For many Australians, 2020 has been a cruel year. The gruelling fires that dominated the first weeks of the year eventually ended, but very quickly we've found ourselves in the midst of a pandemic, with record numbers unemployed and many facing dreadful financial hardship.
Many businesses are doing it tough, too. Some, unfortunately, are using that as an excuse to put aside their ethics and take advantage of desperate consumers.
But we've also heard of businesses whose simple kindness, care and consideration for the communities they serve has made a real difference.
We're known for calling out businesses who've behaved poorly… but those doing the right thing should also be acknowledged
And while CHOICE might be best known for calling out businesses who've behaved poorly, through our advocacy, investigations and our Shonky Awards in October each year, we recognise that doing the right thing should also be acknowledged.
We want to celebrate those businesses who've done the right thing, because now, more than ever, we need to come together and support each other.
That's why we're introducing the Shiny Awards, to show business that when they demonstrate kindness to their customers and community, it's better for everyone.
A new standard for good corporate behaviour
We've come a long way since Gordon Gekko, the anti-hero of that 1980s movie classic Wall Street, told audiences that "Greed is good". Increasingly, we see businesses both large and small behave in ways that demonstrate they recognise the inherent flaw in that attitude, and understand the value of acting beyond a simple desire for bigger profits.
However, good corporate behaviour needs to go beyond a cynical attempt to influence customer behaviour by simply being seen to do the right thing. The kind of authentic good that really resonates doesn't come from posting about the latest hot cause on your social media accounts or having a few paragraphs about your fine ethics in your promotional materials. As consumers grow more wary of manipulative advertising campaigns and seek to find the true motivations for business behaviour, genuine acts of good grow in value.
The Shinys will celebrate those businesses whose authentic acts of kindness have helped Australian consumers through the current crisis
Eventually this pandemic will end, employment will increase and life will resume a more familiar routine – but consumers will remember. And when they need to make a choice about which businesses they support, they might just decide that the ones who supported them are most deserving of their money. That's important for business to consider, but just as important is the need to celebrate and pay attention to the kindness that draws our community together.
The Shinys will celebrate those businesses whose authentic acts of kindness have helped Australian consumers through the current crisis. It's something we all need more of right now.