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Since graduating from college, I voraciously read a new marketing book every 10 days and in my library you’ll find several books by the father of modern day marketing Philip Kotler.
What I love about the guy is that even though his book Marketing Management: Analysis, Planning, Implementation and Control, 13th ed., is the most widely used marketing book in graduate business schools worldwide he never rests on his success and still innovates and tinkers with his marketing theories and models of how marketing works.
The central theme of the book is based on the simple values-based (not value) matrix above which demonstrates how marketing today has shifted from Product-Centric (Rational Marketing – 1.0 era – e.g., Volvo = safety), to Customer-Centric (Emotional Marketing – 2.0 era) to today’s Human-Centric (Spiritual Marketing – 3.0 era ).
Marketing 1.0 and 2.0 were about how a brands products and services would serve its customers. Marketing 3.0 is about how a Brand connect with the human spirit of its customers who desire that they assume their fair share of social responsibility for issues that concern everyone (e.g., environment, hunger, poverty, human rights, health and well being etc.).
Brands that behave and conduct themselves properly with regard to the environment, general community at large and create real meaningful demonstrable value that aligns with the social good will be welcome and respected. The media will promote caring companies which will influence buying behaviors.
Kotler posits that most marketers are stuck in the past. His new model for marketing treats customers not just as consumers, but as complex, multi-dimensional human beings – customers with complex human spirits who are active, engaged, anxious, informed, creative and have the ability to easily connect with others.
Marketing 3.0 addresses the complexity of the human spirit and S.C. Johnson is just one of the many brands Kotler cites as those who are creating products, services, and company cultures that lead, inspire, and reflect the values of their customers.
This recently released book is on my shopping list. I sure wish brands like BP will read it and embrace its philosophy – make sure you do!
I’ve been a practicing (and far from perfect) Roman Catholic and Christian all my life, and for over 25 years, I’ve been a practicing (also far from perfect) marketing professional.
For the past few months, I’ve been working on a lot of brand positioning exercises and marketing audits as well as attending a weekly bible study. As I’m preparing to enter Holy Week and Easter – my favorite time of the year – my professional and personal life is colliding in an interesting way.
I’ve been thinking about Jesus’ ministry and his time on earth a lot lately. And, I’ve been thinking about him as a brand too. And, when I think of him as a brand, his radical and remarkable message and unique selling proposition is clearly one of unconditional love, tolerance and forgiveness – but, love is his foundational core message. And, he demonstrated his core message of love by living it out loud through his actions and by making the ultimate sacrifice.
I say radical and remarkable because if you closely study The Sermon on the Mount, you’ll see what I mean. C’mon…turning the other cheek is one heck of a radical concept! Even today!
When I try to stand outside of my faith and look at Christianity as a product, it’s amazing that it has spread throughout the world and has welcomed 2 billion adherents without depending on large scale ad campaigns, social media and the like.
Christianity has spread because one person – Jesus – started it by speaking his message of truth, being authentic, transparent and following a singular focused devout message of pure unconditional love for everyone.
It’s a great lesson for all of us people of the world and marketers too.
Happy Easter to all of you.
P.S.: With all due respect, this post is not meant to be sacrilegious at all, but merely an essay in effective branding/messaging. Also, for those of you interested in religious marketing lessons, I came across this Blog – Church Marketing Sucks – and found it pretty interesting. The site’s goal as stated is to…“frustate, educate and motivate the church to communicate, with uncompromising clarity, the truth of Jesus Christ.” Another interesting post is here, Jesus Is Not a Brand; Why it is dangerous to make evangelism another form of marketing, by Tyler Wigg Stevenson.
Think about this campaign for a moment. It has achieved some amazing accomplishments – in a short period of time – since this devastating earthquake hit Haiti just last week on January 12th:
$24 million has been raised via $10 individual donations to help the Haitian people – 1/5th of the amount the American Red Cross has raised to date – breaking all records by a huge margin. Reference note: After Hurricane Katrina – a mere 4.5 years ago – the ARC only received $120,000 via texting – and Katrina occurred on American soil!
The ARC has built a valuable mobile text database for future marketing communications and financial appeal efforts
The ARC’s core donor base skews older and texting gave the Gen Y folks an easy, quick and convenient channel to offer their support (marketing lesson – treat different people differently)
The campaign execution of the ARC and its mobile firm partner mGive was flawless – amazing too – considering the fact that they started to work on the texting campaign the evening of the earthquake
The viral goodwill spread of the “Text ‘HAITI’ to 90999″ campaign in Social Media channels such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter (100K tweets/retweets)
I’m far from being in the Gen Y segment, but I did text a donation to the ARC and will tell you that it was easy for me to participate. As important, I felt comfortable donating because of the supportive and reinforcing messages I saw on TV news and various high profile broadcasts such as the NFL playoffs and the Golden Globes.
Also, after texting the shortcode “HAITI” to 90999, I was asked me to respond “yes” to confirm my donation and then I received a nice comforting thank you too – nice touch.
This overwhelmingly positive experience led me to spread the ARC’s good word and to feel more comfortable using this channel in the future.
Strong brand promise, ease, convenience, simple message and trust are the hallmarks of success for the ARC’s texting campaign and they could be put to good use for your brand’s future success too.
King’s life’s work was to create a formidable movement of change and progress on the issue of civil rights in America – which he most certainly accomplished. In fact, his legacy has expanded to encompass not only the advancement of civil rights, but human rights throughout the world.
Dr. King and others in the Civil Rights Movement taught me a lot about living my Christian faith and American patriotism out loud, and both taught me lessons about marketing a meaningful cause.
First and foremost, their brand message was true, right and good – they operated from a solid foundation of truth and righteousness.
From having a spot-on brand message – equal rights – the Civil Rights movement created support (buy-in) of their cause with personal, touching, motivating and powerful storytelling imagery such as:
Segregation signs at water fountains, rest rooms, restaurants and hotels
Elderly women in their Sunday best being turned back from voting
Rosa Parks sitting in front of a white man on a bus and then being fingerprinted
White firemen turning high pressure water hoses on the old and young alike
White policemen leading German Shepherd attack dogs through black crowds
Innocent black children being escorted by soldiers on their way to school
Unarmed, peaceful marchers getting viciously beaten by armed police
Disgusting Ku Klux Klan marches, and burning crosses
Rampant black church burnings and bombings
There are certainly more, but I’m sure you get the picture.
All of these powerful images of factual accounts and experiences combined, provided a motivating case for drastic and immediate change.
Certainly, many images were created, but more often than not these images were created and spread virally because they were true, authentic and emotional which makes for a far more reaching impact.
The positioning message was a simple one of good vs. evil.
Dr. King persuaded, motivated and modeled the movement after Gandhi’s peaceful marches and protests with dignity and discipline. These non violent marches were impactful, but as impressive…if not more so…was the way in which he communicated his brand’s message of civil and racial injustice.
Two things I’ve always remembered in marketing are:
People don’t join causes…people join people with causes and
People typically buy first on emotion, then justify with facts
These two marketing maxims certainly apply to the Civil Rights Movement.
Do yourself a HUGE favor and listen carefully to Dr. King’s entire, “I Have a Dream” speech. The “Dream” speech is a masterpiece and it’s amazing how quiet the audience is throughout it too.
Here is a list of 10 Communication Tips from Dr. King that I picked up from his speech (see if you can pick them up and agree with them; and see if you can discover a few more):
The perfect imagery setting of speaking in front of the Lincoln Memorial
The use of simple, small, easy to understand common words
The impact of the repetitive nature of select phrases (e.g., “now is the the time,” “we are not satisfied,” “I have a dream,” “let freedom ring,” “free at last”)
The effect of name personalization (e.g., my friends, you, me, we etc.)
The effect of location personalization (e.g., he lists key towns and cities where many of the members of his audience live)
The clarity of his speech – perfect annunciation and diction
The passionate nature of his voice – how can you motivate people if you’re not
The perfect pacing and changes in speech patterns (e.g., high, low, quick, slow)
The use of short phrases and sentences to drive home memorable key points
The fact that he used notes sparingly because he spoke from personal experience, believed in his message and thus knew it by heart – teleprompter be damned
Much is made about President O’Bama’s communication skills, but he’s far from being the skilled orator of Dr. King. The president has the Internet, a ton of communication consultants and speechwriters and his infamous TELEPROMPTER (which he uses entirely too much as a crutch). Dr. King had none of the tools that the President has at his disposal, but created such an amazing, impressive long lasting presence.
The President and all of us can learn a great deal about tolerance, patriotism and doing the right thing from Dr. King AND we can all learn a great deal about how to be a Marketing Rock Star too!
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