Politicians, business leaders and social commentators increasingly talk in terms of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainable development. This can understandably be quite hard to comprehend and therefore it is often referred to as “ethical marketing”.
Social morals and values have changed over the years, and now the focus for many people in the United Kingdom is on quality of life rather than material wealth or possessions. Consumers look for more than just price and quality. They want to know what, where and who produced the products they buy and the methods involved in the production.
Ethical marketing is a way of framing messages in such a way that the consumer can associate and identify with. The basic idea is to create a strong ‘citizen brand’ by encouraging the company to intergrate cultural, economic, environmental and social values into their strategy and day to day actions, which will re-inforce the positive values of the brand. This is obviously not required by law, and is solely carried out on a voluntary basis. Which makes the appeal of an ethical firm even greater to the average consumer.
A common misconception is that the effective use of corporate and social responsibility is all about the environment. This is not the case as a strong strategy will also encompass servicing customers, looking after staff, being a good neighbour and a corporate citizen.
The long-term competitiveness and success of a firm can be directly related to the ethical marketing strategy employed at a firm. Companies have started looking very closely at this method of marketing, as they can gain a good reputation within a community and sustain growth within the firm.
The ethical marketing strategy and communication plan can reap many rewards and guarantee return on investment in several areas. One of these will be greater levels of customer satisfaction which will lead to loyalty. The brand and reputation of the firm will also be increased. The positive strategy will also create good publicity in the local area and potentially nationally depending on the size and importance of the firm. A well targeted and balanced ethical strategy will also reduce costs in the long-term and hopefully give the firm access to new markets.
For more information on ethical marketing in practice, have a look at the ethical Digital State Marketing.