Archive | December, 2012

Privacy Policies

6 Dec

Online privacy is a hot topic as of late. Privacy policies are continually changing and it can be a very confusing and disconcerting for individuals who want to participate on social media sites and other online forums but fear breaches in their privacy. The two sides of the debate are that we are protected enough by the policies and laws put forth by the government and the other side stating that our privacy is not protected enough and the government needs to step in more to deal with it.

Privacy is Adequately Protected

Bills and laws have been developed and passed specifically to protect privacy. Most recently Bill C51 was put through which controls who has access to information online and ensures that only people with correct authorization are able to use the information. It also acts as a standard for ensuring that information is not being misused outside of the guidelines. Bill C52 states that only under certain circumstances can your data and information be legally obtained. The personal information protection act covers accountability, consent, limits use and then destruction of information after it has been used for the original purpose, accuracy safeguards, identifying purpose of data, and limiting collection. These laws and bill protect our privacy and it is up to individuals to ensure that websites they are using have adequate privacy policies.

Privacy is not Adequately Protected

The Internet has radically changed the world of information. It has become increasingly difficult to protect people, as most information is now found online. Users feel they need more protection and this has lead to companies such as Google to revise their privacy policy. Google changed the way they store information and edited the wording of the policy so that it is easier to understand. Because the Internet is a global community, there are concerns with the fact that there are differing privacy laws depending on the country. Users feel there needs to be more protection across all countries to ensure information is protected on at least some basic level all around the world. The right for users to have ownership of information in emails and online accounts is forefront in the debate.

My Conclusion

I believe that users of the Internet need to be more accountable for protecting their own privacy. Individuals need to self-monitor the information that they put online keeping in mind the ramifications should that information be obtained and used illegally. Hackers are constantly just looking for loopholes and if you are putting the information out there, it is available for them to grab. Obviously government does need to have a firm stance on keeping peoples information private. With the online world changing so rapidly, these laws and regulations need to be constantly updated to ensure they are effective. Privacy policies need to be made more transparent and written in language that is easy to understand. And it is up to individuals to be aware of what their rights are and what information is not protected. In the end, it is best to limit the amount of personal information you post online.

 

Cause Marketing

6 Dec

Cause Marketing refers to a type of marketing involving the cooperative efforts of a “for profit” business and a non-profit organization for mutual benefit. Some argue that cause marketing is a mutually beneficial partnership and others believe it is a predatory scam.

Cause Marketing is Mutually Beneficial

As stated above, cause marketing is when corporations partner with non-profits to support a cause. The corporation creates awareness and raises funds that support that specific cause. Product sales and consumer willingness to pay for products have a positive relationship with cause marketing. 72% of Canadian consumers are more likely to purchase goods from a company supporting a cause or supporting the community.  And along the same line, 74% of Canadians prefer to work for a socially responsible company. So if a company participates in cause marketing, their employees most likely have higher levels of morale and motivation compared to companies who do not. Cause Marketing also lends more credibility to the non-profit and increases the potential for donations and financial support. In the end it works out to being a win-win-win situation. The company makes more profits, non-profit organizations get more exposure, and customers feel good about themselves for supporting a cause.

Cause Marketing is a Sham

When companies are participating in a cause marketing campaign, their main motivation is profit and not helping out. Companies tend to only choose causes that are “in fashion” therefore more marketable and more profitable. Bigger companies are ignoring less attractive charities because they know they cannot profit as much from supporting them. Cause marketing is also leading to some issues being overblown and exaggerated, such as breast cancer, when in fact there are other diseases impacting women more. Companies participating in cause marketing are usually not transparent as to how much of the money being raised is actually being given to the non-profit. For example, McDonalds only donated one cent from each happy meal sale to the Ronald McDonald house. The average consumer would assume that a much higher percentage of the sale would be going towards the cause. This has also lead to people contributing less to other causes now because they think they are participating enough just by purchasing products being offered through cause marketing relationships.

My Conclusion

I think the sentiment behind cause marketing is a noble one but most companies have lost sight of what it should be about, which is truly helping out a cause. Companies should be more transparent with their activities (how they are actually involved in the cause, what portion of profits is actually going towards the cause, etc.) and choose to partner with non-profits that fit with company values and branding. Companies should not just be partnering with the non-profit that will generate the most revenue. I think it is very important that the non-profit gains exposure and increased awareness as a result of the cause marketing campaign. Consumers must be educated about how they are helping and learn from the campaign. It is important for companies to support charities and give back to the community. Cause marketing is a way for all parties to benefit and can be aligned so as to create long lasting and profitable relationships.