Ethical Marketing: Follow the Principles of These 7 Companies
According to Forbes, most millennial consumers are more inclined to support companies who use ethical marketing strategies.
Also, another study found out that a huge percentage of this group think that ethical brands perform better than their competitors who lack commitment to ethical principles.
This is why companies that dedicate themselves for the greater good, rather than focusing solely on their bottom lines, have seen a significant increase in support and revenue.
What is ethical marketing?
Ethical marketing is more of a philosophy and advocacy than a marketing strategy. It seeks to promote fairness, responsibility, and honesty in all the steps you take in your marketing efforts.
However, the word ‘ethics’ is a relative term, as it is subject to how people perceive what’s right and what’s wrong.
With that said, there is no hard and fast list of rules when it comes to ethical marketing. You can think of it as more of a general set of guidelines to help you evaluate new marketing strategies for your business.
Companies known for their high ethical marketing standards
Here’s a list of companies known for their high standards when it comes to ethical marketing.
Google has a very simple motto: "Don't be evil." And, it has been operating with that in mind. In fact, it has donated over $1 billion to renewable projects through its Google Green Program.
Google is also taking steps in significantly reducing its carbon footprint by using energy-efficient public transportation and buildings.
Microsoft and its employees donate over $1 billion to charities and non-profit organisations annually. And, as if that's not enough, the tech giant and its employees have decided to join in addressing the shortage of IT professionals in the US through its Technology Education and Literacy in Schools (TEALS) program.
Patagonia is another company that is a dedicated environmentalist. It is so dedicated to its cause that the company is willing to let it affect its bottom line. In fact, it has been asking other companies to join its advocacy by donating 1% of their sales to save the environment since it spearheaded the 1% for the Planet pledge in 1985.
Patagonia knows and understands how its business affects the environment. It even asks consumers to avoid purchasing products they don't need— even if it’s their products.
Intel encourages young people to find more interest in its STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) Education Intel Foundation program. To make this program more diverse, the tech company is using its donation funds and other programs to persuade girls and underprivileged minorities to study these fields.
NuStar Energy is committed to providing its employees the best benefits by paying 100% of their insurance premium—among other things. It also has a strict no-layoff policy. The management even goes as far as letting the employees borrow the corporate jet in case of emergencies.
Farmer Direct Co-op
Farmer Direct Co-op is an entirely worker-owned cooperative. It has also made ethical farming its mission by committing to sustainable agriculture, as well as responsible environmental stewardship.
Who should use ethical marketing?
When implemented the right way, ethical marketing can be an effective and economical form of advertising. Every business (even a small business) has a chance to engage in ethical marketing, from the smallest enterprise to the largest multinational corporation.
However, for companies that operate based on their lofty personal principles, advertising in an ethical way is a necessary and natural extension of their corporate character. This could be a huge opportunity for you to boost your brand's credibility, especially if you are catering to consumers who look for more than just quality and price in the products they buy.
Environmental stewardship, fair and just employee treatment, using sustainable materials, and making charitable donations are just some ways you can turn your company into an ethical entity.
If you not familiar with marketing at all, you should take some free courses on marketing first, and then come back to this article later for your ethical marketing plan.
How to develop and implement an ethical marketing plan?
Ethical marketing offers a tool to help you assess the marketing strategies you use for your business. If you think it can help you improve your public image and increase your profits, you can take these steps to revise your current marketing strategies.
Conduct a careful analysis of your company.
An ethical marketing effort starts with a careful analysis of your company, the market you operate within, and your customers. Careful and thorough research is the key to predicting the effects of any change in your strategy.
Decide which features of your advertising plan you can implement ethically
However, as mentioned earlier, ethics is a bit on the gray area, as not everyone sees things the same way. What's right for some may be wrong for others. This can make things extra tricky.
Leverage the main purpose of your ethical decisions.
The next thing you need to consider is how you are going to leverage the main purpose of your ethical decisions. Doing what you think is right may not be enough of a motivating factor for people to consider your business an ethical one. You also need to highlight your ethical choices to help improve your public image.
However, this might come off as bragging and self-congratulatory to some people. To avoid this, your ethical marketing efforts should balance your company's social responsibility and self-interest.
The businesses featured in this article are all distinctly different, but they all share a common goal. They are all committed to protecting the livelihoods and rights of the less fortunate.
Not every company believes in ethical marketing. However, focusing more on people instead of profit will pay off a thousandfold in the future. If you want to increase sales like the businesses featured in this article did, you should also include ethical marketing as a core part of your company’s mission and values.
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