You may not have thought too much about what businesses can learn from philosophers. You may be tempted to thing that philosophers raise far more questions than they answer with their seemingly interminable logic chopping. To some extent, the criticism has merit. However, there is a principle of ethics known as the golden rule that I should submit businesses can learn from.
You will have heard of the golden rule. You’ll find it mentioned in many cultures; amongst other places, you’ll find it in Confucius; you’ll find it in Islam; you’ll find it in western philosophy, and you’ll find, perhaps, its most well know version in Christian ethics. The golden rule goes something like this: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Here’s Kaitlin Roig DeBellis on the golden rule:
“We all learned it in Kindergarten: the golden rule. Treat others the way you want to be treated. As five-year-olds we are given many concrete examples of what this means and what this looks like. As adults it seems this rule can often be forgotten.”
So what has this got to do with running a business?
Marketing and the Golden Rule
Let’s take a little trip into the world of marketing. Let’s be brutally honest here: marketing does not always enjoy a good press. Indeed, there was a time – and this was a time not so very long ago – when marketers had a reputation that was only marginally on the positive side of the reputations enjoyed today by dodgy car dealers, PPI recovery cold callers and politicians.