Ethical Marketing Policy
Ethical Marketing Policy
The Definitive Agency Ltd (ta Selesti),
Date implemented: July 23, Last Review: 19 July 2023
The Definitive Agency Ltd (ta Selesti) is a purpose-driven company, focusing on digital marketing and web builds.
Marketing plays a significant role in how we attract and win business, and we acknowledge that there are ethical approaches we can take as a company to ensure that we can live by our ‘triple-bottom-line approach in business.
Treating our customers with respect and focusing on long-term growth – we can build strong relationships with our community through a set of shared values to realise our vision of creating digital prosperity for all.
Marketing in an ethical way focuses not only on how our offering benefits our customers but also how our company is striving to give brands with less of a voice the opportunity to be heard.
Ultimately, the public has the right and power to information on how we do business, and our marketing function has a major responsibility to make this happen the right way at the right time.
The Definitive Agency Ltd (ta Selesti) seeks to uphold the highest ethics when it comes to our marketing, which includes using ‘white hat’ UX, non-manipulative promises, honesty, integrity and being responsible. Below highlights our approach to our ethical marketing, practices and efforts to go beyond compliance to ensure fairness and openness in our ways of working.
This Policy applies to all employees and third parties associated with Selesti, or any of our subsidiaries or their employees, no matter where they are located.
The Policy also applies to Officers, Trustees, Board and/or Committee members at any level.
In the context of this Policy, third-party refers to any individual or organisation that The Definitive Agency Ltd (ta Selesti) meets and works with, including but not limited to suppliers, contractors, distributors, agents and customers.
All marketing communication must comply with independent marketing and advertising standards in our local jurisdiction and digital agency legal within the jurisdictions we market in, as well as being decent, honest and truthful. To ensure this happens, we prepare all marketing communication with a sense of responsibility to consumers and society.
We commit to absolute honesty in our marketing in our own campaigns/for customers and partner-driven projects.
To do this, we pledge to:
Never use dishonest marketing tactics for our own or client marketing campaigns, including:
False advertising: exaggerating values and benefits of our offering
Fake or overly doctored reviews and testimonials
Inflated analytics or results when creating messaging
that are not representative overall marketing impact
Never “cherry pick” specific data points to use in marketing and communications that are not representative of a client’s overall impact.
Not withhold negative information or data from the public solely to protect our image
Only use words that are realistic descriptors of the offering or impact we are promoting
We commit to the utmost integrity for our marketing in our own campaigns/for customers and partner-driven projects.
To do this, we pledge to:
Makes transparent potential risks and negative impacts of our offering, including, when appropriate impact on people and planet
Evidence everything we publicly state to prove any claims that our customers are likely to regard as objective and that are capable of objective substantiation
Maintain best practice with white hat SEO and content marketing, avoiding any ‘black hat’ tactics
Reject Impact Washing in all it’s forms - this is similar to greenwashing and happens when a business exaggerates their positive impact to gain a marketing advantage or uses “feel good” marketing to cover up or distract from negative outcomes that their core business model is having in other areas–socially or environmentally.
Both in the messaging, and in the ways in which we advertise we commit to minimising the impact we have on the environment.
To do this, we pledge to:
Be truthful and honest in our communication when it comes to the impact our offering has on the environment, to avoid any issues related to greenwashing - taking into account governmental guidance including ie. the Green Claims Code publish by DEFRA
Where possible, measure the emissions related to our advertising
Choose communication methods and partners that align with our focus to have a reduced impact on the environment
Not make unqualified claims and any absolute claims must be supported by a high level of academic and scientific evidence.
Base environmental claims on the full life cycle of an advertised product, unless the marketing communication specifically states otherwise, and make clear any limitations.
We commit to socially responsible communication and marketing in our own campaigns/for customers and partner-driven projects.
To do this, we pledge to focus on the following areas:
Inclusivity: We recognise that the "average consumer" may not represent everyone, and we strive to consider diverse perspectives in our advertising decisions.
Vulnerable Groups: We acknowledge and prioritise the needs of vulnerable groups, ensuring that our marketing is understood and positively received by society as a whole.
Human Dignity: We respect the inherent dignity of all stakeholders, valuing their individual differences and avoiding negative stereotypes or dehumanising portrayals.
Customer Satisfaction: We listen to our customers, continuously improving their satisfaction by monitoring their needs and making reasonable efforts to meet them.
Cultural Respect: We treat all stakeholders in our community, including buyers, suppliers, and distributors, with understanding and respect for their unique cultures. To do this we will seek input from relevant stakeholders and communities.
Supporting the Vulnerable: We make additional commitments to support vulnerable market segments, such as children, seniors, and economically disadvantaged individuals.
Offense-Free Communication: Our marketing communications avoid anything likely to cause widespread offence, maintaining sensitivity to diverse backgrounds and perspectives.
Child Protection: We exercise caution when featuring or addressing children, ensuring their well-being by avoiding physical, mental, or moral harm in our marketing communications.
Safety Promotion: We never depict children in hazardous situations or promote dangerous behaviour, instead prioritising their safety and well-being.
Using advertising/marketing as a force for good
We see advertising as an incredibly powerful tool, and have set up programs and partnerships with The Sustainability Creative Charter and Design Declares to ensure we are conscious of who we work with, focus on purpose, reduce energy consumption and lead by example through our marketing.
Because design, whether it’s a product, a piece of packaging, an exhibition space, a display ad on Google - has impact. It’s up to us whether that impact is harmful or healing.
We Commit to White Hat Search Engine Optimisation
Search engines use algorithms to determine what content to show at the top. Anywhere where computers are making decisions that will affect business outcomes opens up the opportunity for hacking and manipulation. In the world of SEO and content marketing, any tactics that are considered manipulative or unethical are typically referred to as “black hat” tactics. On the opposite end of this spectrum, you’ll find ethical or “white hat” SEO tactics based on providing valuable and useful content that aligns with what users and search algorithms are looking for.
We Practice and Encourage the Following Best Practices for White Hat SEO and Content Marketing:
Link building: Create valuable content that people will want to link to
Using PR and aligned partnerships to build links
Proper use of redirects to help users find the right content
Creating helpful, well-branded 404 pages with useful navigation
Put the user first, focus on value, create content that aligns with our mission
Black Hat SEO: Tactics that We Avoid and Discourage
Purchasing links – Paying for links from other websites. Links should be built organically out of merit and from real relationships and partnerships.
Automated link building – Using software or online bots to build links.
Hidden content and links – Intentionally hiding content or links so that only the search engines can see them.
Keywords stuffing, over optimisation – There is a fine line between manually optimising content for SEO best practices (white hat on-page optimisation) and over optimisation which can also be called keyword stuffing. It takes experience and a deep understanding of the latest algorithms to learn where this line is. As the algorithm changes, the line may shift over time.
Misdirection – Unethical redirects: Cloaking and doorway pages. There are a variety of shady redirection schemes used in black hat SEO. These typically involve redirecting people away from long form content into pages that are more focused on conversions/sales, affiliate marketing, or paid advertising. In these cases the content that appealed to the search engine algorithm which resulted in the high organic ranking is not what the user sees after they click the link.
Commit to Ethical Search Engine Optimisation
Many SEO and content marketing tactics are considered to be manipulative and unethical. Make it clear that you will not use those tactics. As a general rule, ethical SEO means providing valuable and useful content that aligns with what users and search algorithms are looking for.
List the ethical practices you follow for SEO and Content Marketing.
Example: “We vow to put the user first, focus on value, create content that aligns with our mission.”
List specific unethical SEO tactics you promise to avoid.
Example: “We do not purchase links. Links should be built organically out of merit and from real relationships and partnerships.”
We Commit to Update these Practices as the Industry Evolves
We expect ethical marketing practices to continue to evolve along with the technologies marketers use to discover, reach, and engage audiences. The line that separates ethical from unethical marketing practices can shift rapidly as major online platforms such as Google, Facebook, and other search and social applications roll out updates and new
The marketing team, led by the CEO are ultimately responsible and accountable for ensuring compliance with this Policy. This compliance extends to any third parties/marketing partners - who will be clearly notified of the existence of this policy
The Definitive Agency Ltd (ta Selesti) will not work with any partner unwilling to comply with this Policy.
It is easy to claim that our efforts are honest, however, it takes discipline, rigour, and sometimes internal conflict to ensure honesty in marketing. To ensure this happens our marketing team is trained up and accountable to our Ethical Marketing Guidelines, with refreshers run annually and when new marketing employees joining to ensure best practice is maintained.
Throughout the guidelines, we ask ourselves the following questions during campaign strategy and execution:
Are we clearly communicating our offering’s value without exaggerating or misleading our key audiences?
Are we using language that honestly communicates the features and benefits of our products and services?
Are we accurately quoting our customers, partners, and team when we share reviews or testimonials?
Is our use of data and examples honest and accurate when promoting our features, benefits, or the impact of our products and services?
Is there internal pressure to communicate dishonest information within the marketing and communications coming from team members or the leadership? If so, we will push back or disengage from the project. A reminder the company’s whistleblower policy is here if you wish to raise concerns anonymously.
The Definitive Agency Ltd (ta Selesti) will disclose in our annual impact report, any marketing campaigns that in retrospect didn’t meet our ethical standards. We do this as we acknowledge that we are improving in this space, but there is still much for us to learn.
With the disclosure, we will also share our learnings and future corrections to not only ensure we are able to fulfil our ethical marketing policy in the future, but also share this with other companies who can utilise these learnings also.
This policy was published by Ollie Blackmore, CEO on 27th July 2023, and will be reviewed periodically on an annual basis.