Marketing, branding, and advertising are important tools that enable business to function. Marketing helps companies, and even individuals, to understand the price, product, service, and employment needs that enable the packaging of offerings. Branding is the promise that is identified with the product, service, or individual. And advertising is the promotion used to make the consumer aware of the offering. Even the best products would go nowhere in the market without these tools. And the most capable potential employee would never be matched with a position without them.
Further, these tools are becoming more sophisticated. Better understanding of the human brain has led to new insights affecting these areas. And the use of technology adds new ways of developing, implementing, and applying these tools.
But these tools can also be misused, leading to ethical issues in the misrepresentation of offerings. Like technology, these tools have an upside and a downside. They can be used to improve public health by increasing awareness of the dangers of secondhand smoke. They can also be used to help guide us through the maze of product offerings to find what best meets our needs. On the downside, they can be used to market cigarettes to children.
In this edition of Ethix we explore these issues from various perspectives. The featured Conversation is with Daryl Travis, CEO of Brandtrust. He was responsible for the campaign to increase awareness of the dangers of secondhand smoke. The author of Emotional Branding, he is a leading authority on branding and former CEO of a respected Chicago advertising company. He offers fascinating insight into his world.
In my column, I illustrate that even those technology tools usually considered entertainment, such as YouTube and Twitter, offer possibilities for business. Taking the more negative side, we review two books (a novel and a serious study) that show the downsides of these tools. And in an essay by psychologist David Mashburn, we get insight for individuals seeking to find a job, hence, marketing themselves.
There are no simple answers in this rapidly moving field. We encourage you to read all of these diverse perspectives.
The next issue will be very personal for me. The Conversation will feature Wayne Alderson, a former Pittsburgh steel company vice president turned consultant. He developed the concept called “Value of the Person,” rooted in both practice and theory. A book on his life from the early 1980s, Stronger Than Steel, transformed my thinking about the right way to treat people in the workplace. He influenced my management style, reshaped my interests, and laid the early groundwork for starting Ethix almost two decades later.
Looking to the future, we have some Conversations lined up with executives from health care, broadcasting, food distribution, and banking. And we will introduce some new format ideas that will make Ethix more interactive as we put more emphasis on the online world. Stay tuned.