Wednesday, 17 March 2010

NGO Activism or Brand Destroyers?

When marketing gurus Philip Kotler and Gerald Zaltman realized that the same marketing principles used for products could be used for selling ideas, social marketing was born. The main obective here is to influence social behaviour not for the benefit of the marketer, read NGO, but for the benefit of the larger audience and general society.

Role of Social Marketers and Activists
As social change agents, activists try to nurture public consensus and act as an 'open system' which informs the public while at the same time learning from dialogue with stakeholders. It is therefore important to be seen as responsible citizens in order to win respect, acceptance and legitimacy from the majority of ordinary citizens who must be won over for movements to succeed. Social conditions and public policies that violate morally acceptable values are basically the main agenda when it comes to activism. The results being governmental policies being put in place to ensure such issues are accepted in political and judicial structures. However, some of these actions may not augur well with big corporations...

Stepping on large toes?
Corporations such as Nestle have had their share of "Corporate Crimes" highlighted by NGOs such as Oxfam and Greenpeace. The latest being the issue of palm oil being used in its products which is killing off orang-utans, all this after the issue with the Zimbabwe farm which claimed that Nestle Zimbabwe sourced 15 percent of its milk from a farm owned by the president’s wife, Grace Mugabe. All these crises as a result of close monitoring of activities of corporations by NGOs and Nestle has had quiet a rough time trying to manage their reputation and resorting to social media which hasn't worked much for them.

This video by greenpeace is the campaign against the destruction of the orang-utans' forest. Would you buy a Kit-Kat after watching it?

I thought not for most people...that's how powerful activists can be. Clearly, activism plays a big role in determining how organizations work. Pity that sometimes the environment will be destroyed in order to get people to travel as is the issue with the alarming rate of carbon prints.

Green peace UK,

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