Archivo de la categoria ‘Further readings’

From Goodvertising to Meaningful Brands

It’s a fact: people value brands less and less. Ninety-one percent of Spaniards say that they could do without brands altogether. The Meaningful Brands study, conducted since 2008 by the Havas Group, shows that a majority of consumers wouldn’t mind if practically all brands disappeared.

One proposed solution is to create “advertising for people”, as argued by Thomas Kolster, who coined the term goodvertising. This is the concept of sustainable communication, which proposes that advertising should be used to improve the planet and educate society.

Just advertising? Communication as a transformative element, as we saw in the last Super Bowl, where ten spots were clearly oriented toward the social value of brands? Or communication as the tip of the marketing iceberg? Let’s review the question of whether brands need more than advertising. Here are two examples I love (two steps forward):

-          Mattel’s iconic Barbie doll is now available in three more realistic body types – tall, curvy and petite – and seven different skin tones. It’s an attempt to make the doll relevant and beloved again. More dolls, more ways for girls to use their imagination with a Barbie. Doing good and making a positive change in people’s lives.

 

-          Pontevedra has been recognised by numerous international bodies – the Urban Institute of Beijing, the prestigious Centre for Active Design, the UN Habitat programme, etc. – for a mobility design that increases the livability of this small Spanish city. The main marketing contribution is Metrominuto, a pedestrian map that indicates walking distances, which has now been introduced in more than 30 cities around the world.

In the words of Miguel Anxo Fernández Lores, the mayor of Pontevedra: “Sometimes I feel like a preacher.” Or, as implied by the Soul Marketing concept, when managers embrace their role as citizen-consumers, learn to grasp contradictions and understand the need to enhance positive effects on society, they can create projects that end up generating solutions and advertising that is valuable to people.

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Cause Marketing: Love it or Hate it

Causegood.com estimates that cause marketing has grown in the past 15 years from $700 million to $2 billion. Cause marketing is growing rapidly and for a good reason: it simply works. It is a business strategy – not just an evolution of philanthropy – that strongly influences purchasing decisions.

It works by providing a growing funding stream for NGOs, reaching $1.9 billion in funds in 2015 in North America and developing a new donor base of millennials who want to support causes through the brands they patronise.

It works, evolves and innovates, as seen in some 2015-2016 cases:

-       Toms Shoes evolved from the “one-for-one concept” to “One Day Without Shoes”: using the Instagram platform where for every photo of bare feet that was tagged they gave a new pair of shoes to a child in need.

-       Doritos with the “It Gets Better” project: For every $10 donated, donors received a bag of rainbow chips. This is a new development called causejacking: when a brand rides the wave of a cause’s popularity.

-       Partnership between Subway and Coca-Cola: For every bottle of Dasani water sold in 2,200 participating US Subways, Coca-Cola donates 30 cents. A total of $125,000 has been donated to World Vision, the NGO that is the largest non-governmental supplier of clean water around the world.

-       Nivea India’s “Mom’s Touch” partnered with Aseema Charitable Trust, an organisation dedicated to providing quality education to children from marginalised communities.

-       Budweiser’s “Give a Damn”, broadcasted during the 2016 Super Bowl. Helen Mirren addressed drunk driving in a wonderfully witty spot in which the only commercial reference was a bottle and a mention of its cold temperature.

Meanwhile, tons of difficulties have been foretold from the NGO sector. A false solidarity in which the real winner is the for-profit company. An unhealthy lifelong dependence for these campaigns. A consumer who likes to maintain this altruistic vein through consumption practices. Consumers’ scepticism towards these campaigns. And thousands of ethical and mental barriers.

Now that Marmite suffers the consequences of the Brexit, let’s benchmark their claim. Cause marketing: do you love it or hate it?

 

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Big players, big marketing

Is social marketing for real? We often get this question during Q&A after our sessions at ESADE, in both the BBA and Executive Education programmes. Social marketing sounds appealing – especially to managers – but is it for real?

Let’s take a look at some big players recently mentioned by Knowledge@Wharton:

-          Amy Chen wanted to put PepsiCo on the cutting edge of figuring out new business models that generate revenue while also having a social impact. She developed a plan for a social business incubator and was given one hour to pitch it to PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi. Thus was born Food for Good, an initiative whose mission is “to make healthy food physically and financially accessible for low-income families through sustainable, business-driven solutions”. It’s a fascinating social approach. In marketing terms, as Amy noted, “The task of selling oatmeal to someone is a lot harder than getting them to eat a bag of Doritos.”

-          On March 16, Howard Schultz launched Starbucks’s “Race Together” campaign: the company’s baristas were asked to write the words “Race Together” on customers’ cups as a way to stimulate conversations on race issues. The final result: customers were skeptical, thinking there was an ulterior motive. But, as Prof. Kenneth Shropshire said, “Starbucks is the kind of enterprise that can really have an impact in the long run.” Schultz has no intention of giving up, and will keep trying to stimulate conversations and empathy.

-          Under new CEO Steve Easterbrook, McDonald’s recently announced that its US locations would stop selling chicken raised with antibiotics, in an effort to provide safe and healthy food. Difficulties are expected; McDonald’s is still expected to be the fastest and the cheapest. But Steve Easterbrook thinks of himself as an “internal activist”, eager to change the way his company is perceived through a strategic move that has been described as smart marketing that is also beneficial to customers’ health.

As leaders and internal activists, these three CEOs are surfing the markets, thinking ahead to understand what the market wants, and not being cocky by going into a wave that could crush them. Big players, big marketing, real impact.

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Care as the best marketing strategy

We are launching a new section on this blog: the Student Series. After five years of teaching subjects on the social effects of marketing, we thought it was vital to offer different students a space to share their thoughts on the topic.

Sonia Glushkovsky is a student in the International Bachelor of Business Administration (iBBA) programme at the Schulich School of Business in Toronto, Canada, specialising in Marketing and Operations Management. She is currently studying at the ESADE Business School in Barcelona, Spain, as part of an exchange programme.

Gary Vaynerchuk once noted, ‘The best marketing strategy ever? Care.’ The Oxford Dictionary defines the verb ‘to care’ as ‘Feel concern or interest; attach importance to something’. Therefore, businesses need to be interested in ‘something’, but what? Profit?  Themselves? The answer is society, an important stakeholder for any caring business anywhere in the world.

 Of course, that ‘care’ needs to be authentic and genuine, and not simply a hollow message communicated in a marketing campaign. To achieve a win-win situation, efforts must focus on areas that are aligned with the corporate strategy. A company’s internal corporate culture (values) and daily business operations shape its image and can alter profits dramatically. Many companies have corporate social responsibility programmes and focus on ethical issues such as environmental stewardship, providing safe and equal working conditions, and supporting local charities and communities. Even Henry Ford once said, ‘A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.’

 Not only does caring make you feel like a good citizen, it boosts your company’s image, reputation, and brand in the eyes of both your customers and the public at large. Partnering with local charities that support your values is a prime example. The intangible and tangible benefits to be gained from social marketing are unlimited, from empowering your employees in order to increase productivity and loyalty to generating free publicity in the media.

 Many companies use social marketing to differentiate themselves in the market. Coca-Cola, for instance, has partnered with the World Wildlife Fund’s campaign to protect polar bears. For animal lovers and conscientious soft-drink consumers around the world, the polar bear effort is a decisive factor when choosing between Coke and Pepsi. 

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Breast is best: marketing vs. marketing

 

“Marketing is all we see,” grumbled Keith Jarrett a few years ago in a masterly way. But marketing is also a technology employed by those who wish to achieve sales, exchanges or social goods, or all three at once, as defined by George G. Brenkert.

Breastfeeding has enjoyed all of these wishes. There’s no doubt that breast is best: breast milk is the gold standard for infant nutrition. It reduces rates of infectious diseases, sudden infant death syndrome, various chronic and non-infectious illnesses, and post-neonatal infant death. Nursing mothers also obtain considerable postpartum and long-term health benefits. American experts estimate that at least $4 billion could be saved each year in overall healthcare and indirect costs if at least 75% of mothers start breastfeeding and 50% breastfeed for at least 6 months. How could anyone beat such a great set of competitive advantages?

The baby formula industry did, through marketing. The first baby formula television commercial aired in 1989, targeting consumers directly. Brands give hospitals free or discounted products and encourage health workers to recommend their products. Product innovations include anti-gas bottles and nipples of every shape and size – some even with tattoos of Mickey Mouse. Supermarkets use data-mining techniques to send motherhood-related marketing materials to teenagers before their parents even know they are pregnant. Samples, coupons and membership in discount formula clubs are offered to the expectant mother as soon as she walks into a maternity store. The final effect of all this in Spain: 76% of new mothers are breastfeeding when they leave the hospital, but only 44% continue to do so after three months (compared with 90% and 63% in Austria). In marketing terms, that’s a great result. So let’s come back to marketing.

What does the social marketing process look like? Government supports research focused on the health benefits of breastfeeding. An official “baby-friendly” brand is developed to signal that a hospital supports breastfeeding through real policies: babies can remain in the room with their mothers, skin-to-skin contact between newborns and mothers is encouraged, etc. Aggressive advocacy positioning is toned down to avoid turning off some mothers. Claims of “you must and you will” are avoided; instead, mothers are supported with the message of “do as much as you can”. Campaigns target all kinds of stakeholders: family, friends, healthcare providers, etc. Breastfeeding is positioned as being better for all involved, less expensive, but requiring tons of stamina, time and indefatigable conviction.

“Marketing is all we see” – no doubt!

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Amending Drucker

While NGOs are struggling for revenue in Spain – where, before the economic crisis, 82% of their income came from the state – I’ve been re-reading an article by Drucker entitled “What Business Can Learn from Nonprofits”, which in 1989 caused a commotion among readers of the Harvard Business Review.

While I’ve been re-reading Drucker’s assertion that NGOs are leaders in the most crucial area of management — the motivation and productivity of knowledge workers — I’ve also been working on the final post-mortem report on the subjects taught at ESADE with the service learning methodology. And I have found that, in their responses to a satisfaction survey, 80 international students described the experience of applying management in NGOs (Arrels Foundation for homeless care and Josep Carreras Foundation for bone marrow donations) in terms such as the following: “Really one of my best courses throughout my entire higher education; “It’s been a long time since a subject motivated me this much”; “A unique experience for someone who wants to go into business: dealing with clients, the importance of stakeholders, the importance of results, and social impact”.

These are future millennial managers who dream of careers at McKinsey, Procter & Gamble or Apple. But this was a real project, with sales and results, applied to NGOs, where they experienced a true adrenaline rush.

Drucker noted 25 years ago that “when I ask executives why they volunteer, too many say “because there isn’t enough challenge in my job”. Drucker, forgive me: let’s amend this headline. Today, I propose an article entitled “What Business Can Buy from Nonprofits: Passion and Employee Commitment”. Such a model would lead to more income for NGOs, thanks to the solid value proposition; greater societal impact in the terms defined in the NGOs’ mission statements; and companies that gain from being able to providing greater challenges.

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Change thyself

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” This Leo Tolstoy quote was used in a recent McKinsey Quarterly article suggestively titled “Change leader, change thyself”.

Management scholars are forever researching companies that are changing the world or leading change towards a better world. Porter’s shared value strategies, JWT’s circular economy, Kotler’s marketing 3.0, Fordham University’s positive marketing…

On this topic, Prof. Mònica Casabayó and I have shared many experiences, cases and concerns. We have very different viewpoints, as is fitting for a plural school like ESADE. But in our research we have studied whether managers are generating change simply because they wish to change themselves. Business professionals are the same people who buy things, who have a family and a home, and who are concerned about the degeneration of our model and about unsustainability.

All this is covered in the new book Soul Marketing. We have asked various professionals who collaborate with ESADE to tell us about cases of business leaders who are changing the world by first changing themselves. They’re doing this by appealing to their stakeholders and creating value for them. Danone, Ecoembes, Roll’eat and Casa Camper are just some of the cases in which we have seen this sort of change.

Drops fill the ocean. We hope that the book presentation on 4th December, hosted by the ESADE Alumni Marketing Club, will generate minor impacts that help to bring about many individual minor changes.

 

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What are managers busy about?





You hear about companies that are interested in, that develop, and that implement CSR. You also hear about customers who require a more socially responsible attitude from companies — although when it comes to spending money, they remain distrustful of these activities. And you also hear about companies that have adopted market-orientation processes as a competitive strategy but have yet to decide where society fits in as a stakeholder.

ESADE’s programmes allow us to interact with managers who are responsible for prioritising the various aspects mentioned above. Today’s managers have shown a growing interest in combining both orientations. Is this mainly because they strive to gain competitive advantage, or because they prioritise on the basis of their personal values?

At the end of the day, CSR implementation, the market orientation, and the possible interrelationships between the two — societal marketing, social marketing initiatives, shared value strategies — depend on managers and their personal values:

-          CSR has been interpreted as decision-making based on economic reputation management. However, whenever someone goes above and beyond the legal limits on responsibility, we must ask ourselves if that individual’s behaviour is better explained by his or her personal values. This would be a form of CSR in which managers assume responsibility for identifying and adapting to the interests of citizens affected by the company’s actions.

-          The market orientation is developed within the paradigm of stakeholder theory. Once again, individual managers are responsible for deciding which stakeholders are given priority. Various studies, including the McKinsey Global Surveys, have found managers who work in a society-oriented manner because it allows them to maximise potential shareholder value while also addressing personal concerns such as global warming.

To reinterpret Henry David Thoreau, managers not only must maximise their dedication — like worker ants — but they must also ask themselves, “What are we busy about?”

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Invisible maladies: disease, illness and sickness


“Society pays a lot of attention to neurodegenerative disorders, cancer, and other diseases that can easily capture an audience’s interest. Other devastating diseases are victims of invisibility, like tuberculosis, the Cinderella of marketing,” wrote Imma Monsó in La Vanguardia. Or as the great Keith Jarrett once said, “Everything is marketing.”

The stakeholders surrounding a particular disease need to understand that diseases must be marketed in order to secure resources, to get patients to follow treatment, and to raise awareness about prevention.

We recently conducted a study to find out which diseases spark the greatest interest among Spaniards: in first place was cancer, followed by AIDS, leprosy, Alzheimer’s disease and anorexia. Let’s compare these results with the list of the most common diseases: in first place, obesity, followed by anorexia, cancer, asthma and AIDS. The public’s level of scientific literacy is low, but we must remember that understanding follows motivation. Only when people believe they can get something out of knowledge will they make an effort to acquire it.

Gaining knowledge about health essentially depends on the media – that “old goat”, in Norman Mailer’s metaphor, that eats tidbits, gristle and garbage cans but eventually expels stories that seduce readers. The media know how to emphasise the patient’s human side, and in so doing they achieve an applied understanding of the difference between disease (that which doctors detect and treat), illness (the subjective experience of health changes and their consequences), and sickness (the “sick role” played by the afflicted individual).

People’s beliefs are the main factors that determine their health-related behaviour. Healthcare and social-marketing professionals should therefore aim to bring invisible diseases out of the shadows – even if it means mounting endless telethons.

 

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Are you ready to judge your clients?

For his book Social Marketing, Gerard Hastings chose the evocative subtitle “Why should the devil have all the best tunes?” This phrase illustrates the feeling, shared by many marketers, of trying to have a positive impact on society through their work. Why should effective marketing only be applied to sell products that hinder sustainable development, whether by burning fossil fuels, generating childhood obesity or perpetuating social differences in Bangladesh?

The surprising thing is that marketing, and the professionals who work in this field, are able to evolve from the ‘dark side of the Force’. Research shows that working is marketing is almost viewed as something you wouldn’t want the other parents at your children’s school to know about. Let’s look at the data: 65% of citizens have a negative attitude towards marketing; marketing is seen as a villain for its role in stimulating unsustainable levels of demand; marketing makes us buy things we don’t want; marketers cause our society to engage in unsustainable levels of consumption simply because companies give us economic resources to do so, because the competition is doing the same thing… and because we know how to do it. Like Jessica Rabbit said, “I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way.”

Marketers have an intimate justification: we respond to the preferences of consumers, who are free and sovereign individuals. Caveat emptor: the responsibility lies with the buyer.

But the future does exist. As Varey once said, “Marketing surely has a future – what will we have it be?” Working for the forces of good – putting forth our best music – will require, as Kotler suggested, that we break one of our most sacred rules: Don’t judge what the customer wants. Are we really ready to judge our customers, instead offering them proposals that – as we will explain to them – are for the good of the future?

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