Is ethical branding important to us?

Good afternoon,

Today’s blog post comes from this week’s lecture where we discussed the importance of brand identity and corporate branding.

I love group discussion and going back and forth on different opinions and utilising companies as examples to back up these opinions.

The discussion I ended up in with my group was whether we really mind if companies lie to us or not. The initial thought is “of course we mind!” It’s unethical, it is not good PR and it must surely bring a company to a halt and destroy their reputation?

Sadly no, and sadly we do sometimes turn a blind eye to the negative news of brands that have been revealed as somewhat unethical that we are in favour of and still use regardless. I could use countless examples that are even applicable to me but I will target two main companies.


Apple pride themselves on being inclusive and diverse, delivering reliable products that are quick and creative…. yet they still have some ethical issues which can’t be missed. An example of this is their employees who have been known to work in unsavoury conditions.

Why would this unfair treatment be ignored and not put you off wanting to buy any Apple product ever again?

Because you are buying community. You are buying creativity. You are buying simplicity and excuse the pun, you are buying a genius product that has a simple iOS system to follow and it integrates all your Apple products seamlessly so you feel connected across all of your devices.

I understand some people may be anti Apple, I think I was for a while when my iPhone broke on teenage me and I couldn’t forgive it so moved to Blackberry for a short period of time. This was before realising I simply loved the Apple software too much and now own multiple Apple products that no matter what one I’m on, I can access my WhatsApp, Messenger and iMessages/Texts. That and everyone else had it and would talk about how great it was. A mixture of word of mouth and originality on Apple’s part, eventually made me go back to Apple. I’m fully aware of the ethical issues that Apple have faced but I’m also fully aware of the invaluable experience and Apple product gives me as a University student. I utilise my MacBook for creative assignments and my blogging, it doesn’t slow down and break on me within a year unlike every other non-Apple laptop I’ve had. I need reliability and I need speed. I also feel guilty.


Amazon has faced similar issues to Apple in regards to employee working conditions and has received serious backlash. You would think having the richest CEO in the world, they could put more money into their employee care? Or is this just too much for global organisations? It seems to be that way, yet with Amazon comes online shopping convenience. You can order any product directly from Amazon and have it delivered to your door the next day. If you have paid for Amazon Prime, you have access to TV shows, music and premier delivery only available to Prime customers. It’a service that is unique yet seems so essential to some people’s daily lives that we can’t seem to turn away Amazon.

Why would this unfair treatment be ignored and still not put you off wanting to buy anything from Amazon ever again?

Convenience. Frustratingly, in todays digital world everything moves at a quicker pace, including people’s daily lives and the struggle to fit things in that are simple, like going to the shop for birthday presents or Christmas gifts. I shamefully admit that last Christmas, I did the majority of my shopping on Amazon as between deadlines and working, I didn’t have a lot of time to go to the shops. As high street sales decline, I promise to try and do more shopping in the real world for Christmas this year than I did last year.

Sorry for the lengthly post but I find it almost overwhelming that sometimes our own ethical values that we deem necessary for an organisation to have, we choose to ignore for our own convenience and selfish needs. I am extremely guilty of this but aren’t we all? And how do we avoid it? The truth is, maybe we can’t. Maybe companies do lie to us, but maybe we know this and choose to turn a blind eye anyway. Something my lecturer said during discussion that really stuck with me is: “Do we have the organisations we deserve?”

Do a brand’s ethical decisions impact buyer decisions? How do you feel about the above companies?

Abi x


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