Corporate ethics hotlines received fewer reports from employees in 2020, despite a turbulent year of concerns related to potential wrongdoing. Environment, health and safety rose 47%. The decline in reports included tips about potential fraud and bribery.
As the use of consumer data has expanded, ethics in online advertising is needed to regain the trust that brands have lost in recent years, especially among younger consumers.
Wally Snyder, president of the Institute for Advertising Ethics (IAE), told Lynne Kjolso, vice president of corporate sales at Microsoft Advertising, during a recent interview that the industry needs ethics standards and guidelines, rather than waiting for the government to step in and take actions.
“Consumers have the ability to find out anything about an ad or company, … but that wasn’t true 20 years ago,” Snyder said. “From our research we know they expect to be treated ethically and fairly.”
Consumers act on what they discover about brands. Some 87% have shared something good about a brand, and more than 90% have shared something negative, Snyder said, citing a recent study by the IAE.
Despite government regulations in data, Snyder believes there is an opportunity for brands to remain transparent and reach consumers one-on-one. He calls on the industry to develop standards as they continue to collect and use the data.
The IAE has created a checklist that includes nine ethical principles and guidelines.
Promising something in an advertisement that does not hold true is the fastest way to break a customer’s trust. It has become an industry-wide problem, and shared responsibility that must improve to rebuild consumer trust for the profession and brands, according to a post Microsoft Advertising published Monday.
There are many ethical issues facing advertisers today that go beyond truth in advertising, however -- and all can jeopardize a brand's reputation without nine guiding principles that should be followed.
The top brand attributes for building trust, love and loyalty include respecting privacy, standing for what the consumer believes in, having similar ideologies, solving issues if products or services do not deliver as expected, being genuine and authentic, and delivering on promises made in advertising or marketing.
Snyder wants to see more consumer controls, transparency in its use, security, and the ability to honor legal protections from states and countries.