Is There An Empathy Delusion in Marketing?

A rising tide of evidence for purpose marketing has been shored up by Covid-19. Companies have grappled with how to engage an audience who are in lockdown. The challenge; limited resources, reduced purchasing abilities and interests more attuned to health and wellbeing rather than shopping. Companies quickly became more empathetic through purpose marketing, sidestepping from profit-first to community-first. Although, as lockdown eases, there have been questions surrounding purpose marketing and how empathy is used in promotions. Are these questions well-founded?

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Is Cognitive Dissonance Good for Business?

Maybe. If you’re prepared to try a purpose-driven strategy.

A fairly pessimistic article titled ‘Are Brands Overvaluaing Authenticity and Social Purpose?‘ suggested, whilst consumers demand more authentic, sustainable and socially positive businesses, in the end, ‘purpose’ will not drive their decision making. Product and price weigh far heavier. But, it doesn’t account for an alternative impact of cognitive dissonance and ignores a critical factor in the marketing funnel, word-of -mouth.

Although, the article does raise a legitimate question and one that should be explored when companies are considering their values and mission. Purpose-driven marketing needs to be authentic and come from the organisation’s core, aligned with the value proposition or the ‘Why’. Starting a purpose-driven marketing strategy to generate business moves your purpose away from cause and closer to making money. People will sniff out inauthenticity instantly, and the organisation will suffer as a result.

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Overtourism; the 10 causes

Overtourism occurs when the negative aspects outweigh the benefits.

Large numbers of tourists can upset the local residents, especially if income created by a tourism boom doesn’t trickle down but instead leaks out of the country. As destination popularity rises so can the cost of accommodation. Furthermore, the noise disrupts normal life, and places of beauty are spoilt by high numbers of visitors.

But, don’t forget, overtourism doesn’t just affect the local population, the tourist also experiences the consequences of long queues, angry locals, strict restrictions and large crowds.

So why has this all occurred in the summer of 2017? Well, the signs have been around for a while and in places as high as Everest and as far East as The Great Wall of China. But, this summer’s conditions created problems to hit a new high for Europe tourism.

Here are the ten conditions which have led to this epidemic.

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8 steps to selling responsible tourism

So the UN has declared 2017 the year of sustainable tourism for development. Tourism is responsible for 10% of the world’s GDP and has huge developmental potential for countries with limited exports but are rich in cultural and environmental experiences. 2015 saw 1.2 billion international travellers, it is time to take this growth seriously, ensuring it has positive rather than negative impacts.

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Sustainability’s Competitive Advantage

Peoples ethical spending has always been of great interest. After meeting a particular customer I wondered if sustainability was finally becoming part of consumerism… Could it be possible that people are beginning to think of ethics first?

The customers very first question was;

‘I am looking for a responsible holiday where I can make a positive impact on Namibia, how does Responsible Travel’s holidays provide this?‘.

Sustainability and social consciousness has suddenly been given a competitive advantage. So perhaps it is time for businesses to move fluffy, tokenism charity work into real business practices?

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How To Make Holiday Companies Desperate for Responsible Tourism

I am still unsure whether holiday companies have grasped the idea that responsible tourism is essential if they are going to keep their heads above the water. Profitability is always the best way to convince holiday companies that responsible tourism is a sensible addition to their products. For example, it provides a competitive advantage and is making its way into holiday itineraries. However, responsible tourism isn’t essential for business but rather an additional cost or a bit of a pain (so much so that many pay other companies to increase their responsible tourism credentials through tokenistic schemes like carbon offsetting) and it is also a lot of extra work for little return. So how do we make responsible travel indispensable?

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