What is ethical marketing?

Ethical marketing is crucial for conscientious businesses looking to reach that market but what is ethical marketing? How does it relate to branding? And how can your marketing agency help you highlight your ethical credentials?

What we will cover

What is ethical marketing? Well, it’s not just a logo and font!

Did you know that 92% of millennials buy from companies that are perceived as ethical. Ethical marketing starts and ends with your brand. And your ethical brand is much more than a thoughtful logo and attractive font.

In fact, the danger with taking a design-led approach to ethical branding is that you might be accused of jumping on a bandwagon. Whether your cause is the environment, human rights or diversity, you have to prove your credentials in every single interaction you make.

Every. Single. Interaction

So that means every social media post, every web page, every PPC ad, every video and every leaflet has to echo your lofty brand values.

And that’s not all.

Brand consistency also covers every supplier in your supply chain, the packaging your product is delivered in, the uniforms your employees wear, the conditions they work under – even the language they use.

If you live and breathe your values, you can benefit from a unique ethos that will attract kindred spirits like metal to a magnet. On the flip side, if you put a step wrong your customers will be on your back in an instant and your reputation could be destroyed via social media overnight.

Now we’ve answered the question, ‘What is ethical marketing?’ it’s time to look at why taking an ethical approach to business makes sense, especially for small and medium-sized businesses.

The win-win of ethical marketing

One of the great things about ethical marketing is that it gives any business a USP that competitors, especially the larger players, will be hard-pressed to beat.

Compare this with a USP based on price.

Even if you are currently the lowest cost solution on the market, all it takes is for a highly capitalised competitor to undercut you for a few months and you could lose your customers – and your business.

While we are certainly not saying that all big businesses are unethical, it is a lot more difficult to tick all the virtuous boxes if you rely on huge supply chains and established business processes.

Even if you do have an ethically-powered rival to contend with, there is room for you to be more ethical still. How about environmentally friendly packaging? Only using fair trade suppliers? Buying an electric delivery van?

Take TOMS, a footwear brand respected for their social responsibility. They were the inventors of the popular ‘one for one’ model where they donated one pair of shoes to a person in need for every one sold. One of our own clients, Kneebone Trees, have followed in their footsteps (no pun intended) by planting a tree for every one they bring down.

While these kinds of decision are often motivated because the business has a passion for social or environmental causes, the benefits go beyond that ‘feel good factor’.

For a start, since the customer is actively contributing to the positive action a business takes, they automatically share in the feeling of being good people. This connection makes them likely to stay loyal and advocate for the brand.

What’s more, the customers of ethically-driven brands tend to be happy to spend more money to support the cause they love, helping to offset the extra cost of sourcing ethical supplies.

As you can imagine, your marketing agency can help or hinder you a lot in your ethical branding efforts.

Why your choice of marketing agency matters

Having an ongoing relationship with your marketing agency is more important than ever when you are an ethically-led brand. Many agencies will assume that profit is your lord and master and it can be a drain to have to educate a different team every time you need to run a campaign.

In contrast, a long-term relationship will give an agency time to really get on your wavelength and become co-creators in your mission. What is ethical marketing from an agency perspective? It might include:

  • Identifying ethical trends and associated keywords for blog content.
  • Incorporating photos and videography to help promote your cause over social media.
  • Offering environmentally friendly hosting so you can tell your customers you have a green website
  • Providing a strategic marketing workshop to bring all the above together in a top level plan.

There are myriad ways an agency partner can support you.

What is ethical marketing with Vu Online?

At Vu, we love working with businesses that are led by their passion for social or environmental causes. The Vu Tribe is a powerful engine in this respect as our multi-talented team can complement yours in many different areas.

For more insight into ethical marketing and the branding process, buddy up with a Vu brand boffin on one of our popular Branding Training Courses.

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