What We Stand For
This page can’t be accessed through our navigation bar. It’s not for everyone. It’s for like-minded individuals whose will to do good in the world permeates every action they take. If you’re here, you want to know us on a deeper level.
Businesses should work with businesses that have like-minded values. The purpose of this section is to communicate our values and participate in a conversation about ethics in marketing. There’s little doubt that the well of marketing is poisoned with the capitalistic strive for unfettered growth.
Information World Wars, Facebook intentionally making people feel sad, and fake news. This is the darkside of marketing. Corporations and people can use marketing in order to manipulate others with misleading information.
The world of media and communication was always poisoned, but the simulation is now running at levels that are testing society’s limits. The modern marketer would point to the change the internet has brought. For example, the current marketing mantra revolves around providing value upfront. Advertisements with promotional offerings, often paid for by massive corporations, flood the internet. Content on the web is often biased towards certain ideologies or businesses trying to convert people online.
For humans, information is fundamental to everything. We’re not only talking about information in the context of communication, but in the context of the fundamental forces of the universe. Our brain processes everything we see, hear, and experience as information. Issues begin to arise when most of the information we see on the internet is curated with the intention of making a profit.
In marketing and media, that is the exact type of information we deal with: information about a company and the value they provide. We then decode that information and package it so it can be distributed through the different vehicles of communication, whether that be through social media, websites, or even product packaging.
In our modern society, these vehicles are under attack. The majority of the public still trusts these vehicles due to the power accumulated by them. After swallowing all possible threats to their power, few are left standing. Now, they chase advertising revenues at no expense. The greedy are the information gatekeepers and their values are closer to those of villainous cartoon caricatures. Chasing profit for the shareholders through advertising revenue fuels this thirst for growth, no matter the cost to our sanity. Not only is marketing being abused for money, but also for status and power. The inordinate amount of free media coverage Donald Trump received in the run up to the 2016 Presidential election is a good example of how easily mass media can be manipulated.
The type of advertisements we were used to are fading fast. No purchase necessary, three easy payments, these sayings are quickly becoming relics of the past. However, our strive to provide value has taken us to the edge of another cliff, the issue of privacy. Society gave up privacy on personal data without formal consent, and it’s pervasive in the media to hear “there is no going back”. The ire of those frustrated with this lack of privacy is mostly ignored and little is done about what was once considered a fundamental right.
Using customer data is not always bad. Advertising isn’t by itself bad. Hyper-targeted communication can actually benefit consumers and save them the most cherished currency of all: time. But, how do we do this without abusing data?
We need to have conversations about cultural values. As Yuval Noah Harari claims in Sapiens, philosophers are needed in today’s society. We must talk about what is right, what is wrong, and what is necessary.
We operate in this space. We use the vehicles of communication to help our clients. So why are we talking about ethics if we are wrapped up in an industry with a major ethical dilemma? Because, change comes from within. It is our duty to speak up about these issues, and start the conversations that are necessary to figure out how to ethically navigate this age of information. We must serve our clients, using these vehicles to do so, but still stand strong and not waver when common sense comes in. We must not only think about short-term goals, we have to think of this moment in the context of the universe.
We can’t let the bad actors at the top dictate and project our values at the bottom. This is a global issue that will not simply go away. Marketing is constantly evolving and will continue to do so indefinitely. So again, change comes from within.
Our stance on this issue is that first, we must recognize it. Second, we must do what we can to operate ethically in the world as it is today while working to change the world of tomorrow. Simple standards like avoiding click bait headlines or refusing to make baseless claims on behalf of a client are essential to our marketing strategy.
Our company operates in the midst of a shift in communication. Our strategy sessions are not focused on creative ways to manipulate the target audiences of our clients. Most of the time, they are focused on creating awareness and providing people with the services they want.
A friend of mine once asked me how I could work in marketing. How, I could work in an industry associated with so much evil in the world. A loaded accusation from a dear friend. I began articulating my case. His framing of the issue did not sit well with me. Was the menu at the restaurant (made by a marketing company) evil? Was the sign outside the door (made by a marketing company) a symbol of evil? Or were they simply vehicles of communication that directed us and allowed us to order? I acknowledged the existence of unethical marketing, but I wanted him to understand that the ability to communicate to a society is a positive force that promotes entrepreneurship.
Marketing to children, spying on consumers without permission and the general abuse of influence on the mindstate of an audience is troubling. But, this piece of the marketing world does not represent the entire industry. Here are two examples of marketing that helps to improve the lives of our client’s customers:
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- Educates CBD consumers about the lack of regulation in the industry and empowers them to check the reliability of products on their own.
- Teaches people new recipes and how to cook them.
I consider the examples above the opposite of evil. At the same time, I have to acknowledge that the abuse of consumer psychology is an issue that is philosophical in nature and does not have an easy answer. All communication is influence. All engagement is influence. Where do we draw the line? Who decides the line? These are the conversations we should be having.