Our Coaching is 100% Animal Cruelty Free

Marketing is an interesting business function and its aim is to promote and increase the leads into your business. How far can it go before promotional marketing become deceitful even when being truthful?

I was having lunch at a globally popular fast food chain when I noticed that they had stated that their recycled paper packaging was 100% chlorine free. Call me a cynic but let us start by recognising the legal requirement for this statement to be correct. Thus, I do believe that their paper packaging is 100% chlorine free, however this is not the point.

The assumption being made, by anyone who doesn’t know better, is that chlorine in the paper is a bad thing and that by making a notice about being 100% free of chlorine, the business is telling us about the good things they are doing for its customers. I will restate this….the assumption.

I know nothing about the recycling of paper other than the output is typically having a brownish colour which originally resulted in bleaching of the products to get the preferred white look of paper that people desire. I don’t know if that is still the case but again, I would assume that chlorine was one of the products used to do this.

As an aside, I once heard that a company created natural recycled paper from wood shavings collected from a timber factory.  It came out too white and people weren’t buying it. They ended up putting brown dye into the mix so that people believed it was actually recycled!

Anyway, you might be wondering at this stage what my point is….because obviously my knowledge of paper recycling is incredibly limited and is something I should really Google to find out more.

The point is, that the paper might contain pesticides, carcinogens or some other really nasty thing….but all we know from the marketing is that it is 100% chlorine free. The business is getting positive feelings about its packaging, people thinking how good it is that they are protecting their customers and the environment from all of that dreaded chlorine.

What if chlorine isn’t even part of the normal paper recycling process? If it isn’t, would you feel deceived?

This type of marketing strategy is easy to deploy and can have positive benefits for your organisation. It is legally bound to be truthful, but done wrong it could be seen to be inherently deceitful. As an example, what if we started promoting Yorkshire business coaching as 100% Animal Cruelty Free! This would be truthful and is promoting something positive about the business but actually it is totally unrelated to the process of coaching. For information, we don’t coach animals, just people. The statement that we are 100% Animal Cruelty Free  is therefore misleading to our customers and as a business we have a duty of care to not misrepresent our organisation.

I don’t think the answer is black and white, if a statement relates to a type of process in your organisation then it could validly be used, even if it isn’t actually a part of the process you use. For example, you produce bread and use a special raising agent to make the bread rise. Other businesses use yeast to make their bread rise. Thus even though yeast was never a part of your process it does belong to a related process. Hence indicating that your bread is 100% yeast free is a valid way to market in this fashion.

Care does need to be taken, but add this strategy to your marketing portfolio and see if you can get improved brand awareness and increased revenues from doing so.

Please remember, never be cruel to animals. They will thank you for it.


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Yorkshire Business Coaching is brought to you by ThinkPositive Coaching Ltd and provides business coaching and advice to small businesses
and companies in Hull, Leeds, Bradford, Harrogate, Otley, Huddersfield, Shipley, Wetherby, York and all of the surrounding Yorkshire areas.