Stripping Companies Down
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Ken Wheaton, the author of this particular article, goes straight to a company that many of us have heard of: Apple. Only instead, Apple is not being praised. In fact, Apple is finally called out for not being a perfect company. Wheaton explains, “Apple [and Walmart].... neither of which immediately jumps to mind when one thinks of good corporate citizenship… Apple is one of the least transparent companies around.”
Apple has prided itself on being simplistic, the Steve Jobs strategy. According to Jeff Rosenblum, writer and co-director of “The Naked Brand”, “advertising isn’t enough to cover for bad corporate behavior.” I am, of course, referring to the Foxconn/Apple incident. If you have never heard of this small issue before, I will sum it up for you: Apple (and Foxconn) is now on the spot for “better treatment of the workers who assemble iPads and iPhones in China” (Workforce).
Apple is officially “on the spot”. Because there is so much “behind the scenes” work, it can appear that Apple is not concerned with these allegations. Yet, this is how Apple is defined: secretive, successful, and not like other companies. This is a perfect example of the brand that “got away” with bad corporate behavior and remained successful. Yet, other brands would fall to this misstep.
“The Naked Brand” documentary emphasizes the importance of socially responsible and green advertising. By this, I mean “advertising can save the planet one small step at a time,” as Wheaton said in his article.
Lessons On How To Be The Best Company...Ever.
The people have spoken: they like their green companies. They like their green companies advertising their environmental efforts: green advertising. So, what is “green advertising”? In this article by AdWeek, Ronald Urbach explains:
“Companies across the spectrum recognize that consumers want to support businesses they perceive as environmentally conscious. As a result, companies – and more specifically their advertising -- are touting the environmental value of their business and products more than ever before.”
Disclaimer: I am intertwining two issues together -- “Green Advertising” and “Social Responsibility.” They are not the same, yet they are categorized together. Is it socially responsible to be “green”?
“Greenwashing”, which according to Urbach, “describes a company that spends more time and money claiming to be green through advertising than actually minimizing its negative environmental impact,” is what “The Naked Brand” is attempting to speak to consumers about.
Consumers in the world have become so wrapped up in buying environmentally-friendly products that, in my opinion, some companies run the risk of becoming obsolete if they do not. A few years ago, it was a bonus that a company cared about the environment and the way their business affected it. Over the years, we have shifted into convincing ourselves that “green companies” are the best companies. Simplified, they care about their consumers and they care about the earth. This is what matters to consumers now. Social responsibility is an extension of being “green”- it establishes a company’s view of how they should function in society. Some companies find it necessary to be both; some, neither.
Does Apple need to recreate their company to establish an “environmentally responsible” logo? Most likely not. They are accepted as they are within the business and marketing world already. They have already infiltrated the market, and their success solidifies their reputation. Up-and-coming companies, however, should focus on the green/social responsibility initiative. Why? Because caring about the world is important enough to capture the attention of your potential customers, and it is (still) trending for the year of 2012.
|Trust and companies make a good combination|
Companies, The Best Of Social Responsibility
All of these articles about social responsibility and being green made me wonder what companies were the best of the best, the trendsetters.
This article at AdAge explains the 10 Companies With Social Responsibility At The Core (in no particular order):
- Burt’s Bees
- The Body Shop
- Starbuck’s Coffee
- Ben & Jerry’s
- Kenneth Cole
- TOMS Shoes
- Whole Foods
(read more about these here!!!)
Other Sources Cited: