Leadership, Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability, Part 7: Curative Marketing

Curative international marketing restores and develops international economic health and may be the next step up for marketing. “Restore” indicates something lost that once was there. “Developing” refers to new issues to be addressed with new tools and  frames  of  reference. “Health” in turn posi­tions the issue as important to overall welfare. Marketers must deliver joy, pleasure, fulfillment, safety, personal growth,  and  advancement towards a  better society.

Curative international marketing accepts responsibility for problems to which marketing has contributed. It then uses marketing’s capabilities to set things right, to heal past wounds, and to increase the well-being of the individ­ual and society on a global level. Curative marketing’s two perspectives consist of looking back to check on what marketing has wrought and making up for past errors with future action.

Global problems require a global approach. Curative international  market­ ing needs to draw on fields like jurisprudence, cultural anthropology, philoso­phy, and history. Such a perspective acknowledges that marketing is too important to be left to marketers alone, consonant with Keynes’s questioning “how and whether economics should rule the world.”

International marketers need to focus on  past  errors  and  mistakes  inflicted  by international marketing and sweep these out from under the carpet in the spirit of  Wiedergutmachung, or restitution.

Marketing’s disregard of local idiosyncrasies has sometimes been like the introduction  of  a destructive virus on a  culture,  akin to  bringing snakes to Guam which almost exterminated all the local birds and to how European outsiders brought smallpox, flu, and typhus viruses that decimated the Inca of Peru. More contemporaneous is a current lawsuit:

The Pine Ridge Indian tribe is suing five beer companies for their role in the alcohol­ ism and fetal alcohol syndrome that plague the tribe’s reservation. The Oglala Sioux Tribe claims that the beer companies—which include Anheuser Busch and Molson Coors一sold beer on the perimeter of the teetotalling South Dakota reservation with the knowledge that it would be smuggled in demanding $500 million for healthcare and rehabilitation. Whiteclay, a nearby town in Nebraska with four beer shops and only about a dozen residents, gets most of its customers from the reservation.

Tom White, the lawyer representing the tribe, told the Associated Press: “You cannot sell 4.9 million 12oz cans of beer and wash your hands like Pontius Pilate, and say we’ve got nothing to do with it being smuggled.” The reservation, which is about the size of Connecticut, has dealt with poverty and alcoholism for decades. One in four children born suffer from fetal alcohol syndrome, and the life expectancy, between 45 and 52 years, is the lowest in the U.S.

Eastern Europe, in its transition from socialism to  market  practices,  pro­ vides another example. Advertisements were taken literally, leading to grave dis­ appointments by consumers because they did not  win  the  “promised”  car  or  look like model Heidi Klum. Local foods (and their producers) disappeared  because newly entering chain stores already had suppliers. People were condi­tioned to increase their consumption of products, which led, for many, to con­sumption  addiction.

Growth is seen by many as the envisioned key accomplishment of market­ing. Executives planning only to maintain market share last only for a very short time in their job. More is expected. Citius, altius, fortius (“faster, higher, stronger”) may be a great motto for the Olympics, but it leads to unexpected repercussions for marketers and their customers.

Consumers’ interest in and preparation for marketing are not evenly dis­tributed. Negative effects may result from marketing’s misleading of consumers or simply from unawareness or neglect. It is the obligation of international marketers to understand local conditions   and to anticipate and limit possible ill effects. Not everything that can be done should be done. There must be a marketing Hippocratic Oath: “First do no  harm.”  Beyond  that caveat,  market­ers need to do everything  possible  to  make  people  be  better  off  and  actually feel better.

A second key concern is the future outlook: how can marketing set things right again? Four core areas are international marketing’s pillars for a shining position on the hill: truthfulness, simplicity, expanded participation, and per­sonal responsibility.

World Investment Report 2014 UNCTAD

In 2013 global FDI showed 9% growth of inflows. Short-term forecast of $1.6 trillion in 2014 looks reassuring after the2012 slump.

One of the key findings of the World Investment Report is that developing economies show significant increase in both FDI inflows and outflows compared to previous years. Developing Asia is the largest FDI recipient, attracting far more FDI than that of either the EU or North America.

Concerns about the functioning and impact of the IIA regime on sustainable development have led to increasing calls for reform of the system.

This year’s report focuses on sustainable development and offers an action plan on investment. The World Investment Report Action Plan for Private Investment in the SDGs includes a range of policy options and a set of action packages in order to increase private investment in sustainable development.

Global economic, social and environmental challenges push the international community to reform the investment climate and set new goals. A set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was set for the period 2015 and 2030. In order to achieve these goals the Report proposes to form a Strategic Framework for Private Investment. This framework will address key challenges faced by the global economy. The suggested framework will guide and galvanize action for private investment, channel investment to SDG sectors, mobilize investments for developing countries as well as maximize the impact of investment while minimizing risks.