Tag Archives: ethics

We Should ALL Be Welcome Here!

The American Express OPEN Forum has produced a valuable video, All Are Welcome Here,  based on the acceptance of diversity:

“More than 10,000 small business owners around the country are sending a message. They want their communities to know that all customers are welcome to walk through their doors regardless of religion, country of origin, or immigration status. Amanda Ballantyne of the Main Street Alliance and Elana and Danny Schwartzman, the owners of the Common Roots Café in Minneapolis, tell us about the ‘All Are Welcome Here’ campaign.”
 

 
Here is the headline of a poster prepared by the Main Street Alliance.


 

The Best of the Global Under 40s

For the purposes of this post, we are defining “young adults” as any adults under 40 years of age. [Yes, there will be some 20-year-olds who view 39 as ancient. LOL). But this definition enables us to closely look at the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) “Young Global Leaders: Class of 2016” reports.

According to WEF:

“The World Economic Forum, committed to improving the state of the world, is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.The Forum engages the foremost political, business, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas.”

“Meet the Young Global Leaders class of 2016. Brilliant scientists. Emerging entrepreneurs. Tech investors. Activist MPs. Each year, we select the most innovative, enterprising, and socially minded men and women under the age of 40 who are pushing boundaries and rethinking the world around them. This year’s class of Young Global Leaders gives hope that they are ready to tackle the world’s most complex and pressing challenges. They are invited to join a community and a five-year leadership journey that we believe will help them break down silos, bridge cultures and use their collective skills to get things done for positive impact across private, public, and civil society organizations.”

Click this image to access the “The Forum of Young Global Leaders.”

Click on the image below to access the 121 members of Class of 2016, with a short bio on each. Regional distribution: Asia Pacific (15); Eurasia (4); Europe (23); Greater China (13); Latin America (7); Middle and North Africa (10); North America (27); South Asia (11); and Sub-Saharan Asia (11).

YGLS

 

Online Retailers Often Say ‘Sale’ When It Really Isn’t

As we wrote a short time ago, companies are not always transparent or honest when they say an item is ‘on sale’ when it really is not: “Unfortunately, many retailers misuse the term ‘sale.’ And shoppers are often persuaded that a product is on sale even when it isn’t. According to Evans and Berman’s Marketing in the 21st Century: Price advertising guidelines have been set by the FTC and trade associations such as the Better Business Bureau. The FTC’s guidelines set standards of permissible conduct in these categories.”

STILL not convinced that all ‘sales’ really are sales? 

Then, consider these observations from David Streitfeld, writing for the NY Times:

“The perception of a bargain is fostered by online retailers’ use of something variously labeled list price, suggested price, reference price, or manufacturer’s suggested retail price. Whatever its name, the implication is that people are paying much more somewhere else. But with many products online, you could not pay the list price even if you wanted to. That is because hardly anyone is actually charging it. It is a sales tactic that is drawing legal scrutiny, as well as prompting questions about the integrity of E-commerce. If everyone is getting a deal, is anyone really getting a deal?”

“Here is one recent example of how retailers use list prices to motivate online buyers: Le Creuset’s iron-handle skillet, 11 ¾ inches wide and cherry in color. Amazon said that it would knock $60 off the $260 list price to sell the skillet for $200. Sounds like a bargain, the sort of deal that has helped propel Amazon to over $100 billion in annual revenue. Check around, though. The suggested price for the skillet at Williams-Sonoma.com is $285, but customers can buy it for $200. At AllModern.com, the list price is $250 but its sale price is $200. AtCutleryandMore.com, the list price is $285 and the sale price is $200. An additional 15 or so online retailers charge $200. On Le Creuset’s own site, it sells the pan for $200.”

 

Click the image to read more from the NYT.

A Le Creuset 11¾-inch skillet sold for $200 at more than a dozen Web sites, but the list prices they quoted varied. Photo Credit :Gretchen Ertl for The New York Times

 

The World’s Most Ethical Companies: 2016

As we noted last year, there are various reports about the most ethical firms in the world. One of the most comprehensive such reports is compiled by the Ethisphere® Institute.

According to its Web site:

“The Ethisphere® Institute is the global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices that fuel corporate character, marketplace trust, and business success. We have a deep expertise in measuring and defining core ethics standards using data-driven insights that help companies enhance corporate character and believe integrity and transparency impact the public trust and the bottom line of any organization.” 

“The World’s Most Ethical Companies® program honors companies that excel in three areas – promoting ethical business standards and practices internally, enabling managers and employees to make good choices, and shaping future industry standards by introducing tomorrow’s best practices today. Honorees have historically out-performed others financially, demonstrating the connection between good ethical practices and performance that’s valued in the marketplace. In 2016, 131 honorees were named spanning 21 countries and five continents and representing over 45 industries. In its 10th year, the list includes 14 ten-time honorees and 13 first-time honorees.”
Of the 131 honorees for 2016, 99 are U.S.-based companies!
 
Click the image to see the 2016 honorees, designated by industry as well as alphabetically.
 


 

Do Company Ethics Affect Consumer Behavior?

Do consumers really care about whether companies are ethical when they decide to patronize them? Or are other attributes (such as brand loyalty, price, convenience, assortment, etc.) so important to consumers that they ignore ethical issues when making a purchase decision?

As reported by Emarketer, Mintel and Lightspeed GMI recently conducted a large study on this topic. Companies should pay attention to and behave appropriately with regard to the findings:

“Consumers might not reward a company they believe is ethical, but many are likely to punish a company they perceive to be unethical, according to a 2015 study. Mintel and Lightspeed GMI surveyed 2,000 U.S. adult Internet users. More than half of respondents said they stop buying products when they believe a company is unethical. Over one-third of Internet users said they would tell others and 26% of respondents would do neither of those things.”

Click the chart to read more about the ethics study.


 

When Is a “Sale” Not a Sale?

Unfortunately, many retailers misuse the term “sale”. And shoppers are often persuaded that a product is on sale even when it isn’t. [For our holiday shopping tips, please click here.]

As noted in Evans and Berman’s Marketing in the 21st Century: Price advertising guidelines have been set by the FTC and trade associations such as the Better Business Bureau. The FTC’s guidelines set standards of permissible conduct in these categories:

  • A firm may not claim or imply that a price has been reduced from a former level unless the original price was offered to the public on a regular basis during a reasonable, recent period of time.
  • A firm may not claim its price is lower than that of competitors or the manufacturer’s list price without verifying, via price comparisons involving large quantities of merchandise, that an item’s price at other companies in the same trading area is in fact higher.
  • A suggested list price or pre-marked price can’t be advertised as a reference point for a sale or a comparison with other items unless the advertised item has really been sold at that price.
  • Bargain offers (“free,” “buy one, get one free,” and “half-price sale”) are deemed deceptive if terms are not disclosed at the beginning of a sales presentation or in an ad, the stated regular price of an item is inflated to create an impression of savings, or the quality or quantity of a product is lessened without informing consumers. A firm cannot continuously advertise the same item as being on sale.
  • Bait-and-switch advertising is an illegal practice whereby customers are lured to a seller that advertises items at very low prices and then told the items are out of stock or of poor quality. Salespeople try to switch shoppers to more expensive substitutes, and there is no intent to sell advertised items. Signs of bait-and-switch are refusals to demonstrate sale items, the belittling of sale items, inadequate quantities of sale items on hand, refusals to take orders, demonstrations of defective items, and the use of compensation plans encouraging salespeople to use the tactic.

As Suzanne Kapner reported last week for the Wall Street Journal:

“Building complexity into product prices benefits retailers. It helps to cloud the transparency of online pricing, making it harder for shoppers to compare prices across chains. “’The more prices become convoluted, the less retailers will have to match lower prices offered by their rivals,’ said Simeon Siegel, an analyst with Nomura Holdings Inc.”

“And price has become a moving target. Amazon changed prices 666 times on 180 popular products sold from Nov. 1 through Nov. 19, according to Market Track, a price-tracking firm. That is a 51% increase in price volatility compared with similar products sold during the same period a year earlier. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. ’s prices changed 631 times and Best Buy Co. ’s prices changed 263 times on similar products sold during the same period this year.”

Take a look at four deceptive practices highlighted by the Wall Street Journal. Click the image to see a larger view of the chart.