The business environment
The oil spill that occurred at the Gulf of Mexico on April, 2010 was an unfortunate event. It, however, raised critical issues on ethical marketing, corporate social responsibility ad its effects on an organization. The business environment has become very complex. This is due to the increasing global awareness of social issues affecting it. In particular, global interest in environmental conservation has never been higher. These concerns have gained so much popularity that laws and policies to protect the environment have been formulated in many countries in the world.
The global community is much more environmentally conscious and sensitive to these issues. Complaints have arisen that the rise of environmentalism has significantly reduced income from organizations which are being forced to invest significantly into conservation and maintenance efforts. The former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of BP had earlier complained that there was a seeming misplacement of priorities within his company with more emphasis being placed on social concerns than shareholder wealth.
His opinion reflects the free market view which emphasizes that the role of a business enterprise is to generate wealth for itself and its shareholders and not to donate it away. This conflict with the corporate social responsibility viewpoint which points out that a business and the society has a mutual obligation to each other (Stephen, 2005 p. 135). The global economic system has evolved into focusing greatly on the adherence of an organization to ethical concerns. Customers now are very concerned about how an organization responds to ethical issues.
If a business is seen to be behaving ethically, customers tend to develop more positive attitudes about it and are more confident about its products (Sjostrom, 2010 p. 178). When an organization’s marketing practices deviate from socially acceptable standards, its marketing process becomes inefficient and may sometimes be interrupted (Schlegelmilch, & Oberseder, 2010 p. 18). This may lead to bad publicity, lack of consumer confidence, lost business and many other negative eventualities. This has been very well exemplified by the effects of the oil spill on BP’s financial position.
The oil spill created an environmental crisis. It generated negative publicity and a major public outcry against its operations. This resulted in a drastic loss of confidence in BP (Rebecca, 2010 p. 11). This was further demonstrated by a drastic forty percent drop of its share market capitalization. If I was the Chief Executive Officer of BP, I would consider BP’s top corporate social responsibility to be environmental concerns. This is because it is a highly sensitive and emotive issue. I would make very effort to ensure that public perception with regards to our environmental practices and polices is favourable.
To balance ethical marketing with shareholder interests, I would employ the use of competitive advantage as a marketing strategy. I would introduce the need to change the perception of environmental protection as merely corporate social responsibility. I would steer perception by management and shareholders to use it as a marketing strategy. This is because if it continues to be viewed as social responsibility, it may not be treated with much seriousness and may result in mistakes with the potential to destroy the company like the recent oil spill.
However, if it is viewed by management as a marketing strategy, the company will make every effort to propagate the perception that we are more environmentally conscious than our competitors. This will create a competitive advantage due to increased consumer confidence and trust. The company will then be able to satisfy both its needs and the needs of its customers. REFERENCES Rebecca Torr. 2010. Spill clean-up under control. McClatchy – Tribune Business News. pp 10-11 Schlegelmilch, B. , and M. Oberseder. 2010.
Half a Century of Marketing Ethics: Shifting Perspectives and Emerging Trends. Journal of Business Ethics 93, no. 1, pp 1-19. Sjostrom, E… 2010. Shareholders as Norm Entrepreneurs for Corporate Social Responsibility. Journal of Business Ethics 94, no. 2, (June 1): 177-191. Stephen S Batory, William Neese, and Anne Heineman Batory. 2005. Ethical Marketing Practices: An Investigation of Antecedents, Innovativeness and Business Performance. Journal of American Academy of Business, Cambridge 6, no. 2, pp 135-142