As the world’s consumers become more environmentally aware, socially responsible and health conscious, corporations are acknowledging that simply building brand awareness is not sufficient if they want to grow globally. Having built brand awareness they must work hard to maintain their brand karma, and in so doing they too must adopt a protective approach to the environment, ensure that their actions are socially responsible and that their products (especially consumables) meet accepted quality control standards – regardless of their target market. All too often we read of large corporations adopting poorer business practices or quality control when they are entering an emerging market. Such markets are often unregulated and without the controls and compliance requirements that developed countries have put in place to protect consumers. These new markets generally do not have environmental guidelines in place, nor do they have any restrictions on advertising material or specifications regarding content disclosure for consumable items. All too often global brands run rough shod over these new markets building plants and machinery that would not meet the safety requirements of western countries, failing to adequately maintain equipment, not taking sufficient care of their workers welfare and health, turning a blind eye to sweatshops, and generally operating in a socially irresponsible manner.
As a world wide and connected group consumers can now influence the behavior of corporations by voicing their concerns on internet forums and making a conscious decision not to buy product that has a history of bad brand karma. Consumers can better inform themselves as to the business practices, product quality and general brand reputation of global companies and use their power to either bolster and support those corporations with good brand karma or criticize and withdraw support from those who have a poor brand reputation. By taking a stand against companies who behave badly, consumers can ensure that the world that our children inherit will not be irreparably damaged by the global misconduct of corporations. Unless consumers are prepared to be proactive on this front then those corporations without a social conscience will continue to sacrifice the environment and people’s welfare in favor of big profits. They will continue to treat the environment and the world’s poorer people with distain if they can get away with it. Consumers must unite so that corporations know that having built success through brand awareness their on-going conduct and brand karma will determine their long term successor failure.