Corporate responsibility and Marketing Strategies are essential in today’s market and to any premier company in this day and age. Researching Apple’s ethical and social responsibility and their position will allow the consumer to determine if the company is meeting or exceeding their responsibility. Exploring the publications which documents the impact of the company’s reputation as a result of any violations will be outlined in this document. The paper will also outline what methods can be utilized in the future to ensure that its suppliers adhere to standards going forward. In addition certain measures may call for more overhead, will Apple’s customers be willing to pay an increase in products and services in order for Apple to assure its suppliers adhere to wage and benefit standards in the future? The research will also analyze various actions that Apple can take to improve its overall marketing approach and outreach to global markets.
Apple’s position on its ethical and social responsibility should be in direct correlation to Apple’s reputation as it is to the credibility of its products Apple has clearly cited on many occasions the belief that accountability is paramount for them as well as their suppliers. Apple’s supplier code of conduct states their employees are empowered and provided with safe and ethical working conditions. It is their representation that their code goes beyond the industry standards, which should be expected of a company of its magnitude and success. Standing by its products and its impact on its presence in the local communities as well as reducing its negative impact on the environment are all stated in ethical policies and procedures set forth by Apple.
In contradiction to its claims of going beyond industry standards it’s documented the business has fallen very short in its social and ethical responsibility. Apple’s suppliers have been found exercising unethical practices of underage laborers, dangerous working conditions, compromised audit reports, and bribery. Where Apple is noted for being the leader in inventing products in its class it’s also known for being a follower and lacking in business ethics. No question of the success of this company, however a disbelief that a company of this magnitude doesn’t rank at the top amongst its competitors in social responsibility.
Although Apple still leads in the technology industry recent unethical findings have definitely impacted the company and its reputation. Apple’s unethical code to secrecy allows for only a portion of its neglect and bad practices to surface. Hawthorne’s publication “Apple’s Appalling Ethics” allowed for the public to speak out leaving comments, consumer’s anecdotes, and word of mouth contributed and impacted the success of the company. Comments such as “Of course Apple is unethical” on the internet becomes a petition for activist and a great sales story for its competitors. The company also incurred large expenses in corrective measures. The Atlantic’s “Who’s really to blame for Apple’s Chinese Labor Problems?” reports the company hired the Fair Labor Association (FLA) to investigate the working conditions and planned for exclusive footage to be filmed from inside its factories. The common consumer does not inspect the production and work environments of most products they purchase until something causes the public attention. This creates the minority of its consumer’s knowledge to the majority. Due to its exclusive products they create its very challenging to create a devastating impact to the success of such a company nevertheless many supporters have ceased its relationship based on these facts.
Forbes “Where is Apple’s Social Purpose” states reviews of Apple’s Supplier Responsibility Reports confirms that they have taken action to cease the unethical practices and put in measures to prevent its reoccurrence. Periodic ghost shadowing should immediately be implemented in supplier’s workplaces by Apple’s Corporate Executives and the discovery of any illegal and unethical practices should institute immediate action. Diversified Risk
Management states that these practices are proven to reduce theft, poor performances, product tampering, and other criminal activity. Due to the demand for work, the suppliers would jeopardize its relationship if found liable for not following the code.
Repetitive publicized action would result in companies adhering to the practices as well as satisfying the public eye. Reducing its foreign suppliers creates a need for increased local support along with exclusive televised reports on the local companies, employee outreach programs and work incentives could create awareness and a desire for more support to increase the well-being of the economy and its community.
Increasing product pricing would adversely affect Apples customers. The products are currently priced above its competitors and its competition is steadily growing in comparison to technology matched products. Customers have been made aware of the unethical practice which creates a question of confidence; an increase in price would create a loss in revenue. Customers have already suffered a surprise in the lack of social responsibility to stack that with an increase to correct a problem the public perceives as a corporate error would be advised against. Although Tech radar still ranks Apple as carrying the number one smartphone its competitors are not trailing far behind in similar features.
Reports show Apple’s overall marketing strategy originates from inception in 1977. Mike Markkula the original investor/advisor implanted a 3 point marketing philosophy Empathy, Focus, and Input. The company focused on understanding and studying the demand and needs of its targeted market and eliminating unimportant opportunities Apple’s IPhone has surpassed being just a manufacture brand to being a national renowned brand. It produces a desire and sense of excitement such as other phenomenal brands i.e. Jordan’s. Its exclusiveness, impressive appearance and packaging have been a focus from the beginning. Conversely it nonetheless suffers in the global marketplace. Creating equivalent products at a lower cost and incorporating free products in the foreign supplier’s workplace would be an incentive to a global marketing strategy. Enforcing a better work environment in the communities and also community outreach globally would create positive awareness and the desire to support a company who gives back. There are very few claims of Apple participation in local community service, natural disaster relief, and community outreach, something the company definitely needs to focus on and embrace.
Kurtz, David L. (2012). Contemporary Business: (15th Edition). John Wiley & Sons, Inc. McGraw-Hill.com (2012) Business Ethics and Social Responsibility. Retrieved January 24, 2014, from http://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/dl/free/0070921989/226745/ferrell_sampleCH02.pdf Apple.com (2012) Supplier Responsibility. Retrieved January 24th, 2014, from http://www.apple.com/supplierresponsibility/health-and-safety.html Theatlantic.com (2012) who’s really to Blame for Apple’s Chinese Labor Problems? Retrieved January 24th, 2014 from http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/03/whos-really-to-blame-for-apples-chinese-labor-problems/253892/ Diversified Risk Management, Inc. (2013). Undercover Investigations. Retrieved January 24, 2014, from http://www.diversifiedriskmanagement.com/investigations/undercover.html Tech Radar Phones (2013). Best smartphones: 10-1 Retrieved January 24, 2014, from http://www.techradar.com/us/news/phone-and-communications/mobile-phones/20-best-mobile-phones-in-the-world-today-645440/2#articleContent Forbes.com (2012). Why is Apple Is a Great Marketer? Retrieved January 23, 2014 from http://www.forbes.com/sites/christinemoorman/2012/07/10/why-apple-is-a-great-marketer/ Washington Post (2013), This shows how far behind Apple is in the global phone market. Retrieved January 23, 2014 from http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2013/08/20/this-chart-shows-how-far-behind-apple-is-in-the-global-phone-market/
Readwrite.com (2007) The top 10 things I love about my IPhone. Retrieved January 24, 2014 from http://readwrite.com/2007/07/24/the_top_10_things_i_love_about_my_iphone#awesm=~oudv6i2BlKxMYD