The horror of Japan's recent earthquake and resulting catastrophic tsunami really reminded all of us how delicate our daily lives can be when Mother Nature chooses to make her presence known to humanity. However, what may even be more tragic is how some companies are using the misfortune of so many as subtle marketing opportunities for themselves.
I am referring to the "humanitarian" pleas some firms are making, usually through social media and seemingly innocent and caring in nature, where they will donate "X" amount of currency based on some arbitrary form of customer responses that are being solicited (for example, "likes" submitted via a temporary Facebook page) per the short-sighted promotions. What I am not understanding is why such charity has to have such idiotic conditions placed on it? Why can't we as business owners sometimes turn the switch off and simply act as caring and empathetic human beings and, going against our capitalistic DNA, not try to spin destructive events in the direction that will best benefit our commercial objectives? Instead of engaging in such misguided hegemony, why not just quietly make a donation to a relevant charity? As a contrarian show of support, why not allow employees to take paid time off to assist in the massive restoration effort?
Though economies are always evolving, we as workers who propagate them must sometimes step back and realize business is made up of merely people who have meaningful lives away from the office. When a lethal disaster strikes with little notice, these lives instantly become chaotic at best. The least we can do as members of a global business ecosystem is to never lose the ability to feel empathetic toward our fellow (wo)man. Therefore, let's all do our best not to take the "glad it's not me" approach by engaging in such pathetic attempts for increased corporate exposure. Regardless of what you might hear on CNBC or via a Mob movie scene, business doesn't always have to be just...business.