Ethical Marketing Policy
Policy brief & purpose
At Haddon Coaching we believe that all our marketing efforts should provide genuine value to our target audience. Our marketing focuses not only on how our services benefit our customers, but also how they benefit socially responsible and environmental causes. We believe that this is the best way to earn our customers’ attention and their trust. Our marketing strategies are based on a belief that marketing should be honest and that we will not take advantage of anyone’s personal data. This policy statement lays out the ethical marketing practices we follow at Haddon Coaching and the commitments we have made to ensure that our work meets or exceeds the highest ethical standards of our industry.
We commit to absolute honesty in our marketing, and we pledge to:
- Never use dishonest marketing tactics including:
- False advertising: exaggerating values and benefits of services
- Fake or overly doctored reviews and testimonials
- Inflated analytics or results in your advertising
- Never “cherry pick” specific data points to use in marketing and communications that are not representative of our overall impact.
- Not withhold negative information or data from the public solely to protect a brand’s image.
- Only use words that are realistic descriptors of the services we are promoting.
How we work
Making sure that our marketing is honest takes discipline and rigour. We try to always ask ourselves the following questions when planning and executing a marketing campaign or advertising:
- Are we clearly communicating our service’s value without exaggerating or misleading our key audiences?
- Are we using language that honestly communicates the features and benefits of our services?
- Are we accurately quoting our customers, partners, and team when we share reviews or testimonials?
- Is our use of data and examples honest and accurate when promoting our features, benefits, or the impact of our services?
- Is there internal pressure to communicate dishonest information within our marketing and communications coming from team members or the leadership of our company? If so we will push back the campaign and discuss further with the leadership team.
Rejecting green washing and impact washing
Green washing and impact washing happen when a business exaggerates their positive and environmental impact to gain a marketing advantage or uses “feel good” marketing to cover up or distract from negative outcomes that their core business model is having in other areas socially or environmentally.
- Exaggerating impact by inflating numbers, cherry-picking data, or focusing on stories that aren’t representative of overall outcomes
- Communicating false promises or making unrealistic claims about expected results
- Sharing stories or creating impact initiatives that aren’t rooted in an authentic mission or intention for good–but purely for the marketing benefits
- Using a social impact initiative to distract from negative social or environmental problems caused by their core processes, products, or services.
We pledge that our campaigns are fully honest and transparent about the social and environmental impacts of our services. We will constantly review marketing and communications strategies and tactics to ensure that we are not engaging in green-washing or impact-washing.
Cultural sensitivity in campaign creative
At Haddon Coaching we commit to avoiding “saviour complex” in our marketing and advertising campaigns. This can happen when, although well-intentioned, a company perceives a need for support of a certain community without including and empowering that affected community. The company might provide a solution solely from their external position of privilege. Saviour complex is problematic because it can result in communications, solutions, and power dynamics that reinforce systems of oppression.
When Haddon Coaching builds campaigns aimed at promoting our services as solutions to long standing issues, we commit to exploring various perspectives, knowing that any complex issue likely has multiple causes and multiple potential solutions.
We will not use images of people in need, especially stereotypical images, to elicit an emotional response and drive engagement and/or donations from our audience. We believe that this approach can lead to insensitive campaigns and messages that may disempower the communities that we are striving to empower.
We commit to:
- Take steps to avoid any exploitation, appropriation, or stereotyping of underrepresented or historically oppressed people or groups within marketing content.
- Seek out feedback on the appropriateness and sensitivity of marketing content. This looks different for different projects, but often involves seeking stakeholder input, and engaging the target audience via surveys, focus groups, or interviews.
- Ongoing internal training to increase awareness of cultural sensitivity and inclusiveness.
Permission-based email marketing
We commit to:
- Creating value within any free content (including videos, blogs, online resources, online classes, social media posts, etc.)
- Being GDPR compliant
- Maintaining the trust of email lists by continuing to offer value and restricting messaging to content related to what the original opt-in intent.
Ethical digital advertising
Haddon Coaching is committed to ensuring the accuracy and ethics of the content we promote through digital advertising.
Aside from considering the accuracy and honesty of the content, we also consider the ethics of the targeting approach. Digital advertising brings its own unique set of ethical issues related to data privacy. Facebook, Google, and many other digital media companies have developed sophisticated tracking technologies in order to understand, profile, track, and target users online so that their paying advertisers can reach their exact target audience via their digital advertising products and services. This kind of granular targeting often comes at the cost of individual users’ privacy. As consumer attitudes and technologies change, the ethical considerations that surround digital advertising are rapidly evolving. It is highly likely that the line of what is both legal and ethically acceptable will shift many times over the short and long term.
At Haddon Coaching we will always avoid false advertising. Our advertisement will not make untrue claims about our services or clearly misrepresents what is being offered, as this is clearly an unethical marketing tactic.
We are always considering issues related to advertorial advertising. We make sure that the online user can tell what is paid advertising vs what is editorial content. Influencer marketing often relies on the process of well connected social influencers promoting products or services to their audiences, often through content that would be considered advertorial if the influencer is not transparent that the content is a paid promotion.
Pop ups or pop unders are widely considered unethical marketing tactics. They often offer misleading statistics about how many people actually see their content and few users engage with this type of content. We limit the use of pop-ups and modal windows as when overused they can become annoying and degrade the user’s experience of our website.
We follow these principles for modal window use:
- Use them in ways that offer clear value.
- Limit how often they are used.
- Make it easy to close them.
- If a user completes a modal window for an opt in, it will not be shown to that user again.
White Hat search engine optimisation
Search engines use algorithms to determine what content to show at the top. Anywhere where computers are making decisions that will affect business outcomes opens up the opportunity for hacking and manipulation. In the world of SEO and content marketing, any tactics that are considered manipulative or unethical are typically referred to as “black hat” tactics. On the opposite end of this spectrum, you’ll find ethical or “white hat” SEO tactics based on providing valuable and useful content that aligns with what users and search algorithms are looking for.
At Haddon Coaching we practise and encourage the following best practices for White Hat SEO and content marketing:
- Link building: Create valuable content that people will want to link to
- Using PR and aligned partnerships to build links
- Proper use of redirects to help users find the right content
- Put the user first, focus on value, create content that aligns with our mission
Black Hat SEO: tactics that we avoid and discourage:
- Purchasing links – paying for links from other websites. Links should be built organically out of merit and from real relationships and partnerships.
- Automated link building – using software or online bots to build links.
- Hidden content and links – intentionally hiding content or links so that only the search engines can see them.
- Automated, stolen or plagiarised content generation – using content scraping technology, AI content development, or direct content theft to generate high volumes of content to build your site’s size and perceived authority.
- Keywords stuffing, over optimisation – there is a fine line between manually optimising content for SEO best practices (white hat onpage optimisation) and over optimisation which can also be called keyword stuffing. It takes experience and a deep understanding of the latest algorithms to learn where this line is. As the algorithm changes, the line may shift over time.
- Misdirection – Unethical redirects: Cloaking and doorway pages. There are a variety of shady redirection schemes used in black hat SEO. These typically involve redirecting people away from long form content into pages that are more focused on conversions/sales, affiliate marketing, or paid advertising. In these cases the content that appealed to the search engine algorithm which resulted in the high organic ranking is not what the user sees after they click the link.
Updating this policy
We expect ethical marketing practices to continue evolving along with the technologies we use to discover, reach, and engage audiences. The line that separates ethical from unethical marketing practices can shift rapidly and we will continue to monitor the state of the field across different marketing channels and tactics and update our practices accordingly.
Questions and feedback
We always strive to do the right thing for our customers and adhering to these ethical practices is part of that work. If you have questions or feedback to share that will help us do better, we encourage you to contact us at email@example.com