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Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility – How Generated Impressions Influence the Code of Ethics

Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility – How Generated Impressions Influence the Code of Ethics

There is a marketing industry term called ‘Generated Impressions”, this term refers to company’s products and services being constantly visible through media images and slogans. These product’s images literally appear everywhere, millions of times per minute worldwide. When a company like Coca Cola spends a million dollars to purchase a commercial spot during the Super Bowl, it is not so that individual immediately will run to the store and purchase Coke, it is to make sure that Coca Cola stays on Top of Mind of all it’s potential customers.

Everyday the average person is bombarded with millions of product images via television, print media, billboards and every imaginable vehicle for transmitting these images. The images portray everything from consumer products to plastic surgery, from investment schemes to borrowing money.

As if all those images are not enough, then there are all the generated impressions of every imaginable behavior pattern known to man. The American Psychological Association estimates that the typical child watches 27 hours of television a week and witnesses 8,000 TV murders and 100,000 acts of violence by the age of twelve. Is it any wonder that we are overwhelmed with a sea of emotional challenges with our youth.

Guess what, generated impressions really get a result; now you may be starting to realize why companies spend billions of dollars on Generated Impressions. It is a never ending constant reminder of what to eat, wear, drink, drive and what to do for entertainment. And while all this is going on there are also millions of impressions being generated portraying negative behavior that stretches from lack of ethics and integrity to out right criminal behavior. In other words we have developed a culture of situational ethics, morals and integrity as a result of “Generated Impressions”, anything goes as long as we get our desired result.

Now here is the interesting question, when is the last time you have seen any generated impressions that represent values, ethics, morals, honesty and strength of character. It would be like if the front page headline of USA today read, There is Nothing More Important than Your Character, or a NASCAR car having a decal that read ” Integrity is Everything” or Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana) wearing an embroidered shirt on stage that read “Live with Honesty”. Maybe this sounds too altruistic to think these examples would actually cause a shift in awareness, maybe this is so simple that you did not notice exactly why you drink Coke or eat at McDonald’s and drive a Honda.

It gets even more interesting when you start to realize that every time you say in front of your children, tell them I’m not here when the phone rings, that you are actually generating an impression that says to your children, it is OK to lie. Or how about when the boss says, tell him I’m in a meeting to avoid a call, and then finds out that his employees are stealing his funds as a result of his generated impression that reinforces ethics are optional. Or maybe it takes a government official that decides that extra marital affairs are an entitlement of their position and generates an impression that Trust is not important.

Now maybe you are crystal clear that “Generated Impressions” are subtle and extremely powerful, and influence everything from fuel prices, addictive behavior, health, blue & white collar crime, school crime and the divorce rate.

The general appearance is that we have created a society where honesty, ethics, morals, integrity and character are optional.

So, what impressions will you generate today? Do you choose to be part of the problem?, or the solution.