As a graduate PR student, and a sometimes-PR-professional, I find it helps to take an interest in the way brands communicate and are perceived by the public. What I really enjoy, however, is a PR meltdown; watching a brand’s reputation fall apart, usually due to some form of unethical behavior.

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Although it doesn’t always apply to all industries (e.g. oil and tobacco), behaving ethically can bolster a brand image considerably. Failing to do so when it counts, however, can result in many consumers and brand advocates refusing to give an organization the time of day.

CVS Caremark’s decision to phase-out the sale of tobacco products in its stores has been the topic of much conversation in the past week. The brand’s choice to ban the substance, to be completed by October 1st of this year, is part of a larger brand-focusing exercise, aligning CVS with its desired position as a healthcare service provider. So far, the laudable decision has been warmly received by the majority of the audience.