Marketing March 20, 2012 Last updated September 18th, 2018 2,448 Reads share

Marketing: Time To Be Legal, Decent, Honest And Truthful?

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A recent article in “Marketing Week” reported that the consumer and general public has lost faith in the marketing and advertising industry, and that the industry was facing a potential crisis. The basis for this was a Readers Digest survey where a staggering 81% of respondents said they had lost trust in the advertising industry.

There have also been studies that suggest that increasingly consumers are looking more and more to independent sources, like online reviews and expert bloggers, for advice on what products and brands to chose with their increasingly limited budgets.

The premise being that they see advertising as making overblown and exaggerated claims, and so cannot be trusted as blindly as perhaps in the past. Or at least taken at face value as may have been the case before.

Do the right thing!

The key challenge for the industry, and every marketer, brand owner and advertiser is to think about and act with integrity, and to think more about how they as consumers would like to see and hear themselves be – and act. I like the mantra that the UK Advertising Standards Authority works to:  to ensure in advertising that it is legal, decent, honest and truthful.

If all marketers focus on “doing the right thing”, and avoid the temptation to get carried away with over hype, and the constant attempt to react to the competition. I really do believe, and have through out my career, stuck to the belief my mother gave to me.

This is that “the good guys always win in the end”.

  • Even if in the short term there are negative consequences, and others seem to be winning by being less moral and true.
  • If you think about the various crashes or brand disasters, you will find that the bad guys do not win finally.

High ground

I believe thus is a mantra that the marketing community need to focus more and more on. This especially includes the knock on effects and social responsibly of the actions we all take.

We have seen, for example, the drive for lower prices mean that we also see abuses and exploitation of workers in emerging markets, or bad and inhumane practices with animals.

  • Marketers need to actively seek and take a more moral high ground.
  • It could well be the thing that actually ensures you succeed in the end.

As products are becoming more and more similar, and the real differences in the mind of the consumer and customer is at best marginal – the social and environmental aspects and practices  or the way and how you do business could well be the thing that wins you the order – or makes the sale than the marginal performance differences…

Here are some recent articles on the topic that I have come across:

Marketers call for a re-branding of the industry (Marketing Week)

Brand building on social purpose (

What do you think? Do marketers need to change how they do business?

Image: “A dishonest man has a nose that grew long when he lied just like in the story of Pinocchio./Shutterstock

Gary Bembridge

Gary Bembridge

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