Authenticity in marketing is increasingly important. Creating reliable and responsible content is crucial.

There appears to be an increasing trend amongst business owners currently where ethical and responsible practice is just as important as the bottom line. Protecting the environment and decreasing gender pay gaps are just a couple of issues presently playing a part in a company’s decision making process. As consumers are seemingly placing more importance on how a product is made and less importance on the price tag, businesses are actively incorporating their moral principles into their branding.

Take Tony’s Chocolonely for example, the Dutch confectionery company focuses its branding completely on their ethics to produce fair trade, 100% slave-free chocolate and actively invites the consumer to participate in this positive change. There is hardly any emphasis amongst their branding on how the chocolate actually tastes and the front page of their website is wholly driven towards their ethos, not the multiple flavours of chocolate they actually sell.

Another example comes from Waitrose who have recently started a trial that allows consumers to purchase fruit and vegetables without the constraints of plastic packaging, encouraging shoppers to bring refillable containers from home. Although Waitrose may not be the cheapest supermarket to shop at, this new introduction is clearly aimed at the conscious consumer that will hopefully choose this sustainable option over an alternative store that is perhaps better value for money.

It’s wonderful to see businesses taking more responsibility for their products in-store, but do these same ethics apply to the content we are viewing online?

Keeping a business’s website up to date with relevant content does not only keeps customers engaged but also helps SEO. When new content is created, however, does the emphasis fall on what is best for the end reader or what is going to improve a website’s place on Google? It can become increasingly frustrating when changes made to a website somehow result in Google’s algorithms recalculating the page rank, decreasing online visibility and organic traffic.

With that being said, it is vital to work in a responsible manner when creating new content and provide consumers with accurate information while hopefully improving search engine optimisation. Remember that there is a reader on the other side, absorbing the material published online and perhaps acting on the information or advice provided without checking its reliability first.

Content advertised on social media, for example, is not always as accurate as it seems. These digital platforms have so many positive advantages, allowing people to connect with each other instantaneously and allowing small businesses, without huge marketing budgets, the chance to be heard. It is disappointing at times, however, when brands or influencers use the spaces to make claims and part knowledge that is not necessarily accurate. You don’t have to be a qualified dietician to claim health benefits on Instagram but the audience may take these claims as fact.

The responsibility lies with the brand or individual to only share content that is reliable and trustworthy, and there is certainly room to do this while also increasing online presence and brand identity in a positive way.

It is part of the reason that the Organisation for Responsible Businesses is asking ethical businesses to ‘Nail Your Colours to the Mast’. ORB wants to encourage more businesses to talk about the good things they are doing and about the core values that drive their business. For many, this may provide additional opportunities to publish engaging content on websites and social media that they might not previously have considered making public. Done properly, such information is good for a company’s reputation; will support the responsible business movement; and can also help SEO. Google loves quality, fresh content! But the overriding consideration is that all such content must be 100% authentic.

So don’t hide your light under a bushel!  

Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay