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Social Cause Marketing - The Regis Group Inc

Social Cause Marketing - The Regis Group Inc

nessí profits and

nessí profits and growth with their repeated purchases. Roads to Solutions Markets provide solutions on three levels for disgruntled customersó damage prevention, restitution and straightforward punishments. Prevention steps include business or industry standards and codes, which intend to shape companiesí behavior by instating a number of higher values. Business practice codes are used to align practices across the different sectors. Another means to prevent customer dissatisfaction is to provide consumer information on product quality and quantity, safe consumption conditions, and applications ñ in short, any data required to acquire and use products safely. Business communications should not merely Consumers are people, with feelings, families, jobs, histories, wishes, issues and changing needs. Business practices built around these notions are, by definition, more appealing to them, leading to stronger and long-lasting ties – not to mention more value for shareholders focus on persuading prospects but also on offering useful information to potential consumers, describing productsí functionalities rather than extolling their abstract attributes. A more informed, more sophisticated market effectively promotes better product and service choices, naturally casting deceitful competitors aside. Restitution measures imply money reimbursements to offset product flaws or to remedy other causes for buyer dissatisfaction. Guarantees are included in this realm and may compel sellers to accept the return of used products, refunding customers with no further argument, product replacement attempts, or credit for future purchases ñ customers get their money back in full. As a result, consumers do not feel that their ignorance or neglect has been unfairly exploited. These mechanisms afford a twofold benefit: buyers can fix their purchasing mistakes, and sellers gain lifelong customers ñ as well as free advertising through word-of-mouth recommendations. Finally, market punishments include fines and class-action lawsuits initiated by consumer groups. These collective claims enable individual plaintiffs to join forces in order to make their suits more valuable and interesting. Fines do not need to be hefty, but they should be swift and reported to plaintiffs in order to show appreciation for taking the trouble to file charges. Complaint books should be available to customers at all times and be often examined, informing customers about corrective actions. These solutions provide guidelines for business policies, in an attempt to prevent, remedy or curtail harmful behaviors. However, they seem to substitute for a more comprehensive marketer commitment to consumers, supported by a basic view of customers as the center of business activities. Consumers are people, with feelings, families, jobs, histories, wishes, issues and changing needs. Business practices built around these notions are, by definition, more appealing to them, leading to stronger and long-lasting ties ñ not to mention more value for shareholders. On the contrary, isolating customers will only lead to incomplete, inefficient and unsatisfactory actions for both parties, effectively and unnecessarily restraining business operations to the use of unsavory, irresponsible practices. As a result, the economy is devoid of its human dimension, undermining the value of markets and its constituents: consumers feel unappreciated, while marketing professionals cannot find pride in their jobs. The Human Side of Business and Marketing Marketing ñ A Human Endeavor This article started out with a vision of business and marketing as a human activity, in its role as cultural driver ñ an approach that engulfs and supersedes all others. Based on a strictly technical framework that focuses on the effective application of marketing tools, consumers should be responsible for their own knowledge, and marketers should not be expected to educate them, being the work of social agents. From a more professional perspective, practitioners who believe in what they do are determined not to trespass ethical boundaries, abiding by current laws and stepping up to safeguard consumer rights as well. Their goal is to formulate products that genuinely benefit customers, contributing to their material and spiritual wellbeing, while addressing as many predictable issues as possible to ensure overall benefits. With a more human approach, marketing practices will focus on consumer growth and the development of society, going beyond product specificities and consumption conditions. This vision turns marketing operations into a human endeavor that zeroes in on people, contributing not only to their wellbeing but also to their individual and social advancement. Thus, an aesthetic and social concern complements the ethical dimension that rules behavior, providing a more complete, well-rounded notion of human beings. As a result, marketing becomes a means to pursue specific goals and expectations that drive peopleís efforts, potentially enhancing their lives and including aesthetic values, an appreciation for beauty in individuals and things; social values, such as friendship, family and society, as well as the use of free time to promote greater harmony. This approach to marketing can offer more insightful knowledge and help to expand consumer horizons. Indeed, marketing practices aiming for higher human values tend to be more successful and effective, as they command greater ap- preciation and remembrance. © 2009 Guillermo J DíAndrea. All Rights Reserved. Reference # 03M-2009-09-10-01 SEPTEMBER 2009 58 EFFECTIVE EXECUTIVE

Motivations for Corporate Citizenship This article makes a politico-sociological attempt to analyze the real factors that drive the apparently philanthropic notion of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) or Corporate Citizenship towards policy-level implementation and praxes. Various reasons such as image-building exercises, confidence-building measures, power politics, bargaining strategies, negotiations and compromises, altruism, accountability towards the concept of Sustainable Development (if not inclusive growth!) and Good (Corporate) Governance are examined in the process. The article tentatively concludes that CSR is rather situation-specific. CSR or Corporate Citizenship (also variously known as Sustainable Responsible Business or even Corporate Social Performance) has steadily emerged as one of the defining parameters of the entire arrangement of business strategy since WWII. The concept of social welfare has been integrated with business management for purposes that will be subsequently discussed in this article. But what is interesting at this juncture is to appreciate how in fact these divergent trends have been cohered to generate new ideas and images in the marketplace of corporate politics that has increasingly found it difficult to ignore the polyphony of voices and choices underpinned by the need for change management initiatives towards societal benefit (Toenjes 2002). The multiplicity of business choices has to now necessarily conform to the obtainable arrangement of community level developmental choices in order to institutionalize the best practices of social entrepreneurship and corporate citizenship. This development towards new possibilities has largely been made possible by the emergence of the Civil Society (following Antonio Gramsci) as the Third Actor that has moved away from the confines of both the State and the Market to create a dialogic space for itself that also caters to stakeholders (and not merely stockholders) interacting within and outside the Public Sphere (following J¸rgen Habermas) on the issues of preferences, priorities and polemics that tend to affect their politics of everyday life (Lehman 2001). What is rather important to understand here is the fact that the Civil Society has distanced itself away from the Market while citizens limited to political boundaries (or netizens without any such foreseeable or apparent boundaries) have also been socialized enough to agree to disagree (not really in consonance with Noam Chomskyís thesis of manufactured dissent). More intellectual debates and critical discourses at the social level of politics have largely been a derivative of development studies. The classical studies on perverted development had led to the formulation of the metropolitan center versus satellite analyses that indicate that drainage of indigenous wealth and natural resources from the South to the North has resulted in a top-heavy model of socalled economic development (Frank 1967 and Preston 1996). Subsequent decolonization and establishment of post-colonial democracies in the South had only confirmed Frankís observations. Such a pattern of exploitation based on mercantile/industrial/finance capitalism and culminating in cultural imperialism logically led to the process which has now come to be fashionably known as globalization (following Immanuel Wallerstein and Eric John Ernest Hobsbawm). But globalization has also been challenged by glocalization with a mantra championed by the World Bank that urges us to ëThink Globally but Act Locallyí. 1 Added to this imperative are the Millennium Development Goals put forward by the United Nations Development Program. So the question remains: Is CSR a proactive or a reactive development that impinges upon the realities of social markets? Citizens and consumers have equally learnt to say no and look 1 ìClearly, globalization, democratization and decentralization go hand-in-hand. As they do, they create new opportunities and new risks for all actors, including those who act at the subnational and local level. In effect, globalization and democratization create a greater incentive for effective policies and management than ever before and, as an inveterate optimist, I believe that the discipline they impose is a valuable instrument which will over the long haul ensure that national and subnational authorities behave more sensibly. The lessons we can draw from experience, as to what makes for an effective intergovernmental framework and for efficient subnational government are useful in that they can help reap the benefits from globalization more quickly and may help avoid the risks that globalization also poses. As we enter into the discussions of the next two days I would encourage us all to ëthink globalí, but to focus on how we can more effectively ëact localí.î (Quoted from the speech delivered by Johannes F Linn, Vice President, Europe and Central Asia Region, The World Bank, at the Global Conference on Capital Markets Development at the Subnational Level in New York City on February 16, 2000.) SEPTEMBER 2009 59 EFFECTIVE EXECUTIVE

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