Today business sphere develops extremely quickly, which makes companies communicate with their customer audience in order to promote a particular product. Such actions are seen as marketing. Their utilization allows various organizations to induce behavioral change and increase profit in such way. However, the focus of marketing tends to alter nowadays. While some businesses are totally focused on their own earnings, others started to consider what can be beneficial for their consumers, the whole society, and the environment. Such approach is used in the framework of socially responsible marketing. It is a marketing philosophy of the organization that is tightly connected with ethics. Together, social responsibility and principles of ethics have been identified as two key elements that require business people to redefine the role of marketing.
Being socially responsible, companies pay much attention to the territory where they operate and to people for whom they conduct their business. Organizations are to utilize moral actions that have or promote a positive influence on all stakeholders. In this way, an implementation socially responsible practice is advantageous for the employees, citizens, clients, and shareholders. Organizational decisions that are likely to have an influence on such populations should be packaged and communicated because the most critical right that customers have is the opportunity to choose the organization that will achieve success and fail. Thus, it is significant for the marketers to design strategies that allow companies to represent their practices as philanthropic ones with no falsity. A great example of the outcomes of such decisions is Brand Karma award that is obtained by the most admired brands.
Utilization of ethical principles in marketing, in its turn, is seen as a philosophy that allows to identify right and wrong behavior in the sphere. Of course, such decisions are subjunctive, but the reference to a particular guideline can prove that a company is trying to act ethically. It presupposes that organizational activities are based on the concepts of honesty, fairness, and responsibility. Thus, it is critical for the organization to implement a shared standard of truth. It should be used when communicating with target market to increase its loyalty and improve relations. Marketers need to realize that sensationalism cannot always bring positive outcomes, as clients are likely to treat it with disgrace. That is why a concept of advertising is to be distinguished. Ensuring truth and honesty, businesses need to entail all their claims with confirmations that are clear and transparent. Except for that, it is critical to adhere to customers’ privacy as it is extremely valued by the representatives of the general public. Finally, government standards and regulations are to be followed, as they prove that company‘s operations are not illegal, and it can be trusted (Marinova 535).
Social responsibility and ethics are extremely important for marketing, as they ensure focusing on the attraction of clients and increased profit. For example, companies can use recyclable packaging, showing that they are friendly towards the environment. They can refer to promotions that improve people’s awareness and use a part of their gaining to assist charitable groups. In this way, they will utilize practices that are likely to be highly valued by the society and will honestly disclose them. As a result, customers will refer to this organization because its practices are right and appealing. It is also possible to implement social responsibility strategies in marketing with the reference to charity. For example, people may be encouraged to buy a bundle of socks because in this way they will donate one pair to shelters and orphanages. Such actions will give the organization an opportunity to perform itself as socially responsible and ethical. Thus, people who are involved in socially responsible commitments and want to improve the quality of life for the whole society will be attracted.
In order to implement social responsibility and principles of ethics in marketing, stakeholders need to perform ethical behaviors. They should facilitate responsible marketing efforts because failure to correspond to the chosen appearances will surely hurt the brand and lead the company to downfall. The thing is that customers tend to conduct their own investigations, which allows them to disclose marketing gimmicks. That is why, not to lose customers’ loyalty, organizations should be fair regarding their operations and philosophies. Even though initial investment can be spent on donations or similar initiatives, a positive company image will be created, which affects productivity and profitability advantageously.
The concepts of social responsibility and ethics are used by many multinational organizations. They not only provide an opportunity to influence many clients and their behavior but also to define a target market. Companies tend to emphasize their social role. They turn from business-centric activities towards customer-centric ones, discovering clients’ needs. Much attention is paid to innovative products and services as they attract new consumers and enhance competitiveness. They tend to make their offerings valuable in this way. For example, Apple’s clients wait patiently for a new device to appear so that they can be the first ones who have it. They do not refer to another brand, which is beneficial for the company. It is critical to have a decent corporate mission in this perspective because it allow the organization to design a guideline that should be followed to put the good for the community and measure increase in profit at the same time. Finally, it should be taken into consideration that traditional focus on cost reduction and income increase is not useful for socially responsible markets. Provision of products and services that are required by the clients as well as customer feedback for improvement is to be emphasized.
Among the companies that successfully utilize social responsibility and ethics is Coca-Cola. It provides advantages for communities and environment. This organization deals with initiatives that consider water, climate change, and waste management. The Coca-Cola Foundation is involved in activities aimed to end HIV_AIDS expansion and provide more opportunities for higher education. At the same time, Pepsi Cola focuses on rural areas. It helps to streamline economic development of such locations. It transfers various technologies to India, including “food-processing, packaging, and water-treatment” (Labbai 26). Similar practices are also adopted by Microsoft, McDonald, and other organizations, which proves them to be beneficial for the business.
Thus, it can be concluded that with the implementation of social responsibility and principles of ethics, the role of marketing changed greatly. Traditional profit-driven operations were replaced by the focus on social and ethical values that are critical for the representatives of the general public. Companies tend to prove that they are willing to help society and perform products and services that are friendly towards all citizens and environment. In other words, clients are attracted not due to the aggressive promotion but with the help of emphasis on values, assistance, cooperation, and charity.
Labbai, Mohamed. “Social Responsibility and Ethics in Marketing.” International Marketing Conference on Marketing & Society 8.10 (2007): 17-27.
Marinova, Trakia. “Marketing Ethics and Social Responsibility.” Journal of Sciences 11.1 (2013): 535-538.