Brand management: Brand ethics

Paul Gaskell
The Value Engineers

The ethics on which brands are built need to be ingrained in the business if the brand proposition is to be credible to consumers

Any mention of ethics in business within the context of branding usually evolves rapidly into an animated discussion about ethical businesses. It is time for the discussion to mature and for the focus to shift from ethical businesses to the real issue – business ethics and its relationship to branding. For this to happen, people need to be clear about the difference between the two. The discussion can then move on from bold ethical claims to a focus on business ethics and the pivotal role it plays as the basis of a business's reputation and brand.

Before beginning this discussion, it is worth defining our terms:

  • Ethical businesses are organisations that place social or environmental ethics such as fair trade or organic at the heart of their proposition.