Business Ethics and Corporate Branding

9:51:31 AM | 11/4/2022

For any corporate entity, profit is always the first determining factor in business. However, in the context of international competition and integration, in order to achieve sustainable development, companies must pay attention to business ethics and branding because these two factors have a close relationship and add value to each other.

Brand value is promoted by business ethics

According to Dr. Bui Hoai Son, a standing member of the Committee for Culture and Education of the National Assembly, business ethics is necessary for branding because the latter is important and companies thus always seek to build and protect their brands. In fact, they have launched many community and social activities, pledged environmental protection or financially supported humanitarian programs for their branding purposes. For example, Vinamilk raised the Milk Fund "Growing up Vietnam" and Viettel sponsored the "Heart for you" Program as actions toward the community that demonstrates business ethics and builds up their brands. 

Besides quality competitiveness, branding is becoming more important amid deep international integration. Therefore, Vietnamese businesses have invested a lot in branding to gradually catch up with global investment trends in intangible values. In 2016, Brand Finance, a brand rating agency, released a report on Vietnamese corporate brands. Vinamilk was the most valuable brand worth US$1.01 billion, followed by Viettel Telecom with US$973 million. PVN was the third most valuable brand with US$564 million. This assessment made Vietnamese companies more aware of branding development.

For a company, profit is always an important purpose. However, pursuing profit in business does not mean ignoring all standards, values, principles of integrity and life quality of the community. On the contrary, only when a company respects the moral values of the community and follows societal standards, will it be able gradually to establish its name and brand, which are really important factors for effective business. In fact, when it only runs after profit regardless of moral consequences caused to the community, it will confront problems and its brand name will be seriously stained, even coming to resultant bankruptcy. Therefore, corporate branding must be based on business ethics as the foundation of value, an integral part of the business. To achieve sustainable development, business ethics must really be applied in all stakeholder relationships such as businesses, partners, customers and society.

Business ethics must be illustrated in the business philosophy of leaders

In Vietnam, the awareness of adopting business ethics for branding is not really sufficient, resulting in ethical violations at different levels, Mr. Son said. To build up the brand, business ethics should be established in every specific activity and area where companies work, he added.

“Business ethics must be illustrated in the business philosophy of leaders. Each company, with its own characteristics, will have different business philosophies. However, these philosophies also need to be universal as well, meaning that its leader’s determination to respect ethical values is a driving force and belief for all the company to follow and carry out,” he said.

On the other hand, the company needs to develop a unified code of ethics to specify problems faced by it, which clearly states requirements for ethical performance; its commitment and responsibility to employees; ethical values ​​and responsibilities that employees must perform to colleagues, managers, customers, authorities and the community; and ways to solve ethical matters in business.

Also according to Mr. Son, companies need to adopt the code of ethics in business through their training to make their employees know how to properly handle problems and avoid feeling embarrassed about emerging problems. They can set up a separate department or assign personnel in charge of the code of conduct. Whenever there are any problems, they can ask this department how to handle them.

Resolution 35/NQ-CP on business support and development to 2020 emphasizes that “Enterprises must uphold the spirit of national pride, sense of law compliance, and practice integrity in business; build corporate culture, business ethics and corporate social responsibility; and conduct fair competition, cooperation, innovation and competitiveness improvement”. Thus, the Government states that entrepreneurs and enterprises play an important role in national development. The development of each business and the sense of uprising of each entrepreneur will contribute positively to the upward development of Vietnam in the coming years. In the increasingly integrated and competitive world, business ethics becomes a factor that makes a company distinctive and friendly to the community and customers. For that reason, business ethics and corporate branding are closely interrelated and facilitate each other. According to many experts, in their operations, businesses need to have a clear sense of this attachment so that their corporate culture will create a driving force for sustainable development. After all, social development is cultural development. Hence, business development in general and corporate culture in particular are the basic prerequisites to ensure the sustainable development of the country.

Quynh Anh ( Vietnam Business Forum )