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Apple Inc.

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Apple’s Corporate Responsibility and Marketing Strategies
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Table of Contents Abstract 2 Apple Products 2 Apple’s current position on the company’s ethical and social responsibilities 3 Impact of publication of ethics and social responsibilities violations made by Apple’s suppliers on Apple’s reputation 5 Methods that Apple can utilize to ensure that its suppliers adhere to wage and benefits standards going forward 6 Apple’s customers willingness to pay more for its products if Apple were to increase the selling prices in order to provide better wages and benefits for suppliers’ workers 7 Analysis of Apple’s current overall marketing strategy and actions that Apple can take in order to improve its competitive advantage in the global marketplace 8 Conclusion 9 References: 10

Apple’s Corporate Responsibility and Marketing Strategies
Abstract
In the business world, the ultimate mission is not only to make good returns alone. A company that directs all its efforts in profit making alone is destined to untimely failure. This is because it will find itself on the wrong side with the government, stakeholders and the public as a whole. For this reason, any company that aspires to exist beyond its current boundaries must focus on its ethical and social responsibilities to company’s employees, consumers, shareholders and the public fraternity. Such corporate social practices brand a company positively as a good job provider, investor and provider of products and services. Apple Inc. has for the last few years appeared in the spotlight as one of the multimillion corporations that has had compliance as well as violation of ethical and social responsibility. As a giant corporation in technological production field and in the production of technology related goods and services, Apple Company has not been able to evade shortfalls in its ethical and social responsibility standards.
Apple Products
As mentioned earlier, Apple Inc. is a multinational corporation specializing in innovative technology. It specializes in the production of mobile phones and related devices. Among the most prominent products produced by Apple in the world today include: iPods, iPhones, Macs, iPads, iTunes just to mention a few. Apple’s products distinguishes themselves from other related products in the type of technology used making its products unique.
Apple’s current position on the company’s ethical and social responsibilities
Social responsibility refers to proper management of philosophy which includes among other things, donating capital to the public, conserving the natural environment and partaking nonprofit activities that are designed to encourage the welfare of the communities in question. For years Apple has provided support to several global education programs through the provision of up to date technology to educators and scholars. For instance, Apple has worked with Red Cross in times of disasters by providing iTunes technology in streamlining and enabling simpler donation processes. Apple is known for its environmental consciousness unlike related companies. The company’s facilities are ecofriendly and uses renewable energy resources. Apple Inc. maintains its level of carbon emission at the recommended levels as per the provision of EPA. Currently, Apple envisions adhering to its ethical and social responsibility principles through use of less toxic raw materials during the production process. For example, the company plans use more environmentally friendly materials such as recycled papers and materials. In addition, the company encourages recycling of old Apple products among its customers by giving them incentives for every old model returned.
The facilities of Apple Inc. in the US are ethically and socially friendly offering a good business environment towards environmental conservation (Pride & Ferrell, 2010). On the contrary, Apple’s deficiency of communication with global suppliers has given rise to demeanor standards that has continued to negatively impact on the environment and its employees in the course of carrying out their daily production duties. For example, there have been reported cases where workers are not compensated even after being mandated to work for long hours or under poor working conditions. Apple’s refusals to compensate such workers have created big problems in some of its suppliers. For instance, Foxconn has had outrageous cases where employees have either attempted or even committed suicide by jumping over buildings of the facility. As the number of suicide and suicide attempts escalated, Foxcoon was forced to fit safety nets round its facility to combat cases where employees jump over the facility. Other cases that have painted Apple Inc. negatively are the Chinese workshops manufacturing Apple products have for several instances reported having contaminated water sources near the factories. There are also cases where the same companies have been accused of emitting harmful toxics into the atmosphere posing danger to the factory employees and the local community. As earlier mentioned, Apple company has in the past come under bitter criticism due to the unethical manner in which it treats its workers particularly in the overseas suppliers especially China. Although the company believes in a safe working environment for all workers in factories and supplier in the oversea regions, such practices have never been implemented by some suppliers and factories.
A report released in 2012 about Chinese factories revealed that factories and suppliers in china relied mainly on child labor that were often forced to work for long hours while being paid less. In addition, their working conditions were poor. The persistent poor working conditions sparked protest at the Foxconn Factory in china in what has been name the Mass suicide Protest in 2012. Again in 2013, there were reports about deaths of workers in the same factories which were linked to poor working conditions.
The poor working conditions of workers in Apple factories and its overseas suppliers contradict the basic ethical and social responsibility guidelines. Following the 2012 Chinese reports, Apple announced that it was going to investigate via outside agency cases of forced overtime and child labor and other poor working conditions (Pride & Ferrell, 2013). Although their efforts towards mitigating the vices might seem genuine, it defeats logic to imagine that such cases of grave concern have been happening under their own auditors. This is even worsened by their confession that there must have been some laxity in their audit procedures. This confession makes one believe that these unethical practices happened under their watch.
Impact of publication of ethics and social responsibilities violations made by Apple’s suppliers on Apple’s reputation
Being a leading company in innovative technology, Apple exposes itself in an awkward position to scrutiny by the media sector and the public. Even though the company has always held its affairs with utmost secrecy while discussing minimal information on their site, the company has in the past hit international headlines for all the bad reasons. For instance, in 2011 Foxconn supplier experienced a big explosion on the site owing to the presence of combustible dust leading to deaths of its employees. Such publications have negatively affected the company on its commitment to ethical and social responsibility. However, the concerns did not have a major impact on their volume of sales. According to their report, the volume of sales increased significantly in overseas with international sales accounting for 63% of the quarter’s revenue annually.
Apple’s ethical and social accountability desecrations have had a major impact on the company’s way of transacting business and in the manner in which people perceive the company’s commitment towards corporate social responsibility. In the past decade, Apple Inc. had been perceived as a company to model in matters of innovation including environmental, ethical and social responsibility to its workforce. This is attributed to Apple’s strategic approaches to advertising including the use of Gandhi’s image in the Think Difference Campaign that was carried out in 1997 (Pride & Ferrell, 2013). It is important to note that when it comes to the public’s popular view, Apple Inc. is a global leader. However, in business ethics it lags behind other companies such as Dell, HP and IBM. Owing to persistent tainted image of Apple Inc. through mass protests and demonstrations in Chinese factories the company has no other option but to step up audit exercise making it public. This has led to increased spending. To bring back the tainted image, Apple has had to upsurge its public relations drives while intensifying audits and public disclosure. This means that the company incurs double spending in audits thus increasing operating expenses.
Methods that Apple can utilize to ensure that its suppliers adhere to wage and benefits standards going forward
There are numerous strategies Apple Inc. could implement as a way of compelling suppliers to adhere to the wage and benefits provisions. First, Apple needs to hire an autonomous audit company. An autonomous company shall be in a position to deliver accurate and unbiased audit report about Apple factories and suppliers. It will also ensure that the auditors hide crucial information on the inference of saving the company from legal penalties. One disadvantage of an independent auditing company is that it would be expensive to fund but then such an autonomous company shall give up to date and reliable information whose results can be acted upon by Apple Inc. (Moritz, 1984).
Secondly, Apple Company owes to take regular surveys on employees in all the suppliers factories as a way of combating child labor. This would also expose the ongoing suffering of employees due to forced overtime and poor working conditions. The survey should be conducted by the non-management employees of Apple Inc. allowing employees to give truthful information and without fear of victimization. Further information can be obtained by allowing workers to fill anonymous survey forms that shall be handed with utmost confidentiality. Thirdly, Apple should consider balancing working hours for its workforce while opening up employment prospects for others. In addition, Apple should improve its communication mechanism and adhering to business etiquettes. They should ensure that all factories communicate using the globally accepted etiquette. Upon full implementation of these suggestions at Apple Inc. the working conditions, wages, benefits and working hours shall improve.
Apple’s customers willingness to pay more for its products if Apple were to increase the selling prices in order to provide better wages and benefits for suppliers’ workers
The greatest aspect of ethical and social responsibility lies on better treatment and compensation of employees. Apple products are already expensive in today’s market as compared with similar products produced by other companies. Bearing this fact in mind, Apple customers are least probable to pay more for its products. Increasing the cost of their products will bypass the ability of an average consumer and will most likely cause a decrease in the volume of sales. For a long time, Apple Inc. has adopted outsourcing as a business strategy that will help realize huge profit margins (Lüsted, 2012). Therefore, Apple Company should channel part of their huge profit margins towards the improvement of the workers welfare. It is worth noting that the efforts geared towards improving the working and living conditions of its workers. The expenses to be incurred as usual have to be shielded by the consumer. In this case, the cost of improvement must be shielded by the company since already the prices of Apple products are so high in America and other continents. It is important to note that the cost of buying an Apple product does not stop after purchasing the product. Unlike other companies, Apple Inc. has a way of charging for phone calls. It is for this reason that the consumers are unlikely to tolerate any further increase in prices of its products.
Analysis of Apple’s current overall marketing strategy and actions that Apple can take in order to improve its competitive advantage in the global marketplace
Apple’s cooperation with educational and nonprofit organizations has helped brand itself a leader in its commitment to corporate social responsibility. It strives toward upholding virtues of corporate social responsibility through numerous environmentally and eco-friendly practices in the US. It focuses on helping the local community in times of natural catastrophes. Their innovative speed and preciseness in modern technology has helped to build a strong trust among its customers. The precise timing by Apple before releasing a new product in the market has left customers trending for the next product. The company has always enticed its consumers with eye catching innovations in newest technologies. In a bid to raise its competitive advantage, Apple owes to lower the price tags of older generation products. In addition, Apple needs to lower the cost of purchasing its products particularly outside United States as a way of making the products affordable for all.
Apple’s present success can be attributed to its exceptional marketing strategy. For instance, when Steve Jobs was expelled from Apple, the company recorded a big loss of $1billion. Upon his return in 1996, Jobs implemented a unique marketing strategy he had used since the inception of the company. The strategy focused at compassion tapping on the customer’s innermost wants and needs. With this in mind, Apple produced iPods, iPads, iPhones and iTunes successfully connecting with the customers’ emotions (Linzmayer, 2004). While still maintaining their marketing strategies Apple needs to put more emphasis on value for money. Further, they should expand the value of products to the value of the entire company. This will brand it as a good corporate citizen.
Conclusion
Apple Inc. has come under sharp criticism due to poor working conditions and for lack of ethical and social responsibility. This is especially linked to Apple suppliers in China in which investigations indicate that workers in these outlets are exposed to long working hours, low wages and poor working conditions. This comes amid rising pressure from the media, human rights activists and consumers to improve the poor working conditions and pay. In response, Apple has tried to increase and further improve audits. It has further increased disclosure of information outlining ethical and social responsibility standards (O'Grady, 2009).

References:
Linzmayer, O. W. (2004). Apple confidential 2.0: The definitive history of the world's most colorful company. San Francisco, Calif: No Starch Press.
Lüsted, M. A. (2012). Apple: The company and its visionary founder, Steve Jobs. Minneapolis, MN: ABDO Pub.
Moritz, M. (1984). The little kingdom: The private story of Apple computer. New York: W. Morrow.
O'Grady, J. D. (2009). Apple Inc. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press.
Pride, W. M., & Ferrell, O. C. (2013). Foundations of marketing. Australia: South-Western, Cengage Learning.
Pride, W. M., & Ferrell, O. C. (2010). Marketing. Australia: South Western Cengage Learning.

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