Ethical marketing – Manila Bulletin


Ethical marketing – Manila BulletinInspired by the marketing research of my daughter, Cristah Mathay, for the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P), I came to realize that for us to address the controversial issues of data breach and other problems spawning from aggressive marketing methods nowadays, we need to backtrack to the basics of decision making. Her research reveals that several advertising and marketing firms, and consequently, the brands that work with them, have for instance, been scrutinized for unethical data collection methods and how they use or misuse the data they collect. It can be as simple as harvesting email contacts to send out to telemarketers, or to sell to campaign managers during elections – all without consent from the data subjects.

As threats to personal information have been acknowledged by the government itself, it is imperative for advertising and marketing industries to take moral responsibility for their actions.

Globally, advertising firms are rising to this challenge. One such advertising firm that has been making strides in the Philippines is Sprout Communications, the marketing arm of global advertising firm Robin De Bois (RDB).

Recognizing how customer behavior has drastically shifted while brands and agencies are still playing catch up, Sprout Communications under the leadership of Filipino marketing trailblazer Jerianne Ejercito, managing partner for Asia Pacific, aims to apply old principles on new channels.

“We at Sprout create an impact on business and society. We build brands with purpose around the modern customer’s needs. Taking into consideration the cultural and emotional insights we know, we strive to provide extensive expertise in purpose-driven branding, powerful storytelling, inspiring content, and cutting-edge strategy. But all these we cannot do ethically if we didn’t take proper steps at the very beginning of our campaigns which are in our collection of data. We make sure that both clients and their customers are treated with dignity and respect through transparency,” Ejercito said.

Additionally, when advertisers and marketers were trained before to simply acquire data by all means possible, and simply find the best ways for clients to make a profit regardless of their decisions’ effects to broader communities, it is important for brands to work with firms that have the ability to change with the times. We are now living in a “woke” society with the new generation pushing for sustainability and responsible social practices, and ironically, this generation has brought to the forefront the “cancel culture.” As Dakota student opinion writer, Demetria Slit says, “…cancel culture refers to the mass withdrawal of support from public figures or celebrities who have done things that aren’t socially accepted today. This practice of “canceling” or mass shaming often occurs on social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.” Nowadays, brands must contend with wavering support and the threat of “cancel culture” if they remain oblivious to the call of the times for a responsible business plan.
Changing with the times can now spell success and failure for brands. As the world evolves, customer needs change and expand, creating new demands for new types of products and services. Companies that refuse to adapt with changes in demographics, customer trends, technology, and the economy, can render a brand as a failure in the long run.

“Sustainability is the way to go. Nowadays, responsible environmental and social practices are essential for the success of any brand. It is important for a brand to integrate sustainability into their operations and as a responsible firm, we aid brands in improving sustainability strategies and communications,” Ejercito adds.

Looking into the future, responsible and ethical practices for marketing students must be integrated in the school curriculum. As principles of marketing professor Roshan Uttamchandani of the UA&P says, “Marketing is, at its core, an interaction between human persons. However, in today’s data-driven world, it is easy for marketers to get lost in numbers and analytics and forget that there are real people behind those numbers. Real people, with real families, real wants and needs, real hopes and dreams, real fears and anxieties. Thus, the emphasis on ethical marketing in the curriculum helps students get used to seeing the real people behind the numbers. It empowers them to develop the habit of marketing to people and not to data. It reminds them to always uphold the dignity of the human person. This ethical foundation creates the mindset of developing initiatives that add real value to human lives, and it is precisely this value-creation mindset that separates the greatest marketers from everybody else.”





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