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The Importance of Brand Ethics

91% of consumers say brand behavior has a powerful influence on purchasing decisions.

Posted by Joe Gerard on October 18th, 2011

A company’s reputation is important – and is getting increasingly harder to hold on to. A recent report released by the Fellows of the Ethics Resource Center opens with a quote from Benjamin Franklin:

“It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation and only one bad one to lose it.”

In today’s business world, that statement couldn’t be more true.

Ethics Matters

A company with a bad reputation will have a hard time holding onto customers and attracting top talent. Consumers care about ethics. Job seekers and potential candidates care about ethics too.

The results of a survey conducted by creative agency, 23red, help support the fact that consumers care about ethics. There were 1000 people interviewed for the survey and they were asked questions about brand ethics and how it affects their purchase decisions. During their research, the agency found that:

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  • 91% of consumers say brand behavior is an influential factor in making purchases.
  • 74% would be interested in knowing more about the behavior of a company before buying.
  • 60% say that awareness of “a company’s ethics – environmental record, sourcing, sustainable employment policies, etc, affects their decision making”.
  • 53% say knowing that “the company donates a percentage of profits to charity and good causes” is influential when considering a purchase.
  • 64% agree that companies should adopt a role in the well-being of communities and wider society.

Those are some pretty interesting stats that give companies something to think about. It also sends a clear message that integrity and a commitment to ethics is a great way to market a brand and communicate with the public. When was the last time your company shared a story about brand ethics with the public?

The ERC Report

To help companies out, the ERC has published a free report on how to establish, develop and protect a corporation’s reputation. In the press release announcing the report, ERC President Patricia J. Harned said “companies are missing an opportunity. At a time when the public expects good behavior by corporations, the companies that share stories about their ethics are the ones that will survive in a tough economy and thrive in an ultra-competitive marketplace.”

According to the ERC, the “Building a Corporate Reputation of Integrity” report has been created to help companies navigate issues such as:

  • The value of publicizing corporate commitment to ethics
  • Strategies for making the public case for integrity without inviting scrutiny
  • Key messages challenging consumers and shareholders to think in a different way about a company’s ethics

You can download the full report by clicking here.

What do you think? Do you think that companies can benefit from going public with their commitment to ethics? Let us know in the comments section below.

Joe Gerard
Joe Gerard

CEO, i-Sight

Spend my days showing off the i-Sight investigative case management software and finding ways to help clients improve their investigations. Usually working with corporate security, HR & employee relations, compliance and legal teams.

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