How to Market Ethically: Lessons from Everlane and Red Bull
Ethical Marketing Practices: A Look at Everlane's Transparency and Red Bull's Controversial Advertising
Can ethical marketing prevail? Explore Everlane's transparent approach and Red Bull's controversial advertising in light of American Marketing Association's (AMA) principles.
Business organizations are bound by the ethical norms prescribed in their ethical norms prescribed by their discipline. Businesses sometimes undertake marketing actions that violate the ethical norms for their own gain. They give misleading information, which is simply pimped to attract customers to the business. Puffery and false advertising are some of the unethical acts that businesses engage in, just to win customers to their side. Any business that is guided by the principles of ethics and corporate social responsibility should avoid by all means anything that misleads consumers.
Despite having rogue businesses engaging in unethical marketing acts, there are those that stick to the lane. There are businesses whose marketing is up to notch with ethical provisions of the AMA (American Marketing Association). One such company is Everlane. Over the years, there has been an outcry on the conduct of garment factories. This is the cry that Everlane has tried to answer since its inception in 2010. After a careful consideration of the fire that brought down a garment factory in Bangladesh in 2012, Everlane desires to stand out and come across as truthful and caring to the general public.
Primary role of marketers according to AMA is ensuring they strive to embrace ethical values, pressing every day to ensure that they are truthful in all situations and times. The Everalne website is the first stop where one begins to find this truth. Apart from setting prices for consumers, the company breaks down the cost for the costing of making that piece of garment. Radical transparency is at the backbone of the operations of Everlane. This is the foundation of their ethical functioning. Fairness and transparency are guiding values, and it is only satisfying to see that the company equally observes them.
However, there is another core of companies that are in total disregard and contravention of the AMA ethical norms. This group of businesses is out there to make profits at whatever cost. Their desire is to enrich the business, and corporate social responsibility is not a priority for them. In many cases, they can do anything human possible and partially acceptable to make financial gains for the business at the expense of the people. They lie in their adverts; they exaggerate their offers, and end up giving consumers less value for their hard-earned cash. The biggest way the companies do this is by blatantly lying to coerce potential consumer into buying. One brand found is such a marketing controversy is Red Bull.
The energy drink company used the slogan "Red Bull gives you wings" which is a blatant impossibility. Under such circumstances, the company violated the ethical norms of AMA and even found itself in the corridors of justice to answer lawsuits. The AMA ethical norms provides for truthfulness, respectably treat buyers, and most important justify products' failure to deliver their claimed benefits. Nobody ever developed wings, which makes it clear that their advertising was full of lies. Through that, they had violated their corporate social responsibility commitment.
Businesses need to hold their own in marketing, and ensure that it doesn't antagonize them with their customers. Corporate social responsibility is the first step of building consumer loyalty and staying longer in the market. Business managers should understand the AMA provisions, and in liaison with the marketing managers ensure that the measures are adhered to for business gain.
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Compare and contrast a four Ps approach to marketing versus the value approach (creating, communicating, and delivering value). Select and examine these approaches for at least one routine and non-routine problem. What would you expect to be the same and what would you expect to be different between two companies that apply one or the other approach?