By: David Roberts
Social responsibility is a huge growing trend in both Europe and in North America, with symbols like fair trade and others directly impacting customer buying decisions and loyalty. Industry and corporations are now implementing this new demand into their product line ups and distribution channels. Although social responsibility in corporations for the most part is still a major downward spiral effect, leaving people, farmers and employees exploited and over exposed. This knowledge is now reaching the light of the customers as a direct influence of the major growing technological advancements that people now have, creating an age of a customer knowledge based society and a major level global connectivity.
With this new age of customer knowledge and connectivity it has become a lot easier for customers in a marketplace to connect and research what these present corporations campaigns are. Therefore translucent companies are an ever growing demand for customers; we want to feel trust and a level of connection with the companies we purchase goods from. Through the fast growing knowledge of brand impact towards a market, corporations and other companies are now seeing the importance of these values that the market demands. Branding towards a corporation is hypothetically, the corporation’s personality. The personality is what bonds customer to company (loyalty) and once built up in a marketplace it is one of the most crucial aspects of the company, it creates that affinity between product and person. http://www.marketingpower.com/AboutAMA/Pages/AMA%20Publications/AMA%20Journals/Journal%20of%20Marketing/TOCs/SUM_2011.4/emotional_brand_personality.aspx. The next aspect of the brand is its promise to the customer, and example would be Toyota and its promise to deliver the highest quality vehicle in the market. For years Toyota was dominating the market because it had that promise and the company delivered on that promise, building the trust and affinity the customer demanded for. Until a few years back when Toyota had to recall a major amount of its new vehicles for having faulty gas peddles, which diminished the trust they had worked so long to build, which proved to have a major impact on the company. http://www.forbes.com/2010/02/04/toyota-prius-ford-gm-business-autos-recalls.html. The point of this along with so many other stories is to show the impact that brand betrayal has on a company and how it may open a window to gain social responsibility in the market place and in a company. As ethical responsibility gains popularity in our digital world, it will not be long till we see a lot of companies adopt these values into their brand. Once it becomes a part of their core values and promise, it will be very unwise and expensive for companies to stray from them. Ethical brands and company translucency is a major demand in our knowledge based society and the implementation of those values could be one way for companies to focus a lot more on social corporate responsibility.
Are we in a period of enormous turmoil? Maybe we are more alert then ever, maybe we are supersaturated with news, maybe there is, indeed, more global volatility than previous eras. So then we find our selves asking for future tense, what happens to brands during these times of turmoil? How is affinity and the principles of building brands effected in these volatile times? As we push further into the 21st century we are realizing the importance that affinity will have on building brand loyalty and trust. This very premise will be guaranteed to become one of the biggest factors in a companies growing social responsibility.