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K.K.Srivastava
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The need for an integrity based Marketing
Focussing solely on profit-making goals without paying attention to integrity is a risky proposition in reference to the brand’s reputation
Issue Date - 02/06/2011
 
I suggest that acting without integrity is the source of unethical practice. In common parlance ‘unethical’ refers to an activity or activities in which a company has acted exclusively in its own self-interest and, in so doing, has directly or indirectly caused others to suffer loss or harm. The sustainability agendas carry widespread moral force due to the underlying imperative that it is morally wrong for the current generation to devastate the environment and economy for themselves and for future generations. So-called ‘green ethics’ has force not primarily for aesthetic or resource reasons because people depend on the environment for their life and their wellbeing and because humankind understands a sense of responsibility to steward the environment and all living beings for the Common Good.

Most business and brand managers would be horrified by accusations that their business or brand had behaved unethically and would initiate measures to counter such accusations. Being seen to be unethical is likely to damage and even destroy a business or a brand. Ethical marketing places the focus on the marketer as a moral agent to assume the responsibility for fairly and honestly communicating a product’s attributes and benefits within the nature of a truthful relationship. It further requires that marketers have the ability to frame moral questions and answers in search of alternative responses that are intelligible, justifiable and coherent to a public still expecting organisations and their brands to act for the Common Good. The marketer therefore needs to be trained and held accountable for the practice of integrity in marketing management decision-making. The challenge for executive management is to demonstrate its capacity and judgement in guiding marketing strategies that are ethically sensitive. The marketing function therefore requires a supportive and courageous executive board when ethical or sustainability-related marketing claims are made or when CSR-related marketing activities are considered. This results in the board requiring greater accountability from marketers for the social and ethical performance of their products and brands and the impact of their communications on consumers and wider society.

The challenge to brand owners is to recruit and develop responsible brand managers and leaders within their organisations who have learnt the practice of ethical thought and consideration within the brand planning process and also in the language associated with brand positioning and branded frameworks. Ethics begins with a consideration of responsibilities towards the other however distant the other may be from the immediate challenges of marketing management.

Integrity in marketing involves reflecting before acting and engaging with others about ‘doing the right thing’. It places the focus on the marketer as a moral agent to assume the responsibility for fairly and honestly communicating a product’s attributes and benefits true brand integrity, brand promise and brand trust.

Coordinated By : Sanchit Verma
 

          
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