Disaster to boost companies image, right or wrong?

I recently came across an interesting article about private businesses philanthropic efforts to the katrina disaster. Over $312 million, and still growing, has been donated to the relief efforts by private corporations. Aside from cash donations, many companies have contributed their expertise to water and sewer treatment, electrical shortages, medical supplies, and temporary housing needs, to name a few. Their charitable contributions are welcomed with open arms, but in many cases their motives are questioned. Similar corporate charity was displayed during 9/11 as well as the tsunami situation, but businesses are becoming more strategic in their relief efforts. They seem to be using this disaster as a way to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Openly donating millions of dollars and countless other contributions is a strategic way of building positive public opion for the company. Positive public opinion will in turn pay grand dividends in the future, possibly, and hopefully to the company, more than the relief investment. Is there anything wrong with this? Is it unethical to use a disaster to bolster company image? Well, ask the naked katrina victim who was clothed by Levi Straus, or the mother who can now clean and diaper her baby thanks to Wal-Mart, or the cancer patient who is recieving treatment from Amgen, or the disaster victim who recieved $1,000 into their savings account from Emigrant Savings Bank, or the hungry family munching on Papa Johns pizza. I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. It is critical aid, is it not? Then who cares what the motives are!


Morgan said...

I agree completely. It's a win-win situation. Victims are able to receive some much needed relief, and companies can gain because many consumers will start to view them as "socially responsible" companies. For those that feel otherwise, I suggest they don't support those businesses. Great post!

Anonymous said...

I also agree. I know that I don't have thousands of dollars to give to the katrina disaster. But I can support the companies that give money, like Papa Johns Pizza. So I think that it is just fine that those companies give money when we need it, and get a "positive public opion" back.

Jasmine said...

I thought your post was very interesting. I think that it's unfortunate that business gets a bad rap no matter what they try to do. I think it is important to remember that behind every business logo and every corporate name there are real human beings that have feelings just like the rest of us. Granted I am sure there are several who never miss a selfish opportunity, but I think for the most part that the charity and help that is given by business is genuine and the benefits they receive because of their help is just a bonus.

Dan said...

I agree with everything that is being said. The people who are receiving this aid I'm sure do too. I would like to see the amount of aid that those who are complaining have gave to this cause. Just a guess, but I'm sure it's not as much as corporate America.

Dr. Tufte said...

-2 on Logan's post for a spelling error, and no link.

I think that this sort of thing probably does help a corporation in the long run.

Having said that, does a manager have a right to make a decision to give away valuable goods and services without the permission of the owners?

I'm a bit shocked that no one picked up on this. Perhaps as business majors you're a little too comfortable with the idea of following a career path that allows you to spend other people's money.