In summary

In my previous post, I discussed on the issue of bashing. After reading on the posts that my peers have shared, these are other ethical issues that are found to be significant as well:

Venezia’s and Jamie’s post are mainly about dishonesty and distorted endorsement. Many companies hire influencers and celebrities to post fake reviews about their products and to create a false impression that these endorsers actually uses their product.

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(an endorser’s confession on her Instagram)
Cr: Jamie’s Blog

As someone who shops online quite frequently, I rely on product reviews when making purchasing decisions. If a company participates in any dishonest practices, it jeopardizes the quality of their offerings and as a consumer I would find it difficult to see that company to be trustworthy again.

Silviana shared her views on how unethical it is for employees to be fired because of their online behavior. I support her suggestion that companies should set clear policies and regulations regarding social media usage. It definitely puts a clearer picture in employee’s mind on how to interact online and what is considered appropriate or inappropriate to post.

She also mentioned how everyone has the freedom of speech and an employee has the right to share whatever they want online. I have to disagree with her because I believe that posting negative comments even without revealing names can still leave an impact. Our current or future employers will be able to track our posts which leaves a bad impression on our image. If a person really wants to complain about work, perhaps discussing it with friends in a private conversation would be better?

Sze Li stresses on the importance of privacy and how common it is for companies (e.g. Facebook) to sell consumer’s personal information. For me, I find the idea of companies accessing our cookies to be disturbing. It is important on our side, that we share as little personal information as possible to avoid companies using it without our permission.

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Comment on Jamie’s Blog
Comment on Sze Li’s Blog

Bashing – is it worth it?

bashingSource: Getty Images

With the advancement of technology, social media platforms have become a great place for brand marketers and advertisers to engage and reach out to their customers. However, when companies neglect professionalism when using the sites, it can present some challenges to the ethics of business.

In this post, I will be sharing more on bashing.

Facebook

In 2011, Facebook paid a top PR firm to spread negative stories about Google to the US media, urging them to investigate claims that Google was invading people’s privacy. The plot backfire when an influential blogger refused to help and posted his emails exchanges with the PR firm.

(Read the full story here: Facebook Busted in Clumsy Smear on Google)

Samsung

Samsung was fined when it got caught paying for false praises and negative comments about competitors. The company hired two Taiwanese marketing firms to post bad reviews about HTC products and positive evaluation on Samsung products in their local forums.

(Read the full story here: Samsung Fined $340,000 for Faking Online Comments)

Is bashing competitors an effective marketing strategy? Definitely not, because it could lead to detrimental repercussions and is highly unethical.

Firstly, why is there even a need to put others in an inferior position? The way I see it, when companies spend money and effort to put down a competitor instead of using it to promote their own campaign, they are actually displaying a lack of confidence in their products!

Secondly, publicly disparaging others can tick off their own customers who may also be customers of their competitors. They also run the risk of upsetting prospective customers. These offended customers will engage in bad word of mouth or go on the company’s social media sites to write comments about the company and their products which might result in negative publicity.

Nestles Facebook

Cr: Nestle’s Facebook controversy

Lastly, such negative sentiments often go viral very quickly even before giving the competitor company a chance to rebut. These attacks will been seen as spiteful which will cause the company to miss opportunities to work with other companies. If I were a CEO of an emerging company looking to make an investment, it is obvious that I would choose a reputable company rather than a dishonest one to collaborate with.

The bottom line is, before launching a competitive marketing campaign, company must make sure that every step is done in a tasteful and subtle manner. Carrying out underhand tactics such as bashing to achieve goals would only be seen as a low stunt to pull.

(419 words)

References:

Dr. Jim Barry. 2014. 7 Ethical Dilemmas Faced in Content Marketing. [ONLINE] Available at:http://blog.socialcontentmarketing.com/7-ethical-dilemmas-faced-in-social-media-marketing/. [Accessed 09 November 15].

David J. Gunkel . 2015. Social Media: Changing the rules of business ethics. [ONLINE] Available at:http://newsroom.niu.edu/2015/03/17/social-media-changing-the-rules-of-business-ethics/. [Accessed 09 November 15].

William Comcowich. 2014. Does Bashing Competitors with Attack Ads Really Work?. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.cyberalert.com/blog/index.php/does-bashing-competitors-with-attack-ads-really-work/. [Accessed 09 November 15].