We live in the age of smart consumers. Customers are constantly asking brands questions in regards to how their products are made, what are the resources being used, how are the work conditions of the labourers and how eco-friendly their products are post-use. These practices have also led to more and more brands working towards reducing their carbon footprint in the last few years. Companies like Nike and Adidas have in the last decade moved their factories from one country to another because of concerns raised by their global customers. The biggest brands in the world have introduced and started producing more green products. And some of the biggest car companies are now producing electric cars.
If you go back and check, you'd notice the CSR budgets of the brands increasing every year along with the usage of the word sustainability in their meeting and all PR communications. But is it enough?
Millions of dollars are spent by thousands of companies on marketing every single year. and these budgets only go up every year although 2020 and the pandemic forced some companies to rethink their marketing budget. But still, huge loads of sums were spent on marketing by the biggest brands out there. But do the brands consider what social implications this marketing spend leads to?
The last decade saw the rise of a new form of marketing, called influencer marketing. Although, influencer marketing has existed as a concept for a few decades now as athlete sponsorships are nothing but a form of influencer marketing. But with the age of social media, there are thousands of lifestyle influencers who get paid hefty sums to promote certain brands, their products and services. There might not be anything ethically wrong with this way of marketing but what brands don't really understand is the implications they have on the socio-cultural landscape of certain markets.
Let's say for example a certain clothing brand pays an influencer 100,000$ to promote their brand across their social channels for a period of 6 months where they collaborate over various different campaigns. And the said influencer does everything as per the contract and the brand also achieves the targets it meant to achieve and more. It was a fruitful collaboration for both parties involved. But, do the brands really know how the said influencer built the online following he/she has? What if the influencer is someone who just keeps going to clubs and parties every evening and promotes a lifestyle that is not very healthy or promotes controversial opinions especially to young minds. And the fact that your brand associated with them make their life and whatever they do a desirable thing for the young audiences.
Hence, we believe its high time we start talking about 'Responsible Marketing'. Responsible Marketing is where brands not just spend wisely on marketing to get the best possible returns for their money, but also when the money spent also leads to some societal good. Like in the above-mentioned example of the clothing brand, a more responsible approach to their marketing would have been to choose a local youth team or local sports team and collaborate with them to create meaningful contributions and gain tremendous goodwill among the target audience.
In the coming few weeks we'll talk more about responsible marketing and how our team at Zlingit is doing our bit to make more and more companies shift towards a responsible marketing approach.