A Purpose-led Approach To Business
By Louise Burgers
Marketing leaders should take a conscious decision to make a meaningful difference, creating opportunities for customers to feel shared purpose.
The Age of Consumer-Driven Transparency, Accountability and Responsibility
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S P Jain School of Global Management is a Business School based in Dubai and Singapore with two major alliances in Toronto (Schulich School of Business) and Sydney (Australian Graduate School of Management). S P Jain has been accredited by AMBA (UK), Department of Education, New South Wales (Australia), ABEST21 (Japan ) and has also been granted the status of Institution of Higher Learning by the Ministry of Education, Government of Singapore. It was ranked No. 1 amongst Institutes of Higher Learning in the UAE by A C Nielsen in 2008. In FT's newly released 2011 ranking, the Financial Times (FT) of London ranked S P Jain’s Global MBA Program as 9th Best in Asia (overall), 2nd Best for Value for Money, 3rd Best for Placement Success and 4th Best for International Mobility. It was ranked 68th overall. S P Jain School of Global Management offers various programs in the fields of Information Technology, Finance, HR, Marketing, etc.
Increasingly, we are seeing pressures on brands, particularly those doing business in emerging markets, to be cause-committed, truthful, authentic, community engaged, and morally and culturally aligned with how they can help the planet and society as a whole. Corporate behavior and social commitment resonate with the consumer whose voice and influence has been amplified and multiplied many times over through social media, web connectivity and mobile channels.
Environmental sustainability, socially responsible business practices, philanthropy and ethical sourcing policies are not only important moral leadership issues; increasingly they are linked to a company’s brand appeal, customer consideration, financial performance, shareholder value, legal exposure and regulatory scrutiny. Radiating this are brands like Patagonia, Timberland, Zappos, Starbucks, 3M, GE, PepsiCo, DHL, The Body Shop, Stoneyfield Farms, L’Oreal, Kellogg Company, and many others (see Ethisphere’s 2014 World’s Most Ethical Companies).
From negative impacts on consumer and customer buying preferences to government regulatory actions and private sector lawsuits, companies face major risks and liabilities for noncompliance with both legal and social responsibility standards. And consumers today are not afraid to shine a light on questionable or unsafe products, unethical business behavior, misleading advertising, or lack of corporate conscience by using the power of social media networks, advocacy web sites and influential blogging channels.
Corporations today are judged not only by their own direct actions, but also by their trade and commerce connections, supply chain linkages, labor relations, and procurement practices in all parts of the world. Operational integrity, corporate social investments, governance commitments and compliance levels have become key performance indicators for institutional and private investors, government agencies, media channels, bloggers and special interest groups.
Mistakes, unethical practices and environmental breaches by business partners can have huge negative implications for share price, brand reputation and legal liability among major companies who do business with them. Evidence of this is seen with black eyes delivered to brands like BP, Exxon, Chevron, Enron, Walmart, Apple (Foxconn), Toyota, Nike, Nestle, The Gap, Mattel, Bank of America, Firestone, Dow Corning, DuPont, the BBC, and many others.