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Marketing Ethics And Social Responsibility Marketing Essay

To conquer superior ethical standards in business many approaches have been recommended. One suggested by (Byron, 1977) is to go back to the basic common sense, basic reasoning and religion to daunt personal achievement at the expenditure of common good. Lush’s fundamental principles are quite the same, they believe in keeping things simple and no frills attached in regards to all their departments from production to management and marketing. Ethics derived from a Greek word “Ethikos”. (Tsalikis/ Fritzsche, 1989) delineate ethics as an assessment of the moral judgments, values, and set of conduct. Wiley (1995) states that business ethics are a code of conduct that is directly related to morality, obligations fair dealing with humanity, ethics demonstrate the personality and in contemporary time’s business trade. If we further broaden the definition of ethics as globalization has made it crucial to understand ethical conflicts across cultural boundaries, we find that strong impact of cultural background is undeniable as supported by (Thorne & Sanders, 2002 cited in MacDonald, 2000) they say that diverse cultural backgrounds strongly influence the discernment of an individual this leads to disagreement in ethical reasoning. Absence of artificial or synthetic chemicals and production in natural manner, contributes to the sustainability of the environment Laroche et al. (2001). Stated by MacRae et al. (2002), one of the aims is to ensure equity of global trade and social justice by empowering these less privileged producers as stakeholders in their own enterprise consumers support by purchasing fair trade goods contributes towards strengthening economies of the underdeveloped and developed nations and social stability. According to Krystallis and Chryssohoidis (2005), various organizations support socially excluded communities to grow organic products to encourage self reliance and healthy living. Awareness is spread among young generation of remuneration of organic produce by visiting schools. Kotler et.al (2005) emphasized that fair trade ensures maximum income to the supplier in the given development arrangement model. This manner is an “ethical” way of buying from poor and disadvantaged producers from under-developed nations facilitating their financial and social conditions. Lush take pride in its ethically sourcing ingredients that are used in its products following are few examples of Lush ethically sourcing.

Organic Vanilla Beans from New Guinea: Lush buys vanilla beans from small isolated farms in co-op mountain plantations in Papua grow these sweet smelling beans without any chemicals at all, Lush deals direct with the producer to ensure Fair Trade.

Extra Virgin Oil from Palestine and NSV(Nuestra Senora de Las Virtudes): Families who are growing small number of olive trees on lands owned through generations by ethically sourcing from them these families are guaranteed an income.

Violet Plants and Jasmine from Egypt: Lush buys this fragrant rich green syrup and jasmine facilitating low scale Egyptian farmers.

Bergamot Oil from Italy: A small scale family business where one of the members left the biggest company due to its corruption and unethical practices, Lush likes to do business with people who practice ethical codes.

Roses from Turkey: Handpicked roses by local villagers make the famous Turkish delight shower smoothies that claims to contain 350 roses in a pot , this helped in building the very first under sevens school in turkey.

Rhassoul Mud from Morocco: Lush buying product from these suppliers enabled Societe Du Ghassoul to build an accommodation, medical centre, social room and a mosque as well as an ambulance on site for the workers.

Shea Butter from Ghana: Handmade shea butter bought from Akoma Women’s project help support 130 female workers

Charcoal from England: Lush abundantly use charcoal in the popular products Dark Angels and Coal Face Cleansers, locally produced charcoal is a pleasant opportunity for the locals encouraging rural employment and it is beneficial for the wild life and eco system as the overgrown coppice and woodland hinders the sunlight that is essential for the eco system. Lush has established itself as an ethical cosmetic brand but do customers buy this brand for similar reasons. Is consumer buying Lush for its ethical values worldwide?

2.2 - Ethical Marketing:

Why ethical marketing has been of such an interest for businesses. Change is a factor that insists on adopting more eco- friendly and green practices worldwide. Governance and media educates people and is spreading awareness to adopt healthy life styles and use environmental friendly safe products to ensure a green future for coming generations. Evidently consumers are willing to hold to greener options (Janssen et al., 2009). The pioneers of ethical marketing are the Giant Food Inc. First chain business to write down the ingredients and its nutritional value etc the company succeeded in gaining competitive edge over its competitors and established a reputation for a responsible organisation. Sceptics argue that this cannot be considered ethical as companies only demonstrate the positive image of their merchandise a classic example is of tobacco industries where being heavily pressurised by government authorities they have to print a caution note but it is a billion dollar industry that gives huge revenue sales. “Green Wash” is the term used by Charter (1992, p16) where he convinces that the consumers are actually being mislead and that manufacturers are abusing the green terminology. Lush states they are 100% against animal testing and do not test on animals, but at the same time they do use ingredients that have been tested on animals. In terms of Ethical Marketing an interesting perception of Gaski (1999) gives another dimension to the argument. This critique of ethical marketing implies that the ethical guidelines are nothing more than to “obey law” and “act in your self interest.” Here it would be worth quoting one of the Lush’s core beliefs in black and white on their website. “We believe that our products are good value, that we should make a profit.” Does this statement support Gaski understands of ethical marketing, if yes wouldn’t it be unethical and dishonest to use ethics as a marketing tool? Gaski’s perception gives a thought-provoking facet to synthesise the practice of ethical marketing. Different cultures have different significance to a scent, herb or flower so it is extremely important to keep this element while creating a product for a specific group for an example Hibiscus is a plant which is widely used in Lush products like Dady-O and Sweetie Pie but for countries like China the hibiscus flower is associated with death and it is considered to a bad omen even to see a plant growing outside ones front door. Schiffman and Kanuk (2004) believed that the change of behaviour in a person make attitudes temporary because they reflect that change however attitudes are consistent. Whereas according to Ajzen and Fishben (2008) Attitude is the tendency of behaving constantly in a desirable or undesirable manner with respect to the situation. The colour range fragrances and displays are very much dependant on the season, fashion trend and current environment to appeal customers.

Tri-Component Attitude Model:

Source: (Schiffman.2004)

Schiffman and Kanuk (2004) gave a Consumers Model of Attitudes with the following three components

Cognitive Component: This is the perception acquired by the consumer through direct experience with the attitude object or by information gathered from different sources. Kotler et al. (2005) describes this component of attitude as an individual cognition that makes a decision after the thinking process this process is dependent on the existing information gathered in an individual’s mind, this development of belief forms the behaviour towards the attitude object. Now with regards to consumer choice of handmade Lush products the consumer considers similar attributes of Hand made fresh cosmetics and conventional products, even here the belief system of a consumer varies with respect to the offered products attributes. In Britain consumers chose organic products as they feel organic products due to better taste being eco friendly, though less shelf life and higher cost generated negative feelings towards it. Consumers are well educated of the production of the products like in case of Lush they have the production videos of their products uploaded on their websites from purchasing ingredients to its making. Production of organic products in natural environment minimal usage of preservatives or additives (Natural and Organic Products Europe, 2010) this information has a very positive impact on organic products demand.

Affective Component: The emotions or feelings attached to a particular product, service or brand are dealt with this in this component. Schiffman and Kanuk (2004) said that past studies showed the experiences and attitudes of consumers are emotionally charged. To understand these clearly following two cases will be helpful. These cases are compiled based on the information gathered from various articles, books and researches (Makatouni, 2002; Fillion and Arazi, 2002; HoJung et al., 2005):

Scenario 1- At the time of buying a particular organic product the customer had feelings of happiness or joy it will make him/her rate the attributes around 1 and 3 in table which reflects the customer’s positive perception towards organic goods this positively charged behaviour of the customer may influence his/her friends and family to buy the product (Ajzen and Fishbein, 2008).

Scenario 2- Buying the product in stress or anger this makes the customer rate the attributes around 4 and 7 which makes the future purchase of the product unfavourable due to the negative mindset ( Ajzen and Fishbein, 2008). This is one of the strongest marketing strategies of Lush. Lush invests lots of time and effort to make an excellent shopping experience on the high street the fragrance alert your senses and guides you right in to the shop, beautiful rainbow of interestingly shaped products displayed on natural wood in warm lighting and cosy atmosphere. The liberty to touch smell and try all the products make a positive experience and underlines the relationship of lush with its customers and the derivation of their ideas from culture values and purpose.

Conative Component: The likelihood of consumer’s behaviour or action towards the attitude object is dealt with here. Lush has built a very strong image environmentally friendly, socially aware and ethically responsible brand this leads to the likelihood of an individual to purchase its products. As stated by Ajzen and Fishbein( 2005), conation points to the tendency of the consumer to take a particular course of action the brand image acts as a catalyst if it is desirable on the other hand not so good brand image makes the consumer reluctant to buy it. The vast spread concern and demand to go green around the globe there is an apprehension for understanding “How Green is Green?” (Cervellon et al. 2010; Yiridoe et al., 2005).

2.3- Ethical Cosmetics:

The number of consumers for ethical cosmetics is escalating Moffat (1997) one definite reason is due to wide spread awareness of manufacturers adding a high number of hazardous chemicals in cosmetics every day (Kline 2008 and Mintel 2008). Euro monitor stated that 5% escalation of cosmetic industry in 2007 was because of entrance of organic products in the sector and according to (Ecozept, 2010) till 2015 natural products will compose up to 30% of cosmetics sales, so what are ethical cosmetics? A simple definition could be Cosmetics that leave minimal carbon foot print and use minimum preservatives. Lush has reported their turn over 8% ahead in the first eight months. They had an incredible raise of 15% to £247 million (Times 2011). Lush chief executive Andrew Gerrie said:

“Although the earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan have caused great concern for us we were very fortunate that none of our colleagues were lost in these tragic events. We are working to support those affected. Beyond this we still see a world that is full of opportunity for our business.”

Lush claims fair trade, minimal carbon foot print and reduced packaging do these points justify lush as an ethical cosmetic brand? In 2010 an online survey conducted called Green Brands consisted of respondents from 8 countries –Australia, Brazil, China, France, Great Britain and India these consumers showed a keen interest in organic or green products provided that they are guaranteed natural ingredients. Here the point to be noted is that (Naomi1991) believes that it may seem undisruptive to wash with a fruity soap women are unaware that these scented soaps underline and intensify their anxieties for food and ultimately organisations make profit from insecurities. The pseudoscientific discussion to feed body organs like hair, skin and nails suggest depriving of nutrients that come from food they promise fundamental needs and desires to look beautiful and loveable naturally this leads to a wastefulness of slathering food on bodies and convinces consumer to gain beauty with an expensive tag. Naomi’s psychological perspective of fruity cosmetics makes Lush’s ethical marketing seem cynical. The whole concept of lush ethical cosmetics is based upon being as close as possible to nature and the original goodness and wholesomeness of the actual food. (Zelezny et al. 2000) found women to be more anxious of green issues as well as tend to take part in promotion of green environmental as compared to men. However the current studies carried out by Gronhog and Olander (2007) differ from Zelenzy.

2.4- Innovative Marketing Strategies:

To maintain the essence, Image or the perception of the brand is indispensable for marketers to these plays key role in the world wide competition of brands. (Pappu et al., 2006), so the perception of brand in consumers mind is important for the balance. (Driesener and Romaniuk, 2006) Marketers have been using scent as a marketing tool but only relatively little research has been done on this, Baron (1983) investigated the power of scent by conducting mock job interviews and found that regardless of abilities candidates wearing scents were given higher ratings as compared to ones not wearing perfume. Lipman (1990) presented the fact that pleasant ambient fragrance increased customer persistent in store. Lush personifies the sensory stimulation; it is the scent that allures you right to the shop. The atmosphere of the shop itself is like entering in candy land. In words of Mark Constantine Co- founder of Lush “Packaging is so boring. Smelling and touching is just more fun for the senses.”( Philip Kotler, 2010) defines marketing as 'satisfying needs and wants through an exchange process Lush makes in shop experience delightful for every customer, best part is you get to see all in open soaps are stacked one on top of each other like rainbow and you may touch and smell all you want, unusual display and bizarre names of the products such as shower jellies named “Buffy the backside slayer” and “Frankincense and Beer” attract attention. This study will analyse with this non traditional approach and synthesise will lush be able to compete in long run with the advanced marketing strategies of its competitors as well as remain strong to its ethical values defined.

Lush target consumer group is supposedly consumers who share similar ethical values and personality. Ashforth and Mael (1989), it is imperative for brands to develop a positive identity that draws the attention, support and loyalty of customers. Consumer’s perception of relativity of self-identification and brand image gives them self-expressiveness. Laroche et al. (2001) established that there is a certain group of consumers who surpass the socio –economic boundaries and do not mind to pay for ethical identification. (David Ogilvy, 2001) is very well known as the father of advertisement according to him consumers define a product by his own experience and the notion of people who use it. It is an indescribable symbol that is dependent on its attributes like its advertisements, history, packaging and price and reputation. Above mentioned literature, similar studies and researches have provided considerable areas for thought to aid the design and conducting research based on Lush ethical and innovative marketing strategies. Optimistically this study will provide more food for thought and support other relevant researches with paying particular attention to ethical marketing and Lush’s unique marketing strategies and its consumer’s identification with Lush. A Lush shop is a blend of fragrances, bright colours, shapes, funny names, smiley faces and helpful people. Customers can recognise Lush from the details and recall the values that are associated with the brand. Lush users often give Lush cosmetics as presents because the products are different from anything else and make great gifts. This allows more people to try Lush and maybe become customers. In this way the products provide a great service to the customers and communicate something about them. Brand image is created due to total experience of customer. The meaningful connection between the brand and customer is essential (Display and Design 1, Dec.,2007) How ever only 8% customers related their most recent experience as superior, one must understand brand image ( Marianne, 2007)

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