In The 21st Century Can Brands Get Away With Unethical Values?

2017 was a roller coaster of a year, mostly one that filled with never-ending plunges. We had and still have Trump, several devastating hurricanes and more. In a time when social media means everyone’s opinion is heard, brands come under excruciating scrutiny. They are judged whether they make a difference or not. And whilst many brands have been vocal about their values, ethics and political alignment, some prefer to remain decidedly quiet and neutral by default.

Does boosting ethical policies pay off both financially and with customer loyalty or is it just as lucrative to stay silent?

The Heroes

Brands have become increasingly and openly supportive of social and political movements like gay marriage, supporting refugees and increasing diversity. Brands like Starbucks, Uber and Facebook have been vocal about their values and opinions, making use of their platforms to share their message and encouraging their community to do the same.  Think Facebook’s profile frames, Ben & Jerry's same-sex ice-cream tubs in Australia and Spotify who created a #BlackLivesMatter playlist.

Although brand love is very important, all brands are businesses first which means for some, profit is king. And what’s important to analyse is whether having ethical and vocalised values affects this bottom line. 

The Villains

In 2016, Sports Direct, a British sportswear retailer was revealed to be severely underpaying and mistreating their employees. The Independent reported that in some locations, staff were made to clock out and then continue working so they didn’t have to pay overtime and others were humiliated via an email chain for not working enough. And yet despite this very public scandal, Sports Direct has reported continued growth each year since, with a 4.7% revenue increase this year. 

Is It Worth It?

Findings in a report by Nielsen shows that, globally, more than 66% of consumers are willing to spend more on a product if the company or brand has good ethical values. However, this doesn’t suggest that they wouldn’t buy from a brand that doesn’t share those values, just that they are more inclined to pay more a brand that does.

So, although consumers are becoming more aware, research shows that when it comes down to the figures and profits, business is not greatly affected by your ethics. Brand loyalty, however, is something that can be sustained by ethical practises and values.

Lynn Nyemba, Copywriter

Does Being Ethical Pay?
By The Wall Street Journal 
Social responsibility has become a big business, but does it pay off?
Turns out consumers are willing to pay a slight premium for ethically made goods (proved with several tests) but they went much further in the other direction. They would much rather buy unethically made products only at a steep discount.

The Eco Guide To Big Ethics
By The Guardian
Is it good news or bad when environment-friendly brands are bought out by major industry players? With rumours that outdoors ethical company Patagonia is about to surpass a $1bn turnover, customers are left wondering what will happen to the brand and its values. Should we be concerned when an ethical brand joins the big leagues of capitalism?
Pleas for help sewn into Zara clothes by unpaid workers 
By The Independent 
'Workers in Turkey who stitched pleas for help into clothing sold by retailer Zara are "just the tip of the iceberg" and highlight the need for mechanisms to address concerns about labour conditions, a human rights expert has said.' Why would people still buy at a clothing store that often appears in the news for inhuman behaviour? Why is being fashionable more important than proper human rights these days? 
Read here >>
Bling it on - What makes a millennial spend more?
By Deloitte 
When it comes to luxury, sustainability and ethics are not very strong influencers for millennial buyers according to Deloitte. "A high propensity to pay a sustainability premium for most products does not apply to luxury in the same way as it does in mass products". In addition, "I like to treat myself" is the main reason this affluent demographic use to explain their high-end / luxury items spending. It's not so surprising therefore that luxury brands that mix feeling good and doing good perform better while fighting for a better world.
Read here >>
Green age kicks: how ethical trainers won the fashion seal of approval
By The Guardian  
Has the fashion industry finally woken up? With Gucci banning fur and Veja being marked as “the coolest sustainable sneakers we’ve ever seen”, could we be seeing a new business model in the fashion field?
Read here >>
Not Subscribed? Then Click Here To Do So
Pass it on... Tell a Friend...
Copyright © 2018 RE-UP, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp