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The Red Tape Around Branding: Ethical Considerations
By: Paula-Nicole Campbell
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We live in a world where advertisers are continuously competing for our attention. On one hand, it is almost flattering when we consider the lengths and breadths that advertisers go to in order to capture our interest. On the other hand, it becomes disturbing when we learn that the main pull factors that brought us to the brand are false and misleading. Marketers are guided by rules and regulations on how they should operate, and those include the need to be honest and ethical. Therefore, ethical considerations are of vital importance for advertisers to be cognizant of when designing messages and campaigns for their target audience.

The question is, what are the ethical considerations when branding?

Branding essentially focuses on highlighting the main strengths of a business and distinguishing it from those in a similar market. The concern that often lies with many about branding is that because of increased competition and the need to increase market shares, advertisers “hype” or overcompensate their product as the leader in that industry. Without conclusive evidence and research, this information is false and misleading. For example, it would be unethical for a newly upcoming brand in a market to advertise as “the leader” or “the best” of that industry, as there is not enough research and evidence to support these claims.

Many advertisers admit that, while they recognize the ethical issues in branding, it is difficult to be completely ethical due to increased competition in the industry and the need to make money. However, practicing unethical branding strategies can lead to a damaged reputation/image, lawsuits, the loss of loyal consumers, and a reduction in profits. 

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About the Author
Paula-Nicole Campbell is a marketing and communications enthusiast who received her Bachelors degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from the University of the West Indies.
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