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Unethical Customers Are Bad For Business
Consultancies working with unethical organisations are damaging their own reputation and missing an opportunity to make positive change.
By: Scamper Brand Strategy
“Business is traditionally seen as the main part of the problem in social and environmental issues, but it is just as much a part of the solution” says Tom, who won the 2007 KTP Business Leader of Tomorrow Award. The suggestion is that if businesses operating ethically can out-compete those with less responsible practices, then huge social and environmental benefits could be achieved. The objective of all business consultancies and support agencies is to increase the competitiveness of their clients. Therefore, any consultancies wanting to make a real positive impact should carefully assess who they are working with and be prepared to say no.
Scamper have made a commitment to only work with companies that, like them, are committed to working towards sustainability. They don’t have to be perfect, because no one is perfect, but they must show genuine intention to improve their practices and move towards sustainability. This rules out a large proportion of potential customers but Tom says that “there are now a lot of companies out there doing good things, and it is these companies that we want to support.”
Narrowing the market in this way is actually good for consultancies businesses. According to Tom, “It increases staff morale and improves our own brand image. Also, as the proportion of ethical businesses increases, so too will our market, and as our customers have a focus on sustainability, they should be around for years to come, paving the way to long-term customer relationships.”
It is hoped that more consultancies will take the plunge and focus on working with ethically responsible organisations. Encouraging others to compete with them in a niche market might seem like a strange business move, but Tom says that Scamper is not worried about the competition.
“The market is now big enough that we don’t need to worry about an excess of ethical and sustainable consultancies, and the market is growing day by day. If there was a major shift towards ethical consultancy, then it would actually benefit us by depriving many unethical businesses of the services on which they depend to maintain their competitiveness and would therefore encourage them to rethink their business principles, which could actually expand the market even farther.”
It may all seem a little extreme, but in the end it comes down to one simple fact. “If you are really good at what you do, you can afford to be selective about who you work with.”
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About Scamper Brand Strategy:
Scamper is a brand strategy consultancy that specialises in helping organisations committed to sustainability harness the power of branding to increase their profits on the triple bottom line. More details can be found at http://www.sustainablebrandstrategy.com