Recommended reading: Brands’ hypocrisy over social justice and the power of action

Marketing Week reviews the latest books and articles for marketers.

marketing booksCarnival of Hypocrisy

By Bob Hoffman

Marketing author and blogger Bob Hoffman is quick to call out brands and marketers that claim to support the Black Lives Matter movement, while still engaging in “some of most pernicious practices” that cement inequality in society.

“I have my own standard for evaluating a company’s true commitment to social justice. It is this: to what extremes does it go to avoid paying taxes?” writes Hoffman.

Taxation remains one of the prime resources for cash to tackle inequalities and redress social ills, funding housing, education and health, as well as numerous other initiatives that could put disadvantaged citizens on a more equal footing. Companies that avoid paying tax to increase profit take money directly from those who need it most, argues Hoffman.

Figures quoted by Hoffman show that in 2017 alone US companies put at least $2.6tn into offshore tax shelters.

“Dear business colleagues – if you really want to help heal this country here’s step one: Pay your fucking taxes. Until you’re willing to do that, please instruct your marketing departments to spare us the high-minded pieties,” he concludes.

READ MORE: Carnival of Hypocrisy 

People Like Us: BAME marketers taking more strain during Covid-19

By Darain Faraz and Sheeraz Gulsher

Networking community People Like Us conducted a survey of 219 respondents employed in PR, marketing, advertising and journalism to analyse whether the Covid-19 crisis is hitting marketers equally.

It isn’t. BAME marcomms professionals are suffering bigger pay cuts: on average 18% larger than the industry as a whole, despite already enduring a 20% pay gap in London compared to their white contemporaries. Some 42% of them feel their career prospects have been impacted more harshly during the crisis because of their ethnicity, double the number from white backgrounds.

Research participants also feel that the priority given to diversity and inclusion issues has been downgraded since the coronavirus outbreak.

“The current pandemic is affecting everyone and the media industry is no exception – but it’s heart breaking to see that at a time when everyone should be pulling together, people of colour seem to be once again pushed down the priority list,” says People Like Us co-founder Sheeraz Gulsher.

“With the rise of the culture-defining Black Lives Matter movement, we want to make sure that these important conversations around diversity and inclusion don’t just focus on the justice system, but on society as a whole. It is our job as an industry to use this momentum to turn the tide for BMEs, to keep diversity in mind and celebrate the voices we already have in the industry.”


The Attention Economy and How Media Works: Simple Truths for Marketers

By Karen Nelson-Field

The pace of change in the media environment of fake news and fast facts is depleting the stamina of consumers, argues Karen Nelson-Field, professor of media innovation at the University of Adelaide.

In this book she seeks to start an intelligent conversation about what businesses must do to win back the attention of their target audiences. From the advertising myths we need to discard to the scientific research brands need to undertake, she helps marketers navigate an increasingly complex and cluttered media ecosystem.

The book includes insight into creative triggers that grab attention and shows how to leverage content to maximise the effectiveness of the time consumers are prepared to give to messages.

Attention, marketers: Actions speak loudest

By Brian Dennehy, Fleur van Beem and Emma Zumsen

Management consultancy Bain & Company reminds marketers that actions speak louder than words in times of crisis. Walking the walk – especially in terms of health protocols, reliability and pricing – has been far more important during the Covid-19 lockdown than talking the talk, say the authors of this blog.

The consultancy tracked 300 Covid-related communications from big companies, monitoring online chatter to measure which brands caused interest and had an impact – good, bad or neutral – on consumer perceptions.

It found that chatter around restaurant brand Chipotle remained at a broadly steady level until it announced a plan to give 100,000 burritos to healthcare workers. The action saw a spike in positive sentiments around the brand, which settled down to a higher level than before the crisis.

Companies that have seen consumers respond with resistance or dismay to their actions can recover by acknowledging their mistake and issuing clear messages about corrective actions, the study suggests. But they squander goodwill if their actions run counter to their public statements.

READ MORE: Attention, Marketers: Actions Speak Loudest



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