Marketers wield a lot of power in influencing public opinion, especially with tactics such as subliminal messaging. These tactics are often so effective that it leads to behavioural change in society. For example, feminism was used to promote the sale of cigarettes in the early 20th century. This led to women feeling free when they smoked a cigarette, irrespective of dire public health repercussions. Another example of such campaigning that harmed humanity is that of promoting the use of formula over breast milk for new-borns. Responsible marketing is, therefore, a necessity for the sustenance of not only humanity but also for the benefit of businesses, especially in the post COVID world.
Consumer behaviour which is closely liked to human psychology is one of the key subjects taught in Marketing programs in the top B-Schools of the world. The intent behind this is to give this power of influencing to the top marketers. What is often missed in these sessions is the basic less of – With great power comes great responsibility.
In the fiercely competitive market of today, the brands often expose off the strategies of their competitors to break the trust of consumers from them in hopes of attracting them to their own products. Therefore, it has removed the scope of use of every irresponsible marketing techniques by marketers. This is especially true in the current scenario when the global economy is in tatters as a result of COVID-19 pandemic. In the post-COVID-19 world, responsible marketing will take up even deeper meaning, which would be integral to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
The global lockdown has led to reduced operations of many companies. This has caused huge economic losses for them. The only way to sail through this storm for the companies is by earning the trust of people. It is true, especially for healthcare, sanitation and hygiene products. Brands can achieve this by using the following three responsible marketing techniques.
Janhit Me Jaari
One of the ways to gain the trust of people is by issuing advisories for the public interest, that are relevant to the brand, while not being assertive of the use of its own products even at the cost of loss of customers. These advisories help people to realize that the brand is highly committed to social welfare. This has been adopted by Dettol and Lifebuoy at the time of COVID-29 outbreak in their ad films.
The brands promote the good habit of hand-washing using soap – while clarifying the use of not just their own soaps, but ‘any soap’.
Creative Coalitions for Customers
The marketers need to stop putting the businesses ahead of customers to retain the said customers. In order to achieve this, experts have recommended that for the social welfare projects, brands need to form coalitions with their competitors by not just collaboration of funds – but also of knowledge, expertise and creativity to find best possible solutions. Such coalitions assure the customers that the brands want the best for them.
No entity can ever make zero mistakes. This is true even for brands. However, instead of using PR power to hide these mistakes, the public would trust a brand much more if they own up to their mistakes and work towards rectifying it.