Pivot towards Morality Marketing – Analysing Trends
15 May, 2020
Morality Marketing is the logical evolution of brand activism which saw brands and businesses taking a public – and sometimes quite brave – stand on controversial social issues.
Let’s Break IT Down
Morality is 'a body of standards or principles derived from a code of conduct from a particular philosophy[...]'. From a business perspective, morality acts as guiding principles, which derive meaning from the organization's vision, mission and most of all, its culture.
Brand activism refers to the step that a brand takes to show the organization’s support to causes. It is different from Corporate Social Responsibility.
In the case of Corporate Social Responsibility, the organization sponsors civic activities that they believe. It also has a motive to get good PR. Corporate Social Responsibilities are often Government-mandated. In the case of morality marketing, the action might or might not result in transactions, but it leaves an impact on the customers. Morality marketing also considered as the logical evolution of the organization.
Marketing and Advertising, over the years, had this notion of doing whatever it takes to sell. With ‘Caveat Emptor’, came misleading advertising, tall claims and false promises. Over the decades, false claims resulted in huge payouts. Examples of misleading advertising
Artificial sweetener Splenda's proclamation of using sugar
Philip Morris cigarettes' scientific claim that they are less irritating to throat and nose
False advertising throws light on the organization culture. Over time, the attitudes of brands are starting to become more transparent. With digital, also comes long-lasting memory.
People don’t buy what you do, but why you do it
In other words, people today will buy a product/service if they identify with the morals of the company. It needs the company to step out from the pure capitalist agenda to make a sale. ‘Whatever it takes to sell’ in itself adheres to ethical practices. This shift, however, does not just come with advertising, the entire organization needs to adapt to more transparent policies, bring in the culture of identifying with the why.
The 'WHY' of an organization cannot be 'profit' it is the result
Then why is most often something larger than the firm? Slack’s approach to marketing can give this insight. Despite being a B2B business, they humanized communication. Slack started to address the professionals started emulating their concerns which drove sales.
This video shows how clear advertising help. With digital media, it has become easy for brands to engage and communicate personally with customers, at a fraction of the cost.
Morality Marketing is the natural evolution in the order of things. One of the classic examples was AirBnB’s We Accept campaign. This campaign came as President Trump signed treaties to temporarily close borders.
'We Accept' showed people of different ethnicities, race, gender, sexualities to belong. Their ad copy read, "We believe, no matter who you are, where you're from, whom you love or whom you worship, we all belong. The world is more beautiful the more you accept."
This advertisement took a step, a stance of inclusiveness at a time when is divisibility. Not only did Airbnb convey that their doors are open to everyone, this messaging created respect, and the impact towards the greater good.
The commitment to cause that the brand supports cannot be far from the brand image. There must be a natural evolution to support the cause. The desire to support the cause must stem from a human place. Supporting a cause motivated by selfish gains can become obvious. The back-lash of such an event can lead to a potential disaster. If done right, morality marketing can create an immense impact on the cause and the business.