by | Mar 12, 2012 | Ethics, PR | 0 comments

By Deborah Wroe

This year there have been a disproportionate number of major scandals and horrific stories, some very current and some that happened a long time ago but have only just come to light. For me they have significantly raised the issue of ethics and morality across the board, in all aspects of society, and in business.

Yes I have seen Jerry Maguire, and no this is not my moral epiphany moment. This blog is not my ‘mission statement’, to be inevitably followed by stunned silence, maintaining a single demanding client, a keen assistant and a goldfish (if you haven’t seen the film, gloss over this part!), but I was heartened when I read the address from the Chair of the UK Marketing Society, Amanda Mackenzie http://www.brandrepublic.com/news/1162121/

It’s always reassuring when you learn you are not on your own, and I share her view that: “the marketing industry needed to be bolder to avoid being seen as ‘the colouring-in department'” and urging marketers: “to ‘show leadership’ and question managerial decisions if they are uncomfortable with them.”

A business and its marketing function, (in-house marketers or external contracted marketers) have to have aligned goals and a shared vision. The fit has to be right. If the fit is not right, the marketing function will only ever be the ‘colouring in’ Mackenzie refers to, carrying out solutions devised outside of the marketing function rather than the marketing function advising and coming up with solutions to problems that provide success for all. Colouring in is simply being a yes man/woman and taking the money – not really ethical is it, or mutually rewarding?

Do you really want …..

  • a social media company who buys followers on your behalf to inflate your online ego?
  • a PR company who doesn’t understand the meaning of the word sorry?
  • copywriters who farm out the work to ‘offshore’ cheap freelancers?
  • strategists who are all talk and no results?
  • marketers who look for quick returns whilst potentially damaging your reputation in the long-term?
  • communications experts who talk at but don’t listen to your customers?
  • researchers who cherry pick evidence to back up a result rather than let the evidence determine the results?

Probably none of the above.

Don’t be easy with your decision making and contract awarding, none of this, “you had me at hello” tripe (I don’t mean tripe in relation Jerry Maguire – I LOVE that line in the film). When it comes to working with a business; be choosy, raise the stakes, do your research, find the right company for you. Less of show me the money, and more of show me your credentials, and your moral compass, then the money will follow.