Alan Chapman, owner of Businessballs.com out of Leicester, England, has an interesting theory regarding the foundation of marketing.
According to Chapman, the number one factor that puts a business head and shoulders above the rest is the ethics and integrity of the organization:
“Price is no longer the king, if it ever was. Value no longer rules, if ever it did. Quality of service and product is not the deciding factor. Today what truly matters is ethical and philosophical quality - from the bottom to the top - in every respect - across every dimension of the organisation.”
This seems pretty simplistic. After all, no one ever talks about ethics comparisons or philosophy shopping. However, on an intrinsic level, most people want to deal with businesses they trust, with organizations that share similar values. Your marketing methods can make or break the image of integrity your business or nonprofit holds in the community.
Some businesses have taken integrity marketing to new levels. Domino’s Pizza, for example, came right out and stated, “We know you didn’t like our pizza. We’re going to make it better.” Their newest campaign involves using customer photographs of pizzas rather than using food artists for advertising pictures. So far, sales and traffic are up at the 2nd largest national pizza chain.
However, according to Bob Phibbs of Retaildoc.com, referring to both Domino’s and Toyota: “Lesson to businesses large and small, if you want to become a larger brand, you better pay attention to the most basic brand promises:
• eating our product won’t taste bad or
• our products won’t kill you.”
In other words, it’s a lot easier to use integrity marketing when your business makes quality products or provides quality services at a fair price. It’s even better when the process of business, including hiring practices, selection of materials, and efficiency of procedures, is based more on what is right than what is profitable.
When the business is right, integrity marketing comes as a natural outgrowth. When Orville Redenbacher told us "you can taste the difference" in his popcorn, you believed him. As long as eating the popcorn doesn’t “taste bad or kill you,” people will continue to show loyalty to his popcorn brand.
In a social media world where privacy is at a premium and everyone’s opinion can be blasted to the far corners of the internet, the value of marketing that tells the truth: “Let us solve your problem, meet your need, or make you feel good” is more recognized today than ever before.
In the words of author Douglas Adams, “To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.”