5 examples of truly ethical companies and how it is reflected in their marketing
Consumers have become more socially conscious than ever before. In today’s marketplace, it has therefore become increasingly more critical for brands to examine their impact on the world.
Studies have proven that 64% of today’s consumers are made up of belief-driven buyers who want brands to deliver on not just products, but also on societal issues that make a valuable contribution towards the common good.
73% of millennials say they are willing to pay extra for brands that demonstrate a commitment towards sustainability. And 75% of customers claim they are likely to take negative action against a company that shows signs of being socially or environmentally irresponsible — whether it involves posting on social media, posting a negative review, abandoning their brand or boycotting their brand entirely.
Given that brand trust is the number-one way for a company to turn its customers into advocates, ethical marketing has become a surefire tactic for companies to build trust with customers in a way that will promote both long-term customer relationships and dividends. In fact, businesses are reportedly more trusted than governments on average, according to both UK and US respondents.
As such, ethical marketing can be seen as a way for companies to adopt practices that will allow both their business and their social or environmental initiatives to flourish.
In this article, we’ll review the models of 5 companies whose truly ethical practices are helping them both win and retain the market share of their customer base. We’ll then recap some of the main pillars companies should consider if they want to follow in their tracks.
Founded in 2006, TOMS is a well-known footwear and apparel brand. Founder and owner Blake Mycoskie started the business after returning home from an eye-opening trip to Argentina. During his travels, he was met with local residents who were living without shoes in impoverished neighbourhoods. This sparked what would become his mission to provide sustainable footwear to communities in need.
TOMS is unique in that it has centralised its branding around its commitment to environmental and social philanthropy, ensuring that consumers are aware of its brand values each time they purchase one of their products.
TOMS is the first instance of a “one-for-one” company, meaning that they donate a pair of shoes to a child in a developing country each time one of their products is purchased. To date, this model has enabled them to donate nearly 100 million pairs of shoes to people in need.
They have since expanded this programme to provide impoverished communities with additional necessities. Profits from their sales are now also allocated to helping those in developing countries pay for eye care and vision restoration. To date, they have helped around 780,000 people successfully restore their eyesight.
TOMS also partnered up with Water For People to help provide safe water to those in developing countries — an initiative that has provided communities with over 722,000 weeks worth of safe water to those without access.
3. Conscious Coffees
It’s probably safe to say that Conscious Coffees has solidified its reputation as a brand that has completely embodied the principles of ethical marketing and production.
With a commitment to both ethical production processes and fair-trade, Conscious Coffees has established a wide range of sustainable and socially conscious initiatives.
This includes its CAFE Livelihoods Programme, which has been designed to help coffee growers in South American countries (such as El Salvador, Mexico, Guatemala and Nicaragua) learn how to own and manage their own coffee businesses. These efforts are coupled with their contributions towards the USAID-funded Farmer-to-Farmer initiative — a programme designed to help South American coffee growers become better at their trade, thereby helping them to undergo fair-trade and ethical practices with North American suppliers.
Conscious Coffees also regularly donates coffee to their Community Cycles Programme — an initiative run by fellow cyclists who help other cyclists repair, refurbish and maintain both old and used bicycles.