Custom «Social Responsibility and Ethics in Marketing» Essay Paper
Ethics denotes human beliefs about the right and wrong. These beliefs vary from one company to another or from one individual to another (Balachandran & Chandrasekaran, n.d.). However, social responsibility and ethics are an integral part of a marketing strategy of any company or business. The aim of marketing is to target, appeal and get a particular audience to purchase a certain product or service. While trying to achieve this, businesses should ensure that they abide by the rules and regulations set in the field where they operate, and most importantly strive to control that their actions are ethical and honest. A company is said to be practicing social responsibility when it is concerned about the environment, society, and people where and with whom it does business. Social responsibility in marketing is taking moral actions that have a positive impact on the stakeholders of a company, including employees, consumers, community and shareholders (Labbai, 2007). At this point, the primary goal of the marketer is to formulate and communicate decisions of a firm that will impact its stakeholders. There is a rising trend among marketers across the globe to recognize corporate social responsibility and ethics in conducting business that take care of interests of society while at the same time maximizing the profit of their companies (Balachandran & Chandrasekaran, n.d.). This paper analyzes social responsibility and ethics in marketing and presents examples that restructure modern marketing while at the same time suggesting appropriate recommendations.
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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
CSR is a complete set of practices, policies and programs that are incorporated in business operations, decision-making process and supply chains throughout the company, and it includes responsibility for the past and current actions, as well as the future consequences of business activity (Labbai, 2007). Aspects that represent the focus of CSR in companies vary in the type of business, size, sctor and geographic region. In a broad sense, CSR includes issues related to community investments, business ethics, governance, environment, human rights, workplace and a market place (Balachandran & Chandrasekaran, n.d.). Importantly, social responsibility goes beyond philanthropic actions. It requires companies to take into account an impact on stakeholders and environment while making decisions. Novel corporate leaders are aimed at maximizing profits rather than optimizing the latter (Ferrell & Hartline, 2012). It is an indication that there is a swing from accountability to shareholders towards social responsibility to consumers.
Benefits of being socially responsible are an improved company and brand image, increased market share, ability to attract and retain employees, ability to attract investors and reduced operating costs. Today, the approach to CSR in modern business is based on the principles of good corporate governance and sustainable development. Sustainability suggests that firms that are socially responsible outperform less socially responsible companies in the long-run.
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Marketing managers from different firms perceive the relevance of social issues differently. According to Labbai (2007), the significance of a social problem is determined by products, pricing, promotional efforts, distribution policies, and the philosophy of admitting responsibility by a company. Consumers decide what firm is successful or has failed in its CSR. As such, marketers should ensure their practices appear philanthropic to society.
Ethics is defined as a study of moral principles that guide the way in which businesses are conducted. In present competitive global marketing, ethics is important since companies deal with human values and beliefs. Evidently, business spreads across the globe. Therefore, a company’s marketing department has to deal with cross-country cultures. Multinational corporations (MCs) such as Nestle have faced numerous problems because of overlookingg ethical issues in their marketing practices. According to Ferrell and Hartline (2012), most MCs have incurred billions of losses in terms of monetary value and lost thousands of valuable customers because of adopting unethical advertising and promotional strategies. Professionals report that marketing is the human conduct that is subject to academic evaluation and public scrutiny.
Scholars reveal that marketers must recognize ethical standards applicable to the company, society and industry (Ferrell & Hartline, 2012). These three groups have varying desires and needs; hence, an ethical conflict may occur. Marketing ethical standards guide businesses to do what is right. They help to foster internal control, identify acceptable practices, facilitate discussion and avoid confusion in marketing (Ferrell & Hartline, 2012).
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From the discussion above, it is evident that many forces have made companies practice a high level of ethics and social responsibility in marketing (Ferrell & Hartline, 2012). They range from changing employee expectations, rising customer expectations, government legislations, new procurement practices and investor’s inclusion of the social principle. Companies need to evaluate whether their activity is socially responsible and ensure that they practise ethical marketing (Ferrell & Hartline, 2012).
The success of a business and the continued satisfaction of customers and stakeholders are linked to adapting and implementing high business standards and marketing conduct. The most admired companies in the world are those that abide by the code of serving the interests of others besides their own ones. Companies must use the law to define illegal, anti-social and anti-competitive practices. Additionally, they must build a tradition of ethical behavior in all their practices and hold employees responsible for following the legal and ethical guidelines. Individual marketers should practice social conscience in their dealings with stakeholders.
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