Yesterday afternoon, I took this picture of a point of sale display at our local branch of US Bank. They were named the 2017 World’s Most Ethical Company. As I stood there reading it, I wondered why they were so proud of that sign as it was placed in front of each teller’s partition and there was as a 5ft version in the lobby.
I have always thought that to own and run a banking institution ethics is the price of admission. The same price applies to the real estate profession. As far as we are concerned, you are either ethical or your not. Being the “Most” ethical implies that there are degrees of ethics. We have always felt that one is either ethical or one is not. It is like being pregnant, you are either pregnant or you are not. You cannot be half-pregnant, or most pregnant.
The Ethisphere Institute is the Awarding Entity. It is a consulting group. It was founded as an antidote to the banking corruption that was revealed in earlier years. As I researched their website, I discovered that they are a resource for handling ethical issues, compliance, corporate culture, and you pay for membership. It could be loosely compared to real estate governing entities like NAR, for instance.
Does it mean that every other banking institution is not as ethical as US Bank? Should we worry about our banks? From a branding standpoint, this distinction does not differentiate them as a banking institution. There have been ethical breaches in the banking industry as well as in any other industry. This does not mean that all of them are unethical. Again, being ethical is just the price of admission into any profession or industry.
A logo is not just a service mark. It should be a trust mark. People either trust your brand or they do not. There are other ways to stand out, and being ethical, because it should be a given, is not one of them.