I am often asked how I got into this line of work. I suppose the simple answer is that finding the pathway to operating a business responsibly and successfully is a challenge I find worthwhile and rewarding.
Developing and marketing products for children and teenagers requires that companies take on special responsibilities to protect the very consumers that they are trying to reach. Children are growing up with tablets and smart phones, and can operate their devices better than most adults. But they are still children, and their “expertise” with technology doesn’t mean that they are able to process marketing techniques and messages, or surf safely across the Internet.
The audience is vulnerable in a number of ways, with cognitive, emotional, social and other areas of development and maturity that haven’t reached levels where they can truly navigate content and commercial material with eyes wide open. The comprehension, critical thinking skills and skepticism available to adults isn’t yet within reach of the young consumer. Responsible industry participants appreciate this and work within that framework, ensuring that young consumers don’t have reason to call on skills that they simply don’t have.
For these reasons and more, the media and marketing industries are a veritable alphabet soup of regulation and self-regulation. FCC, FTC, DOE, CTA, COPPA, FERPA, PPRA, CARU, CFBAI, MPAA, ESRB, MMA – these are just some of the bodies you need to be familiar with in order to do business in the space. And then there are additional societal concerns, advocacy issues, and each company’s core mission and values which further inform the work and business norms. Compliance is about putting this all together, creating the practices and guiding principles through which companies can be responsible, effective and successful.
When done well, compliance encourages creativity, partnership and cohesiveness around an organization’s mission. It helps drive the business forward to achieve goals while serving the consumer. Helping companies embrace the responsibilities that they have to consumers – playing well – is what I do. And when doing what is right and doing what is effective are aligned, everyone wins.