(Image Source: thunderhouse)
According to the Internet Live Stats there are currently 3 billion internet users in the world, in singapore there are 4 million users, that is 80% of our population using the internet. As a marketer, this will be an opportunities for us, the internet will be the most viable platform to market business. Hence, companies now is making use of social media to promote their business. Based on Jayson DeMers’s article on the benefits on social media marketing, one of the few benefits are increased brand recognition and decreased marketing cost.
So that led me to the main topic of an example of ethical issue:
Distorted Endorsement is a misrepresentation of your credential and affiliation. It is where the company ask consumer to use their products with stories, consumer may seem to appear as anonymous testimony but it’s actually a sponsor or advertorial post (Dr. Barry, 2014).
An example is where Wal-Mart was found indirectly paying bloggers when they had a road trip around U.S. writing about positive stories on Wal-Mart through the organisation Working Families for Wal-Mart.
(Image Source: toughsledding.files.wordpress.com)
Another example that is closer to home is Gushcloud Expose (A influencer marketing agency). Xiaxue (A renowned Singapore blogger) has disclose information about a endorsement between Gushcloud’s influencer and their client.
(Image Source: Xiaxue.blogspot.com)
The above image is an email from the client to the influencer. Because of the improper anonymity, this affected the company and all the other clients they worked with, like Singtel.
Having to mask an advertisement is distorted endorsement. To gain companies’ trust, they must have a true representation of business or products they offer. Any intentional fabrication of stories could damage the company’s reputation.
I feel that online endorsement is a great marketing method to promote the business, but it should be executed professionally and ethically. Based on the FTC guideline: “A simple disclosure like ‘Company X gave me this product to try . . . .’ will usually be effective” so as long as they obey the FTC regulation, it will not result in distorted endorsement or improper anonymity. A good example of online endorsement is like the image and video below. It clearly states it is being ‘sponsored’ or show the client’s logo in the video.
(Image Source: essiebutton.com)
(Video Source: youtube.com)
It is a privilege to be an influential blogger or social media star, where a small community of internet users look up to. Influencer shouldn’t abuse their power but partner with companies they genuine like or feels their follower will benefit from.
What do you think of online endorsement?
ETHICAL OR NOT? Comment down below 🙂
Word Count: 420 words
- Internet Users. (n.d.). Retrieved November 8, 2015, from http://www.internetlivestats.com/internet-users/
- DeMers, J. (2014, August 11). The Top 10 Benefits Of Social Media Marketing. Retrieved November 8, 2015, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2014/08/11/the-top-10-benefits-of-social-media-marketing/2/
- Barry, J. (2014, April 28). 7 Ethical Dilemmas Faced in Content Marketing. Retrieved November 8, 2015, from http://blog.socialcontentmarketing.com/7-ethical-dilemmas-faced-in-social-media-marketing/
- Gogoi, P. (2006, October 9). Wal-Mart’s Jim and Laura: The Real Story. Retrieved November 8, 2015, from http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/stories/2006-10-09/wal-marts-jim-and-laura-the-real-storybusinessweek-business-news-stock-market-and-financial-advice
- blogspot.com – Everyone’s reading it.: The Big Gushcloud Exposé 2. (2015, March 14). Retrieved November 8, 2015, from http://xiaxue.blogspot.sg/2015/03/the-big-gushcloud-expose-2_14.html
- Yi Han, L. (2015, March 17). Singtel and Gushcloud say sorry for negative marketing campaign. Retrieved November 8, 2015, from http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/singtel-and-gushcloud-say-sorry-for-negative-marketing-campaign
- The FTC’s Endorsement Guides: What People Are Asking. (n.d.). Retrieved November 9, 2015, from https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/ftcs-endorsement-guides-what-people-are-asking#social