Suyin Aerts
May 7, 2021

Empathy Washing

The first time I heard someone use the term empathy washing was while reading "Does Your Brand Care, The Care Principles", a book written by Isabel Verstraete. When I hear the media talk about one of the big divorces announced this week between Bill and Melinda Gates it makes me think that we also tend to have an opinion about the way rich people spend there money in a philanthropical way. How media sometimes talk about the fact they would only invest in ‘good causes’ to look ‘nice’ and ‘empathic’. That they only pretend they care about other things than money and that it might be washing their stories green and empathic.

I honestly believe that most entrepreneurs who made it and also gain a lot of money should not be perceived as bad. Why are they bad, because they are successful? Because they believed in their dreams? Because they come at a point they honestly want to share with others by giving them a part of their money(even if they still have loads left afterwards).

I think authentic people and brands will never become more empathetic by wearing masks. We need to be thinking inside out, as brand owners, creators but also as employees working for the company and being the voices, the faces and hearts of the brand. I am honestly convinced that those wearing masks will see that their masks crumble sooner or later.

More than ever the selection of the people working for your company, for your brand should be picked from the inside out principle. We need specialists with certain skills but moreover we need people that fit the companies culture.

Same goes for the people taking care of the marketing of the company and the brand. Especially when the brand is your personal brand. With all the tools and new ways of communication people might have a chance to look different than they really are and a very slick marketing campaign can land you some good press and added visibility and might even bring some new customers. It is very easy to ask specialists to help you with your empathy mask.

I prefer to believe that savvy, smart customers will always recognize this empathy-washing and greenwashing. When a company and a brand is great from the inside out, marketing is so easy and makes it possible to focus on sales rather than putting the spotlight on fake marketing.

I dream of a world where we all walk the talk and I stay convinced this world will once become reality, it is for sure my reality.

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