The Ethical Marketing Revolution
May 10, 2012 § Leave a comment
More recently than ever before, ethics and marketing have been increasingly intertwined. While from a business perspective this appears the only way to evolve to create an economically and ethically stable brand, I have heard more than my share of complaints about this new trend.
“It’s exploiting causes for profit.”
“The campaigns are losing sight of the product and selling an idea. You can’t put a price tag on an idea.”
Comments like this perturb me- I believe in the ability of every individual to see the level of transparency and honesty in a company, and I offer you a challenge; to find a business/ volunteer partnership which actually hurt people.
Can’t think of one?
That’s because consumers are intelligent enough to see past lies and fast-money schemes masked as “goodwill.” These are the companies which jump on a bandwagon for their benefit, hoping to milk an organization of profit for the sake of their own business. These are the kinds of businesses that get a one-star rating on Yelp and a box of tomatoes thrown on them by the public.
So how do businesses engage without the exploit (while discouraging the horribly unsustainable tomato- throwing trend of disapproval)?
In Onward, “How Starbucks Fought for its Life without Losing its Soul,” Schultz explains that in 2008 at a Starbucks summit in New Orleans, he worked to not only help his company and the American economy, but those in dire need. With a labor force of over 10,000 Starbucks Partners (employees), the team re-built over 38 houses for victims of hurricane Katrina, built parks and playgrounds, and brought life back into communities devastated by the floods.
This is ethical business; stepping outside of office headquarters to take a look at the world, find its needs, and meet them with every muscle in the body of the business. Howard’s not too bad at it.
I suppose over all, we could call ethical business the new “in” trend of business.
Perhaps it doesn’t happen in quite so literal a fashion, but the people have spoken; they want to know that when they buy a product, its production is ethical from source to package.
For some companies, the rising interest of ethical sourcing and promotion will be a publicity stunt. But as we all know, all publicity stunts, like Lindsay Lohan, will not last long.