. I worked in various industries until becoming self-employed in 2013 when I started working with ethical brands as a freelancer on various marketing activities.

In 2018, I founded Ethical Brand Marketing to help brand owners and marketers protect more animals and our environment by creating and implementing an ethical marketing strategy - a strategy free of dishonesty and manipulation. This strategy inspires healthy consumerism, but also that increases revenue and turns my clients into leaders so that they can more easily make positive changes in their industry and help save our planet and as many animals as humanly possible.

My clients are owners or marketers that offer fair trade, vegan, cruelty-free, organic, biodegradable, etc. products or offer services that truly serve their clients in an ethical way. They help save animals and our environment by either actively working on conservation projects or giving back to organizations that do.

Why did you start your business?

I work with ethical brands out of pure unconditional love and respect for Mother Nature and all she takes care of. I want to live in a world of healthy choices and opportunities for all animals, humans included - one with no more child labor, sweatshops, animal abuse and testing, pesticides, as well as GMOs and harmful chemicals on the foods, clothes, meds and products we consume.

I want the brands that are doing something good in this world to not only survive, but to thrive, and the only way they can do this is if they run their business well and implement a rock-solid marketing strategy.

Because marketing has enabled a heightened and destructive consumption mentality, my intention is to teach and help owners and marketers to employ the ethical marketing strategies that will inspire consumers to become more mindful with their purchases. This includes learning to look at labels, to ask themselves if they 'really' need this, and to repurpose what they already have so that they have more money to buy the products they really do want and need that are of higher quality and produced ethically.

What does "social good business" or "values based earning" mean to you? 

To me, a social good business is one that does as little harm to all animals, humans included, and our planet as possible. Little harm as opposed to no harm because we have to produce products, e.g. running around naked is - unfortunately - not the solution. We still have to produce, but in order to save Mother Nature and all she takes care of, we have to be conscious of the materials we use and make sure the entire process chain is run ethically.

Our high values are recognized in every step of the way when we run our businesses. We can't change the world alone, so by seeking like-minded people to hire and collaborate with, we'll reach our goals faster and more efficiently.

With small businesses in the ethical space, earning money is not always seen as a 'good thing', but I beg to differ because it's money that helps us make positive changes in our industry. Without money, you'll struggle and when you struggle, you're not thriving and can't give back as much. You can't make an impact that way because you'll only worry about keeping your head above water.

What I inspire to teach those who have a negative money mindset is that there are conscious consumers who want high-quality items. Again, we all still need stuff, so we need ethical brands to thrive so that conscious consumers can purchase them. We also need ethical brands to become more mainstream so that they get in front of the masses. Without money, this is impossible.

What is your favorite part about running a social good business or your favorite experience since you started? 

I'm most proud of the fact that I've inspired my clients to make important changes in their marketing strategy and in doing so, I've helped protect animals and encouraged healthy consumerism.

For instance, one client stopped offering animal-interaction tourist activities and shortly after implementing his optimized marketing strategy, his revenue increased tremendously.

Or take a look at pricing. Charm prices were introduced over a century ago because of psychology. If we see a lower number on the left - because we read from left to right - we 'feel' that we're getting a bargain. But this is manipulation, and it is so ingrained in our brains that we tend to accept it as the norm.

This is harmful because it causes us to sometimes buy stuff we either don't want or need. So, I encourage others to use rounded numbers ($3, $550) instead of charm prices ($2,99, $547). And to be transparent, for example, by showing the entire production process on video, interviewing the workers and explaining how they are giving back instead of just writing: "5% of our proceeds go to charity." What does 5% mean? Which charities? What does 'proceeds' actually mean? Is that AFTER marketing costs are considered? There are too many questions there and the consumers just don't know who they're helping let alone how. Consumers want to feel that they're a part of the solution too. Let them in on your “secret.”

What is your biggest struggle in running a social good business? 

Trying to find the best solutions. For instance, I self-published a middle-grade book in its digital form to help save laboratory animals and inspire a cruelty-free shopping habit but am still researching ethical printing solutions that works for me and aligns with my values. This is not an easy task. The book is finished, but may take some time before it gets printed.

I also searched for an ethically-made rollup to take to the Be The Change Awards in London in April. I found one but then realized that the banner was made of polyester. The more ethical solution from another company was too flimsy and would have torn after the first use so that wasn't sustainable enough. I was on a deadline and just ordered the polyester banner knowing that I'd have it for a long time. At least the base is made from quality bamboo.

I'm a perfectionist though, so to not get in my own way and just move forward, I sometimes have to lower my expectations if I don't find the perfect solution.

What would you like most to accomplish in the next year? 5 years? 

In 1 year:

  • Print my book

  • Create an online course on how to create an ethical marketing strategy from start to finish

  • Collaborate with other like-minders to work on conservation projects

  • Find more speaking opportunities

  • Outsource my social media marketing

in 5 years:

  • Increase my team to 5 changemakers

  • See positive changes in the marketing industry - ethical marketing is on the rise

  • Have my book series published (1 book/year) to inspire children to respect Mother Nature and all she takes care of

Who are your business icons, heroines or mentors? 

Anyone who practices respectful communication and is actively or passively saving our environment. Specifically: Dr. Jane Goodall, David Attenborough, Mahatma Gandhi

What's your #1 tip for someone just getting started running a values-based business? 

Figure out your why: Why you're in the business you’re in and what you want to achieve with your business. What is your goal? Some people prefer the word intention. I think they're synonyms. Either way, set your goal and then break it down into objectives that will help you reach your goal. And then break each objective down into simple, actionable steps that you can put into your calendar and just work on them one by one.

This approach may not work for everyone, but I'm an organizer and strategist, so I need a plan and I need it written down because if it's not on my calendar, it's just not gonna happen!

And I always advise everyone to be kind to themselves. Saving the planet can become an overwhelming mess - I literally cry sometimes because of all the destruction - so just put one foot in front of the other and collaborate with others who are one step ahead of you to work on projects that will help you reach your goal. You can only do so much in a day with the resources you have. Building up a business is an enormous task, but one that is achievable if you don't stress yourself out over it.

What are your favorite conferences or retreats to attend?

Sustainable business and entrepreneurial events such as the Be The Change Awards, which I'm sponsoring and judging the 'Brands that Give Back' category! I'm always on the look out for events to attend. It's difficult with a family who needs me, so that's why I haven't attended many lately.

What is the last book you read? 

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts, by the amazing Brené Brown