The outbreak of COVID-19 is a key moment in human history, as important as the two world wars and the great depression in the 20th century for digital marketing.
In order for the world to adapt to the prevailing economy after the pandemic, it is important for businesses to find both a way to stay afloat and to contribute to society at large.
Ethical marketing is not a new concept since it has been used in many online sales campaigns, but perhaps now is the time for it to acquire the prominence it deserves.
In this article, we will explain why ethical-based digital marketing can become an effective business strategy after the crisis.
A strategy based on ethical principles
The key to any ethical marketing initiative is to develop a sound strategy based on ethical principles.
Before continuing, however, let’s define what a strategy based on ethical principles is.
According to Bill Theofilou, CEO of Accenture Strategy, this strategy is to solve a consumer problem taking into account their values and beliefs.
Forging deep customer relationships in this way is something that could prove indispensable in post-coronavirus society.
People will look for brands that contribute to improving the world, so companies that behave ethically (that is, treat their workers well and contribute their bit too good causes) will have a greater impact. Instead, companies that choose otherwise will be seriously damaged in their reputations.
Some of the world’s largest companies are already leading the way. Coca-Cola recently placed a huge advertisement in Times Square, New York, to promote social distancing, while Dove (from Unilever) has focused its “Real Beauty” campaign on the effects of face masks on the faces of healthcare professionals with the motto “Courage is beautiful”.
These examples are part of a broader trend, which for example has led to the use of certain factories, such as distilleries, to produce sanitary and protective equipment for frontline professionals. Put simply and simply: people demand greater social awareness from companies.
Naturally, the entertainment industry is also playing an important role in this regard. Initiatives such as the Sony Global Fund, which will allocate $ 100 million to fight the disease, are increasingly common in the industry.
Sports entities are also striving to show their support in this crisis. The more than likely desertification of sports venues in the near future due to the suspicion of people to socialize in large groups is leading entertainment companies to commit themselves to more ethical causes.
In the UK, the first virtual Grand National was contested, helping to raise millions of pounds for the British Social Security System (NHS); Although it will never be able to replace the true equestrian test, it will serve to increase the online followers of the test and raise awareness about the importance of social security in the country.
In the gaming industry, physical casinos have been affected after being forced to temporarily close the doors. Many people have found that their online equivalent is just as exciting, so they are likely to continue playing in online casinos when the crisis is over. A possible problem derived from this could be online security, so it is important to know how to choose well where to play. Online casinos with responsible gaming principles will be better regarded than those that are not.
Ethics in the game is an issue that more and more countries are addressing, such as Sweden or the United Kingdom. The latter has recently passed stricter gambling regulations in an attempt to combat illegal practices and gambling.
In the fashion industry, various brands have shown a charitable spirit. The footwear brand TOMs, for example, has reinforced its campaign of donations, which has allowed the distribution of almost 100 million shoes to disadvantaged people. For its part, underwear producer ThirdLove has donated 1,000 bras to US healthcare professionals. The USA, as well as thousands of surgical masks. Both companies’ websites dedicate their home pages to the heroic efforts of these workers.
Digital marketing managers in the gaming industry will need to adapt to this trend, as well as changing consumer behaviour, and come up with a more ethical approach that can pay off, as people value companies’ efforts to deliver a safe gaming environment.
Positive use of online media
Of course, not all businesses can reach millions of people, but even for smaller companies, it is clear that the marketing landscape of the next few years will take a more ethical approach.
Online advertising has always been characterized by the search for clicks, with the clickbait being a clear example of this. The target of many online advertisements is normal people, which prevents consolidating customer confidence in the long term. However, this could change.
Transforming the nature of advertising, focusing it on empathy and generosity, could have a big impact. Making a donation every time someone sees an ad or buys a product could be one way to achieve this, as well as highlighting an important ethical issue in the ads to raise public awareness.
It is also essential to have an active presence on social media. By offering tutorials and advice on health, or by emphasizing people, companies can demonstrate their good intentions. Those who follow this approach are more likely to build a good reputation and succeed.
With an eye to the world after the pandemic
The current trend towards more ethical digital marketing is not a fad. Multiple studies suggest that it is something that was already underway before the emergence of COVID-19; what happens is that the pandemic has accelerated it.
Sharing the ethical vision of consumers is not only a matter of image but will also determine the success of business in the long term. In all likelihood, an ethical perspective will generate a higher level of commitment in the post-pandemic society and allow companies to take pride in what they do.
The question companies should ask themselves in the coming months is not “What can we get with this marketing campaign in digital marketing?” But rather “What can society get with our marketing campaign?”