Who’s to blame in the moral marketing game

Ethically conscious and environmentally conscious consumers make up a larger segment of the market worldwide, and this coincides with an increase in wealth. It is the rich who are able and interested in using their purchasing power for a particular purpose, and, given this, social issues are where interests currently lie, marketers prefer to obey.

In the same way that marketing plays an important role in consumer demand management, consumer demand also influences marketing strategies. And demand indisputably. More and more consumers in developed markets are interested in buying in accordance with their preferred personalities and perceived social values. And this was most recently demonstrated in the United States with numerous pride month promotions and notable new product lines (such as Target now featuring chest dressings and underwear packaging) to meet socially engaged consumer base.

Although some global brands have been criticized for not having their logos in the colors of the rainbow. outside the western world (especially in countries where homosexuality is a criminal offense), this should not come as a surprise, as firms typically target and tailor brand strategies and advertising to suit the type of their audience. And this is the ability really understand and engage with your audience, resulting in increased market share.

Relationship building is currently the modus operandi for modern marketers, and CRM (customer relationship management) software and strategies harness like never before. Companies have taken a deep dive into what drives consumption, and there is evidence that social issues are the determining factor.

According to McKinsey reportGeneration Z “consumers are increasingly expecting brands to “state their position”” and, as shown in Deloitte Global Millennial Survey, “Millennials and Generation Z in general will patronize and support companies that are aligned with their values.”

For some time now and as business strategist Michael Porter points outthere is a growing understanding of how purchasing power can have total value in terms of satisfying both economic and social needs – and those who are wealthy tend to exercise their money muscles to signal the strength of the wallet for a specific purpose.

When purchasing power is limited, consumption is based on function and essential properties, little attention is paid to how a banana makes it to the grocery store when a person is struggling to feed a family. But when purchasing power is strong, buying behavior shifts towards conscious consumption, while it matters whether the banana is organic, whether it supports small farmers, whether it is transported in a sustainable way, and so on. For this reason, Fresh Del Monte (FDM) recently made plans for launching Fairtrade certified bananas in the US.

Despite the claim that “all FDM bananas are grown responsibly“The company can now put a seal of approval on its good deeds by displaying the Fair Trade label, which signals to its consumers that FDB bananas are more than just a purchase, they have a purpose.

Social labels are successful in encouraging consumers to pay more for what they consider to be a worthy cause, rather than just a good product, which goes against traditional consumer behavior. And so, in addition to existing FDM manufacturing practices, the company finds it necessary to pay a de facto regulator to certify its activities so that it can promote his connection for the greater good.

Similarly, Chobani chose to be first in the US dairy industry get certified fair trade usa (FTUSA) and in Forbes article published shortly after Chobani’s FTUSA announcement, Paul Rice, founder and CEO of FTUSA, notes that those who supply Chobani must now comply with “a rigorous checklist of 200 items of social, labor and environmental criteria” and undergo annual audits to confirm ongoing compliance. . ”

While the checklist may sound great, some of the criteria seem overbearing or unnecessary for the developing world. For example, many farmers around the world use organic products by default because they cannot afford pesticides and fertilizers, and yet it is necessary to incur costs to invite certification agencies to verify their activities. Moreover, many poor farmers could benefit from herbicide use increase crop yields and better manage land use, Tragic Lesson Learned by the Government of Sri Lankabut this would be problematic for certification status conditions.

Universal certification systems standards and regulations short-sighted and usually miss opportunities for new ideas and innovations. And it should be noted that benefits for those on the manufacturing side of Fairtrade are not always guaranteed. One study on cocoa farmers in West Africa found that the benefits of certification are marginal at best, while another Fair Trade certified coffee farmers found that participants were worse off than conventional growers. In addition, it is not always clear that certified landowners share monetary benefits with their hired assistantas well as unfair compensation to work on certified farms known to have happened.

Nevertheless, the centralization of power and the introduction of industry standards external auditors as well as appointed bureaucrats, not businesses, is growing – and we are all to blame.

Consumer confidence in advertising is woefully low (as noted by Inc.., 96% of consumers distrust advertising), which is why marketers are desperate for other ways to grab attention. That’s why value based advertising and social labels are on the rise. It’s no longer enough for companies to just sell something of value, they need to be reviewed as having social value. And one way to do that is to join a cause or get a third party seal of approval.

However, there is a real danger in the pursuit of products that satisfy not only personal needs, but also social needs, since the impact is not always measurable and effective. intentions and results are not the same.

Moreover, the expectation that businesses will serve as social advocates gives organizations and their brands a mandate to focus on the public good rather than performance in their operations. Social management is about caring for and maintaining the status quo—not a role that encourages the risk-taking or experimentation needed in business.

Forcing enterprises to act as managers will result in production being determined by external dictates and collective standards. And perhaps no one knows this better than Elon Musk, given the recent elimination of the Tesla spot on the S&P’s 500 ESG Ranking – deletion that caused new (and badly needed) debate on the absurdity and impracticality or ESG ratings.

If we want companies to stop doing washingwe need to channel incentives back into supporting firms in their core offerings and stop basing our purchases on case-specific marketing messages and social labels.

Kimberly Josephson

Dr. Kimberly Josephson is Associate Professor of Business at Lebanon Valley College and works as an adjunct researcher at Consumer Choice Center. She teaches courses on global sustainability, international marketing and workplace diversity; and her research and reviews have appeared in various the shops.

She holds a PhD in Global Studies and Trade and an MA in International Politics in La Trobe UniversityMaster’s Degree in Political Science from Temple Universityand a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a specialization in Political Science from Bloomsburg University.

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