As consumers, most people only see the exteriors of companies as expressed by their marketing and branding strategy. While it is ads that catch our attention, it is the products or services they illustrate that actually play a role in our lives. Sometimes, a purchase lives up to our expectations fully; on other occasions, it doesn’t. Additionally, consumers may not grasp the details of the manufacturer’s business practice, and become uncomfortable upon learning less-than-desirable information.
In January of 2012, popular radio program This American Life aired a story that explored the factory conditions of popular electronics group Apple. Mike Daisey, a devotee of Apple, visited the Foxconn facility that produces the majority of the wares, and found a story that compelled audiences. He found that many employees took exceedingly long shifts, some more than 24 hours, and that a number of staff members under 15 years old lied about their age to secure the position. Furthermore, explosions at several factories resulted in four fatalities and 77 injuries. In response to the negative media splash, Apple responded quickly, claiming that the group employs a rigorous auditing process that measures against the supplier code of conduct. Still, the episode and ensuing articles left many Apple users uneasy about the origin of their favorite gadgets and possibly hesitant about their loyalty to the super-brand.
Apple’s dilemma, while pressing, faces many successful manufacturers–and their audiences. In a culture where buying and selling play a large role in life, it grows increasingly important to understand who we support. By learning about their values and objectives, we may form decisions confidently. Poised to educate the interested consumer, Studyindustry.com offers information and analysis of companies and entrepreneurs big and small.