By Brady Rothschild, Mars Hil University Intern
Ethics in advertising is important, because by acting ethically with their advertising, a company is being responsible towards the needs of the customer. Ethical advertising evens the playing field for the consumer by giving them the information they need to make an informed decision on what products to buy and how these products will enhance their lives--whether they need the product or they just want that product.
Companies need to show they have morals when advertising to consumers, because that makes consumers’ feel like the company cares about what they need. This shows that the customer is protected by a company that is behaving in a way that makes a difference to the community they work in. Companies need to work with the community in a way that is sustainable and keeps all the stakeholders happy. One way to ensure sustainability is hiring local employees when possible rather than outsourcing production to other people in other countries.
Millennials have a need to feel part of a larger community, and feel like they are making a difference. By acting ethically, companies can foster this desire to connect with the company and in turn make a difference. This goes with the company’s need to act sustainably. By getting involved in community activities, the company is doing their duty (deontological ethics), and they are hopefully doing this because it is the right thing to do. But, they are also catching the attention of others who support their cause, and this will bring in brand loyalists who will believe strongly in what the company stands for.
A great example of a company with ethics in their advertising is Toms; they promise to provide a pair of shoes for someone less fortunate every time someone buys a pair of shoes from them. This is exciting for people--especially millennials, because they feel like they are making a difference in they eyes of others. Toms made this commitment to help the global community and as a result, have created a sense of global community around their brand. They're dedicated to this cause because they feel it is their duty to do something for the community. Rather than giving the less fortunate money, Toms gives them something they can use that will be of longer-term benefit to the people they are trying to help. They could just donate profit to the people, but that would only help them short term, like the old saying about giving a man a fish versus teaching a man to fish.
Companies must provide their customers with fair knowledge of what they are trying to achieve with their company mission and vision. By sharing this vision, they are helping people to understand the thought process behind their decision making and how the company feels their products or services will be of benefit to people without using false advertising to entice people into buying the product. Honesty is important for customers in order to create trust between a brand and a consumer, so maintaining ethics in advertising efforts will help to make the relationship stronger.
By doing the right thing, brands are acting in a responsible manner towards the community and the customers they are working for. People, especially millennials, are eager to make a difference in the world around them. Companies need to show they care about the community and the success of the community around them; it is part of their duty to care about those around them and help support those buying their products. Companies need to stay honest with their intentions, show that they genuinely care about the consumer, and perform responsibly towards all stakeholders.
By being open with their intentions, they are showing others they have nothing to hide and that they genuinely care for those who are buying the products they provide. This open display of genuine ethics can make or break a company in modern times helping to show consumers how they want to make the world better by not only providing great products, but by also being a great member of society.