Over the past 30 years communication between brands and customers has changed dramatically. From direct sales to social media marketing, more ways are available to identify, influence and communicate with 'your people.' Conversely, new methods of interacting with brands are also available to the public too.
Being a woman of ethics I am intrigued to find out more about the real state of UK businesses. What is the public's outlook on business ethics, what are business' outlook on ethics and what could they do to make a positive change?
Ethical has many different meanings to many different people. In this case I am talking about treating potential and existing clients as individual members of the public that could use different brands products/services to create a positive effect in their lives.
During my investigations I came across some very eye-opening and interesting statistics released last year. According to recent figures from 'Trajectory' and '23red' based on a survey of 1,000 people across the UK, 74% of those questioned want to know more about the ethical behaviour of a company before buying.
I also discovered that The Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) reported in 2011 that 92% of FTSE 100 companies provide no metrics on ethics in their annual report.
So what does this mean? To me, it is clear that companies should be taking a closer look at their overall ethics and how this affects their relationships with clients.
We are in the social media age where people are transforming into social consumers. They talk, discuss, recommend and complain about brands throughout social media platforms to one another. Each new comment creates its own unique domino effect that can increase or decrease a brands image before you can even say "Brand Reputation!" It's a similar story offline too. The average consumer mentions specific brands over 90 times per week in conversations with friends, family, and co-workers. (Keller Fay, WOMMA, 2010)
Businesses should be taking these statistics seriously and need to ask themselves the following:
I always say that in business, development should not be seen as a 'numbers game', but more as a 'people game'. It is people that businesses desire to reach, so why waste time and money on extravagances when all people need at the bottom line is to be appreciated and receive a good service, human to human. Forming relationships is the most important thing in business and in order to bond you must take that bit of time to talk, identify, and communicate with your people.
Perhaps most importantly, businesses need to remember that the public will eventually see through spin, 'greenwashing' and the like. If the change is not for genuine reasons, it will do the business more harm than good, and rightly so.
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