The National : JULY AUG SEPT 2018 DRYCLEANER
“Plastic Bag Rage” became an all-day, everyday reality for many front-line retail staff members, who found it difficult to understand and articulate the policy, and its underlying rationale. Surrendering the need for consumers to pay 15 cents for a heavier duty, multi-use plastic bag – by providing them free-of- charge – riled environmentalists, particularly Greenpeace spokespersons. The alternatives had more plastic content, heavier duty form and accordingly, degraded slower than what it had replaced. And what about health and hygiene? Multiple-use of plastic carry bags for conveying food, especially fresh merchandise, is potentially and ultimately unhealthy and un-hygienic. No measures appeared to be in place to protect and enforce the well-being of the unthinking, naive and unknowing consumers. WHAT ADVANTAGE Significantly, extensive and inten- sive attitudinal research quickly established that no one business would be greatly or sustainably advantaged or disadvantaged with plastic bag policies. Consumer emotions would be and were being piqued in-store. However, there was little evidence of mass changes of loyalty and store visits because of unavailability of “one-use plastic bags” or the need to pay 15 cents for each of their replacements. So, who is the winner and why was this issue brought on the agenda? DO THE RIGHT THING Having, exhibiting and being driven by the desire to “do the right thing” are laudable. The sentiments resonate in the corridors of power, read well in corporate literature and look good on plaques on head office walls. Care needs to be given to who decides, determines and implements those values. It is not for businesses to arbitrarily impose their values on the marketplace. That seems inconsistent with the ideals of customer-first. And, when corporate leaders prevaricate on what is the right thing, consumers, customers, clients and the public at large become confused. They look for evidence and verification of leadership. Expressions evolve, many of which reflect poorly on senior management, and the Board of Directors, rather than on the brand, the products and front-line service providers. The plastic bag debacle was responsible for many memorable quotes, including: Management is “a confused circus" Mockery Betrayal Corporate cowardice Slapstick gymnastics Brand authenticity is questioned. It is a difficult, complex, involved and long path to recover from such perceptions, sentiments and expressions. Audie Murphy was a World War II American military hero, reportedly, the most decorated soldier of his time. The title of his auto- biographical movie was “To Hell and Back”. Retrieving the journey to hell in a one-use plastic bag seems to be long and complex. n Ed.: Cartoon not supplied by Author. 10 THE AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL DRYCLEANER & LAUNDERER JULY AUGUST SEPTEMBER 2018 THE AUTHOR Barry Urquhart of Marketing Focus is an interna- tionally respected business strategist, consumer behaviour analyst and conference keynote speaker. Barry Urquhart Marketing Strategist Marketing Focus Our mailing address is: 26 Central Rd, Kalamunda, WA 6076 M: 041 983 5555 T: 08 9257 1777 Urquhart@marketingfocus.net.au www.marketingfocus.net.au Visit: Facebook LinkedIn Copyright © 2017 Marketing Focus, All rights reserved.
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