Wal-Mart recently unveiled an ambitious plan to hire 100,000 veterans over the next five years. While I certainly hope this initiative helps spur other retailers do institute similar plans, the announcement made me wonder about the social consciousness of retailers. Are they doing these things out of the goodness of their hearts, or because it is an effective marketing tool? Perhaps it’s a little bit of both. In this edition of Retail Rap, I examine both sides of the social consciousness of retailers and offer insight into how positive initiatives, like Wal-Mart’s recent announcement, can add value and vitality to a brand.
We tend to equate social consciousness in the retail world more with names like Chipotle and Ben and Jerry’s than with a huge, value-oriented retailer like Wal-Mart. The reason has a lot to do with how we, as a society and as consumers, think about and define socially conscious behavior. Wal-Mart is a great example of how a retailer’s approach to social issues can vary dramatically depending on your perspective.
Check out the full article from my recurring column, Retail Rap, at Chain Store Age.