A Matter of Course: Socially Responsible Marketing

By Marisa Pizzulli, '15  |  Cover photo by David Erickson/Flickr Creative Commons

A Matter of Course offers a snapshot of a current University class.

Socially Responsible Marketing, taught by Rebecca Trump, Ph.D., assistant professor of marketing, examines ethical decision-making in marketing, allowing students to develop the reasoning capabilities to effectively consider who and what will be affected by the choices made in marketing campaigns and branding.

What are the objectives of this course?

This course challenges students to consider a variety of stakeholders—the decision-maker, his/her organization, customers, the community, and the world at large—when faced with ethically sensitive decisions in their marketing careers and lives.

What is one of the topics you discuss in class?

We discuss ethics in branding, how building your brand and conveying brand meaning should be done in a way that benefits society, and the importance of always keeping your brand promise.

Is there a service-learning component, extracurricular involvement, or another unusual aspect of the course?

We have formal debates in the course, where small teams of students are assigned to argue one side of a hot topic related to socially responsible marketing and business. For example, one debate is on the role of (food) marketing in the obesity epidemic.

In addition, I ask students as part of the course to take on a positive semester-long behavior change of their choosing, for the benefit of themselves and/or society. This relates to our tradition at Loyola of cura personalis, where I do my part to encourage students to be their best selves. Students are also asked to reflect on this experience to determine ways to use marketing tactics to encourage others to make a similar positive change.

What do you hope your students will take from this course?

I hope students gain actionable tools to help them uphold their own ethical standards when faced with difficult decisions.

What is different about teaching at Loyola and at a Jesuit institution?

The Loyola community is quite receptive to my passion for the importance of socially responsible business practices and ethical marketing strategies. I attribute this to Loyola’s Jesuit values.

What a current student had to say about this course…

“What I enjoy most about Socially Responsible Marketing is learning about the different perspectives that are involved when looking at an issue related to Ethics in a business atmosphere. This class has allowed me to really see how companies today interact with their consumers and whether or not they are doing it an ethical manner. Also, class discussions really allow everyone to share their different points of view, it is interesting to hear how my opinion compares to my classmates. Overall, this course will definitely help me in my future marketing career because I have the knowledge of all the possible theories involved when a marketing decision is made, this allows me to be a lot more well-rounded and open-minded.”


Rebecca Trump, Ph.D., has taught in the Sellinger School of Business and Management since 2010. She received her B.S. in mathematics and economics from Georgia State University and her Ph.D. in marketing, with a minor in psychology, from the University of Arizona. Her research and teaching interests are in consumer psychology, branding, and marketing ethics.

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