Social Issue Marketing… the need for it is now!

By Leslie R. Wolff

“We did not all come over on the same ship,but we’re all in the same boat.” -Bernard Baruch

The increasing amount of horrific news be it sniper attacks on police in Dallas, killing of a driver by police possibly influenced by the color of his skin, the recruitment of young people by ISIS, mass shootings in schools and movie theatres and far more it is time to say not only is “enough is enough” it is time for corporate marketers not only to use their marketing skills to sell products and services, but also to promote behavior and understand in doing so they can position themselves with a far better and positive image in the minds of their target audience and society in general.

How can they do this? The opportunities are limitless, but let me suggest two possibilities based on personal experiences.

When my daughter was 5 years old I explained to her if her father had gotten in trouble a few blocks from home the neighbors had permission to punish me and long before cell phones, my actions were communicated to my mother who was waiting on the from steps of our home with full details of my transgressions. We lived in an environment where we had 27 sets of parents, where everyone looked out for each other. It was called a “Community” and the principles of establishing such an environment today could be considered a proprietary marketing platform.

 This article is not about business marketing but attitude of Life marketing and it’s based on as well on another incident in my life when I was living in Manhattan. I attended a Unitarian Church service at the Church of All Souls near where I lived and the topic of the sermon was the Golden Rule – “Treat others as you want to be treated”

 This memory came up not only because the ‘World’ environment today could dramatically benefit from that sort of thinking. What surprised me about this sermon is that it highlighted that no matter the society, country or religion there is a version of the Golden Rule (see below). Imagine what the world would be like if we practiced it!

In every major religion in the world there is a version of the Golden Rule

 What is hateful to you; do not to your fellow man.That is the entire Law: all the rest is commentary. – Judaism -Talmud

 Hurt not others in ways you find hurtful. – Buddhism – Udanavarga

 No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself. –  Islam – Sunan

 This is the sum of duty: Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you. –Hinduism -Mahbharata

 Therefore, however you want others to treat you, so treat them, for this is the Law and the Prophets – Christianity – Bible

 Is there one maxim, which ought to be acted upon throughout one’s life? Surely it is the maxim of loving-kindness: do not unto others what you would not have them do unto you. –   Confucianism – Analects


Thus if we have, and I know we do, creative marketers that understand the value of “Social Issue Marketing”. – Change can be created.

Your Mission:

Encourage people to instill in their psyche and daily behavior and that of those they live and work with and meet on a daily basis that we all would benefit if each encouraged each other to live by the principles of the Golden Rule, integrity, civility, compassion and ethical behavior.

Potential themes to adopt:

  • Treat everyone with the same respect you would want for yourself and those you care about.
  • Understand every action creates a reaction; it is your choice whether that will be positive or negative.
  • The environment you live in is directly influenced by the attitude you project.
  • Kindness is not a sign of weakness, but one of strength.
  • Listen twice as much as you talk

We may not be able change the: world but possibly we can change “ours.” A start would be marketing themes encouraging each of us individually to at least make the effort personally. If we can influence change one person at a time it would making this a better, more pleasant world we live in…and place the marketer delivering this message in n extremely positive position in the public’s eye and mind.


My late client the boxer Smokin Joe Frazier stated it best –

“There is no right way to do wrong, nor any wrong way to do right


Leslie R. Wolff is CEO of Philadelphia based Smart Marketing Group and an experienced marketing strategist, creative tactician and executive coach. Les is a stimulating speaker with a highly interactive dialogue format with his audience. For 3 years he hosted the Internet radio show “Smart Marketing for Small Business.” Participate in his LinkedIn group of the same name. Les can be reached at 215-334-3432, 917-670-3450 or e-mail to


His E-Book” Smart Thinking- Vol.-I” is available @


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