Rumours have never been able to spread quite so quickly or far-reaching as they can in today’s digital age. The world is now more connected than ever thanks to the latest smartphones and tablets, social network sites and the internet in general.
Accordingly, companies with a brand to protect, for the most part, think long and hard about the claims they make, the organisations they align themselves with and the way they promote themselves. If a claim is made, be it related to an entire organisation or a single product, never before can that claim be refuted in so public and devastating a way.
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Complicating the issue is that the decision to not label your company in a particular way can have just as devastating an effect as falsely attributing claims, as Apple recently found out to its detriment when it decided to remove itself from the EPEAT (Electronic Performance Environmental Assessment Tool) register, a stance the usually innovative technology company was quick to recant.
With the world having moved towards a greater acceptance of the importance of environmentally-friendly initiatives and sustainable practices, eco-friendly has become a label many companies are keen to promote themselves with. Though some saw may have initially jumped on the band wagon purely as a PR exercise, time has repeatedly proven that an environmentally-responsible business has benefits that go way beyond enhanced public perception. Reducing waste, recycling materials, self-generating energy and improving business sustainability are just some of the ways costs are being lowered, not to mention the positive impact it has on workforce attitudes.
Ultimately, with the following Apple has and the sheer power of its brand, the company’s recent error in judgement will no doubt be a blip on an otherwise successful year; yet for smaller companies a mistake of this magnitude could have easily turned off long-standing customers and led to ruin.