Consumers and marketing managers agree that it has become increasingly important for brands to take a stand on ethical issues. Marketers believe that environmental measures are the most important to highlight, while initiatives pertaining to human rights top the list for consumers.
Looming climate change and social injustice have contributed to a greater need for collective responsibility. Today, 7 in 10 marketing managers believe that it is important for brands to take a stand, and that their customers also consider it an essential issue. Despite this, not all marketers who agree that it has benefits actually choose to take a stand in their campaigns.
Why don’t some companies take a stand on ethical issues?
1 in 10 marketers do not consider it necessary to take a stand on ethical and political issues. It may be that the company or brand does not want to be associated with politics and thereby risk alienating customers who may disagree with their specific position. Another reason is that many people are skeptical about whether company positions expressed in marketing are truly authentic and sincere. Today, words like natural, organic, environmentally friendly, green and sustainable have been devalued due to greenwashing.
What is greenwashing?
The concept of greenwashing first appeared in 1986 during a debate in which the hotel industry presented the reuse of towels as environmentally friendly, when it actually was a cost-saving measure.
Today, the term greenwashing is used to describe situations where companies and brands attempt to convey an impression of their product being better for the environment and the climate than it actually is. This might entail, for example, using something that is or appears to be good for the environment to shift attention from something negative.
Three tips for brands that want to take a stand
The conclusion is that it can be valuable for a brand to have clear political positions, but that they must be genuine. Here are three things that you can start focusing on today, which also involve taking a stand: