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What do Chick-fil-A, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and Patagonia clothing company have in common? They are all organizations that take social responsibility in marketing seriously.
Many organizations in the United States embrace social responsibility. Though the term is sometimes loosely applied, organizations that are serious about their role in social responsibility use a three-pronged attack strategy based on proper legal, ethical, and social responsibility behavior. Marketers should practice a “social conscience” in dealings with shareholders and consumers. In their own industries, Chick-fil-A, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and Patagonia clothiers exemplify corporate social responsibility in marketing.
Georgia-based Chick-fil-A restaurant chain has a wide range of policies that help integrate social responsibility into the very fabric of their organization. Chick-fil-A closes on Sundays to encourage worship, offers substantial scholarships to employees who will commit to finishing their education, and works to strengthen marriages by counseling employees and offering weekend stays at resorts to encourage communication between spouses. This company is often ranked at the top of its industry with respect to social responsibility integration and practice.
Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Patagonia clothiers are huge supporters of the “green movement.” Environmental advocacy is part of their corporate credo and mission statement. Both companies not only encourage environmentalists and their causes but also practice environmentalism in the manufacture of their products. Both companies also use their Web sites to advance the environmental agenda. As more organizations place an accent on holistic marketing, environmental awareness and responsibility increases. Social responsibility is becoming the corporate mantra of the 2000’s.
Case study developed by Dr. John R. Brooks, Jr., Houston Baptist University.
- What are the three prongs of the social responsibility attack strategy embraced by some firms today?
- How would you describe proper socially responsible behavior?