Category Archives: ethical business practices

Hola Image copy

Retailers become Agents for Change

Hola Image copyBarney’s  New York window treatments become Agents for Change. Fashion with a conscience. Watch for more as retailers connect to serve the public and offer deeper meaning behind fashion.

HOLA (Heart of Los Angeles) provides underserved youth with exceptional programs in academics, arts and athletics within a nurturing environment, empowering them to develop their potential, pursue their education and strengthen their communities.

#givingback #socialresponsibility #businessesdoinggood


Bank of America

Breaking Brand Trust @BofA

I don’t even want to write this post, but I feel compelled to do so.

As most of us in the promotional world know, online to offline marketing has made some big strides this year with the offering of “relevant” deals to customers based on their debit card spending habits.  Just ask @BofA_Tips. Unfortunately, some companies are just a bit too anxious to jump on the bandwagon, including Bank of America who broke my trust this past month by offering me deals in my private online banking account without asking me first.  See Burger King coupon in a screen shot above. By the way, the idea of going to Burger King makes me feel sick.

I have one word for this type of brand behavior @BofA. No two words – incredibly creepy.

Hello @BofA, I never signed up for your deals and I don’t want them. Obviously you did not take my privacy into consideration when you started offering me (without my permission) “deals” in my private online banking statement. I guess the marketing team at Bank of America missed the part about how to actually launch their new program.  Note to Bank of America: it’s critical that these programs are introduced in a way that protects consumer privacy and retains consumer trust.

Hell, I never even got as much as an email that they were launching. An invite maybe? Not one “opt out”. As a matter of fact, last week I called to have them remove the deals from my online banking statement.  Yeah you try to find the privacy controls for this one.  Yes, I called customer service and sat on hold as I waited my way up the supervisor chain. And yes @BofA promised they would remove my account from these offers. Still there. Now, I am telling you (not so nicely)  Get your marketing spam out of my bank account now.

Tengmalm’s Owl_800x600

Naturally Beautiful Marketing

One of the hottest topics in the cosmetics industry right now is sustainable cosmetic product manufacturing and marketing. The leading issues the beauty industry faces concern the issues of sustainability, natural, organic, fair trade and ecological products.

Business, marketing and technical professionals are all looking at –

Best practices in sustainability (from fair trade to combating global climate changes and most of all ecological packaging.)

The Beauty Diet (The convergence of food and cosmetics including skin nutrition, healthy diets and wellness).

Green marketing vs green washing and innovations in marketing and distribution (from natural and organic marketing claims to certification preferences)

 Sourcing and using “green” ingredients (from food crops grown for beauty purposes to rising oil prices and a dwindling supply of raw plant ingredients)

Formulating sustainable products with green ingredients (replacing synthetic emulsifiers, surfactants and preservatives

Business opportunities in the natural and organics market (where are the growth opportunities as larger brands are crowding shelf space and new brands continue to enter the market?)

Stone age makeup – scientists have recently found bone and stone tools that were apparently used for crushing pigments and mixing them in the shells of giant sea snails. Now that’s natural.

cause related

Make an Impact -The Unlimited Need for Cause-Related Marketing

We kicked off Internet Week by attending an AOL presentation on the intersection of impact and cause-related social marketing, featuring Huffington Post Media Group Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington and Johnson & Johnson VP of Corporate Affairs Brian Perkins and moderated by AOL President of Global Advertising and Strategy Jeff Levick.

According to Huffington, cause-related marketing is not just a question of contribution, it should be build into a brand’s DNA. She believes that companies that don’t start embracing and supporting causes that people (their customers) care about will not be able to exist in the future.

And Perkin’s pointed out that the three trends in cause-related marketing in the near future –

  • Digital/Social
  • Public/Private Partnerships
  • Metrics – because all of these good deeds must be measured. Every dollar counts and companies should know how they impact the cause.

And Huffington’s advice for those entrepreneurs starting out –

  • Remain true to your DNA. Don’t lose your identity.
  • Take risks and ignore the nay sayers.
  • Get plenty of rest. Sleep. Your brain can’t work when it’s over tired.

And all agreed, when it comes to cause-related marketing, it’s about putting the needs of others first.

Creating a Code of Conduct for Your Company

How you do something is more important than what you actually do. And in business “how you do it” can be communicated with a strong code of conduct.

Holstee, a brand that promotes kick ass products, sustainably made with a social impact and designs and curates with a conscience, offers a place for mindful shoppers to find meaningful products. They communicate that quite well.

A code of ethics and conduct for your business will help guide all of your decisions. It also creates a cohesive understanding of the boundaries within your company and the standards set for interacting with all consumers, partners, vendors and strategic alliances as well as shareholders.  One of our favorite fashion companies, COS outlines their code of conduct in their supplier requirements for the world and their customers to see.

A formal, well-communicated code of conduct will also help to protect a company’s brand reputation. Starbucks has been doing this since the beginning and blogs about the way they do it too.  And in today’s global economy, customers now more than ever, actively seek businesses that promise to produce, manufacturer and sell their products in an honest and ethical way.

Developing a code of conduct should be incorporated into your business plan right from the beginning with the help of all involved in the process.

Your code of conduct should emphasize your fair working conditions, the manner in which you use new materials and production procedures and distribute with methods that reduce the impact on the environment. Other key factors that should be incorporated into your code of ethics include how your company manages quality assurance, professional relationships, intellectual property rights, equality and discrimination.

To have a positive impact on its culture, a company must continually tailor its code of conduct to meet its particular needs and build community involvement. Levi’s waterless program is a perfect example of how to develop new ways to produce with inspired principles and generate the brand message to its audience in an exciting way.  This ethics manifesto is not something that gets filed into the work cabinet or sits in a folder on your desktop. It is the basis for how you will grow your brand reputation.

The Market Council

Your code of conduct should be included in your company’s operational manual, overall business strategy, employee and vendor training program, and marketing collateral. Your code of conduct will only become stronger with annual reviews along with continual auditing and assessment through employee surveys and partner audits.