March 18, 2011

Aflac ran a half-page ad in the business section of The New York Times on Wednesday. It was not about Gilbert Gottfried, but rather being “recognized as one of Ethisphere.com’s World’s Most Ethical Companies.”


Was this a smart marketing investment? I believe so. While corporate reputation used to fall squarely in the public relations domain, we are seeing it shift into mainstream marketing because as more businesses become commoditized, it is the intangibles that differentiate and create brand preference. We are entering the age of accountability and transparency, where the new intangibles are things such as high ethical standards, social and environmental responsibility and strong corporate citizenship or what Aflac simply calls “doing the right thing.” So it definitely makes "cents" to talk about a business ethics award to help strengthen the brand.

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