Today’s customers care not just about the impact their purchases have on themselves, but also the impact their purchases have on the world. They want to know that the companies they’re supporting are fair and honest and that they could potentially be helping a good cause.
This is where ethical marketing comes in. Ethical marketing appeals to the idea that buying into a certain company can help make a positive impact on the world, whether it’s helping the environment or offering financial support to those that are less fortunate.
For ethical marketing to be effective, it needs to be a company philosophy and not just a gimmick. If you pretend to support a cause and people find out you’ve been pretending, this will likely cause major harm to your company and could even be deemed illegal. As a result, you need to promote causes that you truly believe in.
Adopting a cause will not just attract customers, but could also give you and your employees a greater sense of job satisfaction. There are many different ways to embrace ethical marketing. Here are just several different strategies that you can try.
Donate proceeds from each sale to charity
A popular and effective way to use ethical marketing is to donate proceeds from each sale to charity. Customers will feel good knowing that they’re directly giving to a cause whilst getting a product in return. Meanwhile, you’ll make money whilst also feeling good about donating some of this income to charity.
You’ll need to make sure that pricing is high enough to take in proceeds whilst still making a profit yourself, whilst also being low enough that customers feel that it’s not too expensive. It could be something as simple as a $1 from each purchase. Generally speaking, customers will be willing to spend a little extra knowing that this extra money is going to charity.
To collect your charity proceeds, you’ll need to set up a charity account or automatically pay the proceeds directly to a charity. A charity account may be more suitable if you plan to establish your own causes or give to different charities.
Sponsor charity events
Sponsoring charity events could be an effective form of ethical marketing too. By helping to fund a charity event, you can charity organisers raise funds for a good cause. Meanwhile, you may be able to display branded signs at the event to show that you are a sponsor – this will raise awareness of your company and the fact that you contribute to charity, potentially attracting customers.
On top of sponsoring events, you can also host your own charity events. This will require a lot more hands-on work, but it could show that you’re truly dedicated to the cause that you’re supporting. There are events companies that can help you organise a charity event.
Use green promotional products and packaging
A lot of customers are also attracted to companies that are environmentally friendly. By taking a green approach to marketing, you can show that you’re a company that cares for the environment.
One example could be to switch plastic promotional products for eco promotional products made of sustainable materials like card and wood. This could include bags, badges, drinking bottles and stationery. These items will still give you a chance to show off your brand whilst also showing care for the planet.
You could also consider switching to recyclable packaging if you sell products. This too will show environmental awareness by reducing non-recyclable waste and it could help your products to stand out from the shelves.
Advertise the fact that products are fair trade
A lot of customers also only buy fair trade products. These are products that have been made and distributed under fair working conditions for a reasonable wage. This applies to everyone down the supply chain – for instance, in the case fair trade clothing, all people involved from the manufacturers to the end sellers should be paid and treated fairly.
To advertise a product as fair trade, you need to be certain that it meets these standards. If a single material is sourced unethically, then the product is not fair trade and it is illegal to display the Fairtrade insignia.
Show support for ethical causes on social media
Social media can also be a chance to do some ethical marketing by showing support for global issues. This could involve raising awareness of them or physically donating money to them and discussing this.
You may want to be careful of sharing content that takes a political stance as this could be more divisive. For instance, many news outlets are either left-leaning or right-leaning and sharing a story from one of these outlets could show support for one side. That said, a lot of companies are becoming a lot more vocal on their political views and this doesn’t always harm them.
Call out the unethical giants
A lot of big companies have come under attack for unethical practices, whether it’s use of non-sustainable materials or a reliance on unethically sourced labour. Whilst attacking other brands can be a dangerous game, a lot of smaller brands have been stepping up more recently and calling out these bigger brands for their practices, using the chance to sell their own ethical brands.
This David vs Goliath approach to brand wars can often gain the support of consumers. Just be careful that this brand doesn’t then try to come after you.