Brands can’t be indifferent to whether they are actually making their fans “better off” any longer, because we are at the beginning stages of a post-consumerist society – I stress the very beginning stages! We are entering an era where we witness a ‘culture of meaning’ not just of marketing.
Media-based agencies are understanding most quickly that people are now finding a greater fulfillment in thoughts, experiences, and pure information. People don’t just want to buy, be sold and marketed “junk” anymore – they want transparency and openness. Consumers no longer want the hard sell and they want a definite ethical undertone from their brands. Check out the Gwilym’s disloyalty card
Google for example see the value in making (or seeming to make) an ethical stand by snubbing China. And this positioning of itself as a brand that “does good things” – and takes the high ground – is pretty vital to achieve Google’s aim to build “products that can be used by a billion or more people.” (Forbes.com)
‘The old high ground was built for 20th century economics: sell more junk, earn more profit, “grow” — and then crash. An ethical edge operates at a higher economic level. It is concerned with what we sell, how profits are earned, and which authentic, human benefits “grow.” It’s a concept built for the economics of an interdependent world’ (Umair Haque).
Brands and businesses likely to operate best in this new and future landscape aren’t the ones that can claim they are perfect, but the ones that can tangibly demonstrate they are always trying to be and do better (remind you of a certain American’s election campaign!) Whole Foods is a neat example.