Ethical qualities are a must for today’s brands

David Benady’s piece “Change isn’t all plain sailing” (MW last week) on the need-to-change challenges facing big brands touched on many issues, but the key one is ironically the simplest of all and is staring these brands in the face/ know your market.

Too many of today’s iconic brands are ignoring the warning signs of the very real shift in today’s consumer market. Dismissed as emotional entreaties by minority consumers, or anti-corporate stances by specialist interest groups, the message that’s fast finding a voice and resonance with the public is one of corporate and brand citizenship. That’s the platform from which recycling, fair trade, healthy eating etc and many of the key issues being tackled by big brands have been born. And despite corporate reticence, these issues are not subsiding.

Marketing Week readers need only go through the last two issues to see how the concept of brand and corporate citizenship is rising to the fore – Nestlé’s hopes for Fairtrade endorsement, Innocent’s insistence on retaining its ethical position as it goes global, Sunny D’s desire to engage with parents…to name but a few.

Ethical and responsible qualities are being demanded of today’s brands. And as Innocent marketing director Richard Reed quite rightly says, any brands that think otherwise have clearly “lost touch with the mass market” (“A loss of Innocence”, MW September 15). Perhaps there’s a message there for these iconic brands?

Sheena Horgan

Principal

Kids Inc

8 Buckingham Place

London SW1

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