Principled Profit: The Good Business Blog

Musings on the world-wide movement for ethical business, frugal marketing, and how honesty, integrity, and quality combine with deep relationship building to create business success. By the originator of the Ethical Business Pledge campaign and award-winning author of Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First and five other books

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Ethical Products “Recession-Proof”

Ethical Corporation magazine, a UK offering that’s always interesting, has a wonderful cheery article on ethical corporations will fare better in a recession.

This echoes many of the sentiments I discuss in my own award-winning sixth book, Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First– –that when you establish customer loyalty based on ethics and sustainability, those customers will give you the benefit of the doubt.

For those who buy on energy efficiency, the higher prices will not be a deterrent compared to long-term savings. And those who seek out fairly traded goods,

Jim Hawker, spokesman for green insurance group IBuyEco, goes as far as to say: “Ethical brands are recession-proof – they are perceived as luxury consumer goods, targeted at a niche market that will be less affected by the credit constraints of a recession.”

In fact, the opportunity is growing, they say–and here’s a conclusion I personally haven’t seen articulated before (and fully support):

According to research by the Climate Group, consumers not only expect leading brands to have strategies in place to tackle climate change issues, but also expect these brands to help consumers develop their own strategies, via the choice of products and services made available to them.

For the companies responding to this demand, it is an exercise in brand building.

I believe this is very much true, and smart companies have been educating their consumers on social issues as they relate to product choices for decades. But I haven’t seen anyone talk about this from a brand-building point of view before, nor have I seen the argument that consumers increasingly rely on these companies to provide that education.


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