Marketing + Communications

Ethics, responsibility, and marketing: nowhere to hide

You’re exhausted. We’re exhausted. The nation is exhausted. Happy New Year, we guess?

2021 isn’t off to the strongest of starts. For the most part, everything is still up in the air and the coming months remain uncertain. Everybody needs to be doing their bit right now, because times are tough. 

Hidden behind all the chat about vaccines and lockdowns, there are a few other topics capturing public attention. Conversations about ethics, responsibility, and corruption. Corruption in government contracts or the test and trace system (anyone really surprised by the current furore around the provision of food parcels for children?). The US election and how Trump’s presidency will end. This isn’t politics, it’s leadership, ethics and responsibility.

2021 marks a pivotal moment in all our lives and careers. It’s time to stand up and take responsibility. And there’s no plan B. But how exactly does any of this relate to marketing?

As businesses and as human beings, it’s our responsibility to be ethical, kind, compassionate and trustworthy. To be everything we don’t see in the news and social media. And to be radically transparent about this at every given opportunity. And how else to relay this message than through your marketing?

Nowhere to hide

There’s increased scrutiny on everyone. And a consequential pressure on all of us not to add unnecessary fuel to the fire. A controversy doesn’t need to hit the news to severely impact your reputation.

There’s nowhere to hide. With so many bad choices and mistakes being brought to life, there’s a lot to learn from. We need to prioritise doing the right thing and show this through our attitudes and behaviour, as well as our content and communication.

Taking responsibility

Whether you’re doing everything right, or owning up to your mistakes, it’s a business’s responsibility to be transparent and honest, above all else.

Let’s take the Grenfell enquiry as an example. The findings coming out of the inquiry daily were shocking. People abdicating responsibility left, right and centre. Kingspan knew its material wasn’t safe. Yet no one is stepping up to take responsibility. No one is owning up to the part they played. Everyone is passing the buck.

Obviously, this is an extreme case. But if you’ve made a mistake, own it. Be candid about what went wrong and how you’ll ensure it never happens again. Don’t wait to be found out, assume you will be and put things right first. Don’t wait to be asked what you’re doing: show what you’re doing.

If the past year has done anything, it’s increased the expectations of consumers, clients and the general public. They demand transparency and honesty from any business they partner with, buy from, use, or associate with. And it’s your responsibility to make your ethics and beliefs known from the onset.

We are currently building a new brand with radical transparency as its core value. It’s exciting, refreshing and perfect for 2021.

Lifting each other up

No matter your job role, business or industry, the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021 have demonstrated just how much we need to help each other out.

A matter close to our hearts is the current homeschooling burden on parents. In many ways, it’s harder this time around. There’s more schooling to do, yet the day job hasn’t eased. 

Research shows that 15% of mothers have been made redundant or expect to be, 46% of whom say a lack of childcare played a role. While 72% of mothers have had to work fewer hours due to childcare issues.

Our team knows too many people who are stuck. But what can they do? Their partners’ employers won’t give them the time off to do their bit, and their own employers aren’t showing a greater understanding. People are left pushing the limits of what constitutes vulnerable children or key workers just to get their kids into school. Why aren’t we all working together? Where is the collective responsibility and kindness? 

In many ways, none of this is about marketing. But in a lot of ways, it also is. If your people are burnt out, your clients will find out first. Do you want it to hit the press that you helped your employees with child care responsibilities, or that you didn’t?

The way we present ourselves to the world matters. It’s never been more important to be an ethical and empathetic business, a positive light in a struggling landscape. 


When you plan your marketing this year, consider all of these things. Prioritise ethics, transparency, kindness and adding true value to your market. Focus on positivity, doing the right thing, and being the kind of person and business we need more of in the world.


If you want to maximise your success and reputation through your marketing channels this year, get in touch with Luma today.

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