March 4, 2024

Double Check

By Bella Barilati

In our current social climate companies care who is behind the logo. Society wants to know they are investing their money into a company that has beliefs that resonate with their own and are contributing to the world around on us; not just trying to make money off of us. With that comes brand responsibility and holding their employees accountable.  As mentioned in class the other day, someone in the room should always ask “what’s the worst that could happen?” 

A recent scandal involving Snapchat, a platform we have become accustomed to using throughout the day, caused them severe damage due to the fact that no one thought through the consequences. Snapchat created an advert in which users had the option to either “slap” or “punch” Rhianna.  According to The Guardian, Snapchat has lost almost $1bn in value due to this little game, that was not only offensive to Rhianna but victims of sexual assault worldwide. This incident, along with other examples we’ve seen in class just goes to show the importance of having employees that will think beyond the campaign in order to point out mistakes that could critically affect the image of their brand. It is shocking to see examples such as these that have been put out for the world to see.

Its disappointing enough to see companies produce content that is offensive but, being lied to can be just as catastrophic to a brand’s reputation. A case that comes to mind when discussing ethics and accountability that made several people in the US think twice was the Volkswagon emissions scandal. Being a part of an environmentally friendly community as we all are, this case completely switched my opinion on Volkswagon as it did for many others.  According to BBC, the Volkswagon’s CEO openly admitted to his awareness of the scandal- that their cars were being programmed to pass the US emissions testing, allowing their cars to emit toxic gases into our environment. Volkswagon promotes that their brand strives to eliminate their carbon footprint when clearly, they aren’t. It is expected that a CEO is in charge of all aspects of a company and should promote everything the company stands for, and the fact that Volkswagon’s CEO was authorizing this just goes to show where the core of the company is at. Although being a college student, the idea of purchasing a car is not going to be an investment I will be making any time soon; this made me conscious that I need to uphold myself to a certain standard to double check a company and its CEO, before investing.

Holding ourselves responsible for where our money is going is just as important as the company holding itself accountable. Showing companies we won’t purchase their products or services is more effective than leaving a nasty Yelp review. In the past couple of years, I have learned to research companies before making a purchase from them. It is unfortunate that several brands and companies I supported due to their convincing advertisements and social platforms, we’re not actually ethical brands. Companies know how to connect and attract us through their content, but they can only hide so much. Although we’d hope that companies would only put out the truth, that is not always the case. 

Twitter: @bellabarilati

LinkedIn: Isabella Barilati

3 thoughts on “Double Check

  1. I loved this post. I don’t use Snapchat, but I’ve seen the Rihanna issue before and I can’t believe that there wasn’t a single person who thought “hmm…maybe we shouldn’t do this…” But clearly that didn’t happen. I’ve also seen the Volkswagen scandal on the Netflix show “Dirty Money” and how their CEO hasn’t faced the full consequences that he should for doing something so unethical. I’m a business major and I know that there are cutthroat companies out there who think that winning is the most important thing, but we live in the age of information now and we have the opportunity to research before we buy. It’s been a bigger part of my life for the last 2-3 years. I stopped buying makeup and other toiletries that are made by companies that test their products on animals. And I was thrilled when I found out that Cover Girl is now cruelty free. I even shared that announcement on Facebook and let my friends know that I’d start buying their products again because of their choice to go cruelty free. I loved what you said about how we show companies how we feel by not purchasing their products instead of leaving bad reviews. We vote with our dollars and I think that’s the best way to show businesses what we will and won’t stand for.

  2. Bella, I think you brought up an extremely important point that brands need to think about their new post on social media before posting. The game that Snapchat had posted was completely insensitive and it’s really important to think about the consequences that can come with any post. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Bella,

    I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog post about the importance of thinking “What’s the worst that could happen?” when brands are planning new campaigns or projects. It boggles my mind the majority of the time when I head insane PR crisis cases, and can’t help but think, how do these brands not ask the questions? Another major case that comes to mind when reading your blog post where a tone-deaf action had major effects is the H&M “Coolest Monkey In The Jungle” graphic Tee. Like seriously? How can someone be so insensitive to the point of printing and dressing a young African-American boy in such an outfit? I think you make a great point about how brand responsibility comes down to holding employees accountable. I hope that companies continue to do this moving forward for the betterment of their brand and their ethics.

    Thanks for sharing,
    Natalie S.

Comments are closed.