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How Ethical Branding Might Start Turning Off Consumers

There’s no doubt about it – ethical branding is a trend that’s swept the marketing industry. Many consumers, particularly millennials, see themselves as agents of social change, using their purchasing power to create a better world. Companies, in response, have emphasized their corporate social responsibility and encourage their customers to “make a difference” by purchasing their products.

However, there is evidence that ethical branding has its limits, and may even start turning off the very consumers it aims to reach.

First of all, several recent scandals have diminished consumers’ trust in brands that purport to be ethical. For example, when Jessica Alba’s Honest Company was caught using chemicals it had promised to avoid, many consumers felt misled or outright deceived – and their growing mistrust has affected their interactions with other brands. The more these scandals continue to rock the marketplace, the more consumers will view so-called ethical brands with suspicion, fearing that they’re hiding unethical business practices behind their do-gooder marketing campaigns.

Secondly, attempts at ethical branding can sometimes be misguided, backfiring on the company and alienating its customers. Think, for example, of the infamous Pepsi ad featuring Kylie Jenner, and the backlash that came from consumers who perceived the brand as taking advantage of real social issues to sell products. What sounds good in the boardroom can flop spectacularly with consumers.

So as a brand, how do you walk the fine line between ethical branding and consumer fatigue? Imaginaria Creative can help you get noticed for the right reasons with on-target branding that will resonate with your customers.