Originally published July 20, 2017
Here is an excerpt:
Slowly, brands are waking up to the fact that strong ethics and core values are no longer a “nice to have,” but a necessity. Failure to take responsibility in times of crisis can take an irreparable toll on the trust companies have worked so hard to build with employees, partners and customers. So many brands are still getting it wrong, and the consequences are real — public boycotting, massive fines, fired CEOs and falling stock prices.
This shift is what I call ethical transformation — the application of ethics and values across all aspects of business and society. It’s as impactful and critical as digital transformation, the other megatrend of the last 20 years. You can’t have one without the other. The internet stripped away barriers between consumers and brands, meaning that transparency and attention to ethics and values is at an all-time high. Brands have to get on board, now. Consider some oft-cited casualties of the digital transformation: Blockbuster, Kodak and Sears. That same fate awaits companies that can’t or won’t prioritize ethics and values.
This is a good thing. Ethical transformation pushes us into a better future, one built on genuinely ethical companies. But it’s not easy. In fact, it’s pretty hard. And it takes time. For decades, most of the business world focused on what not to do or how not to get fined. (In a word: Compliance.) Every so often, ethics and its even murkier brother “values” got a little love as an afterthought. Brands that did focus on values and ethics were considered exceptions to the rule — the USAAs and Toms shoes of the world. No longer.
The article is here.