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Second,
the emergence of ethical marketing has been leading a new consumer-centric
economy, reinforcing companies to adopt an integrated marketing communications
approach.

 

As
consequence of the changes occurred in the four global
building blocks and the marketplace (digitalization, information
technology, intellectual property, and communication systems) traditional mass
marketing paradigm- mention above as the push model- was left behind.  The rise of digital tools, consumer
empowerment, environmental deterioration, overpopulation, social matters such
as poverty and famine, and the demand–led scenario have made contemporary
marketing attempt to balance profitability, customer needs, and public
interests- this is well known as the societal marketing, an approach that seeks
to preserve or enhance consumer and social well-being- thus, companies now are
focused on adapting to consumer’ needs and develop appropriated communications
and relationships. To do so, companies and managers are adopting an IMC
approach since it makes it easier for companies to get where they want while
meeting ethical concerns, this will be explained in detail below (Schultz, Patti and Kitchen, 2011).

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To
begin with, what relationship could there be between ethical marketing and IMC?
Integrated marketing communications have been one of the major communication
development in the last decade of the 20th century, it consists in
integrating all the means by which companies attempt to inform, persuade and
remind consumers about the products, services and brand identity. Schultz and
Kitchen (2000) define it as:

 

A strategic business
process used to plan, develop, execute and evaluate coordinated measurable,
persuasive brand communication programs over time with consumers, customers,
prospects, and other targeted, relevant external and internal audiences. (p.65)

 

Note
that IMC is defined as the strategic process to communicate with the audience,
thus the deep understanding of this audience is the driving force behind its
implementation which leads IMC approach to be more responsive to consumers that
the traditional mass marketing of the past. Collecting the contributions made
by Gronbacher in 1998, Moreno-Riano in 2005, Wojtyla in 1993, among others, Kliatchko
(2009, p. 164) states that “adopting a personalist view of consumers in
developing IMC programs will guarantee a positive, ethical portrayal of
consumers in marketing communications materials”, unlike the individualist
approach that is considered the opposed to solidarity since it tends to a
life’s vision focused toward oneself, the personalism view is relational and
foster solidarity; it highlights dignity and the value of the person.  Therefore, ethical marketing is consistent
with IMC principles as long as a personalist view is adopted; along with all
company ‘practices, when communicating, the principles of fairness,
transparency, and integrity should be embraced, the integration of both will
lead to building strong ongoing relationships with the audience, create brand
loyalty and consequently brand equity. 

 

To
illustrate let´s take a look at the beauty industry, brands like Glossier and
the body shop are some of the startups following a personalistic view of
consumers in its IMC, consistent with ethical marketing principles. Besides the
current trend of beauty brands looking to be more inclusive in the way the show
ethnic, age, and body diversity in their marketing campaigns, those brands are
also worried about how they speak to and listen
to consumers. Glossier, for instance, is a makeup brand launched in 2014 by
Emily Weiss, after conducting interviews the founder realized that women were
more attracted in learning about makeup products from women who inspired them, unlike
the image economy in which beauty stereotypes pressed women, Glossier is
letting consumers define what beauty means to them and based on this principle
has integrated its marketing communications in a way consumers see themselves
in the images. Also, the brand has been using digital tools such as social media
among other channels to provide customers a direct connection and make the
brand more accessible, it let consumers ask questions about the products and
the company through email communications (ADWEEK, 2017). In addition to, there is an
increasing demand for brand transparency,
from ingredients sourcing to pricing. The body shop, for example, is considered
a pioneer of corporate social
responsibility by being one of the first companies to publish a complete report
of its efforts and initiatives, the brand was created by Anita Roddick and
stands up for animal rights, fair trade, human rights, environmental protection
and women self-esteem.

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