Holding our companies, and ourselves, to a higher standard.

Last night while watching the TV, an unusual event which I almost immediately regretted, I saw a programme about consumer products which had a couple of stories about branding and marketing and just how dodgy those “professions” have become.

The first was that the brand names of Polaroid and Blaupunkt are used on electronic products that are made my companies with no connection with either of those companies. In fact Polaroid is apparently know as a “zombie brand” in that it no longer makes any products and exists only as a brand.

The other story was about high end cosmetics and perfumes where the cost of the product can be as much as 95% marketing and packaging. All that money ending up in the pockets of “the creative industries” convincing us that we have a need for products whose actual cost is 5% of what we are persuaded to pay for them.

Lastly today I noticed this story about Nurofen marketing what look like specific painkillers, at double the price, that turn out to be no different from standard Nurofen.

All of these seem beyond anything justified by effective business and are downright dishonest and manipulative. Some of you work for companies that indulge in these practices, and no doubt worse. Some of you may sit in on meetings at which these sorts of things get discussed.

I have written before about the possibility of using our online connections, or internal social networks, to hold our organisations, to higher standards. Many of us, including myself, work with or for these companies. I am becoming increasingly robust in questioning their activities and have on occasion declined to work with those that I feel strongly enough about. I would encourage you to do the same.

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