Posts con el tag ‘ESADE’

Purpose brands: standing for something

In subjects like Business in Society, we think about what the truth is and the interrelationships between – and the future of – concepts such as CSR and social marketing. The eternal debate about the virtue of sales gains from CSR. Until once again managers find an alternative route to avoid arguing about organisations with a soul (it’s marketing that has a soul!). Let’s give the consumer a more credible value: brands have a soul; brands are becoming purpose-oriented.

When many companies have to fight to turn a profit while competing in price, new leaders emerge, such as Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo, the guest speaker at the recent ESADE Alumni Annual Conference. When digital media generate real-time conversations about companies’ activities and new ways for consumers to access information, consumers expect transparency, authenticity and higher standards of ethical conduct.

Philips has its own index to measure the number of lives the company improves each year, calculated using an algorithm that looks at demand for products directly related to health and how many people those products have affected. Today, Philips is a purpose brand: this KPI explains who they are as a company, their courage to stand for something. This is the only benefit they bring to the world, beyond the proposal of Milton Friedman. And like Philips, there are also the companies ranked by Radley Yeldar, for example.

These are brands that, without being perfect, bring out the enthusiasm in consumers and the talent of the millennial generation that they want to attract. Brands that offer to become part of the solution. When we talk about brands in the non-profit sector, we talk about advocacy or relief brands. But profit-oriented companies are starting to talk about creating movement brands.

Do they work? Take a look at the three following purposes. If you can identify the brands that have these purposes, you’ll know it works.

  • To empower creative exploration and self-expression.
  • To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world (everybody is an athlete).
  • To help women reconsider and redefine what beauty is.

Want more? Attend the ESADE Alumni conference on purpose brands in early 2017.

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Little did I know…

The end of the academic year is a good time to look back on the impact we’ve had on our students. How have they experienced the impact of marketing on society? What have they learned? Theories, paradigms,….?

But forget all that! Instead, I’d like to use the STUDENT SERIES format to see what insights the students will share and what our true impact has been. This year, I’ve been truly fascinated by the story of Carmen Friedinger: age 22, coming from the Vienna University of Economics and Business for a semester abroad at ESADE, and seeking a career in marketing. If you can’t enrol in my subject, don’t worry: here’s an exciting trailer, brought to you by another student.

“I could start this blog post by pretending that it was my vast interest in the topic of social marketing that made me choose this class. But I think it will be more interesting to read the truth, so here you go: the main reason I decided to take this class was because of the great reviews some students from my home university in Vienna gave the professor, and the fact that they said how fun and easy it was to come up with a plan for collaboration between an NGO and Spanish companies. Little did I know! Truth be told – it did not actually turn out to be so easy for my group and me. Of course, the professor and the guest speakers were all very helpful and open to answering any of our questions and doubts – of which we had many! However, instead of just “finding a company to collaborate with and making a nice and easy project” we ended up spending hours and hours of discussion and careful consideration together. We found it very hard to come up with a plan for how to tell an NGO that seems so confident in its own appearance that what they need most of all is awareness of the hospital itself before they can properly promote their organisation and raise funds. We used our briefings with the guest speakers and the professor to figure out a way to let the NGO know that their image is not as great as they think it is – but without insulting them, as our goal was to win them over. BUT: instead of getting a clearer view of how to solve this problem, every one of them told us their personal opinion, which differed greatly from each other, making it harder for us to find a way to fulfil all their requirements. This point right here is what made this class a real challenge for us, and I think it is also what helped me most to improve my consulting skills, because in real life you will face similar situations. Moreover, as the class was taught in Spanish and our team was made up of students from all different universities (ESADE, Austin, Indiana, Paris and Vienna) it was very interesting to see how differently we all approached this project. Of course, the language barrier led to a couple funny moments, too. Overall, I think this class taught me a lot about how consulting projects take place in real life and how to overcome the hurdles of being in a very diverse project team.”

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Social marketing craftsmen: 2015 ESADE vintage

This year, I am once again proud to present two projects that our students are developing alongside faculty members according to the problem-based service learning methodology. Year after year, this is one of our best teaching experiences –the sort of project that, in the words of the professors, “gives meaning to our work, experience and dedication”.

-          The ACIDH group is working with an NGO focused on persons with limited intelligence (PLI) with the marketing objective of increasing their online presence.

-          The blood bank group is once again fighting to increase blood donations on our campus, in terms of both total donations and first-time donors. Great claim (“product costs nothing, but worth everything”), great video

Both projects are developed in a way that allows students to reach their own conclusions about whether marketing is a way to address social problems. And they decide what kind of impact they want to have in their professional career (to quote Seth Godin, “the impact comes from the craftsman, not the tool”).

So far, they have convinced various marketing professors to join the cause – which is easier than an ice bucket challenge.

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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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From peer-to-peer to client-to-client

From peer-to-peer to client-to-client

Rachel Botsman (co-author of What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption) predicted the development of a new economic model based on peer-to-peer sharing: “It involves the re-emergence of community. […] This works because people can trust each other.” From here on, all the debates revolve around the ideology, the values, and the social-change aims of the companies, managers, developers and entrepreneurs involved in this shared economy. Four years ago, Time identified collaborative consumption as one of the 10 ideas that will change the world.

Let’s hear from the experts – those as committed as the pigs in the fable “The Chicken and the Pig”. A few days ago, Jeroen Merchiers, a fascinating executive committed to Airbnb, participated in an intimate roundtable discussion at ESADE. Jeroen fielded numerous questions regarding the fascinating value of collaborative consumption: consumption and ownership reduction, sharing instead of buying, the millennial generation’s pursuit of experiences rather than properties, a sustainable model, and so on.

But Jeroen underscored two main issues, the key factors for success in this new economic model:

  • Social media play a key role in decision-making.
  • The supplier-client relationship is evolving and disappearing. The model being developed takes the market orientation to an extreme: all parties are clients, guests and visitors. Jeroen’s company manages relationships between external parties, all of whom are clients. It’s therefore important to create value for everyone involved. The clients who pay are clients. The guests who offer me rooms are clients. With this absolute application of the win-win-win concept, the principle of “winner takes all” is fulfilled for everyone involved.

So we’ve moved from “peer-to-peer” to “everybody is a client”, or, as Kotler said ten years ago, from transactional to collaborative marketing.


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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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Learning marketing through service

“What a fascinating time I’ve just had in the classroom: one of the best professional, educational and personal experiences of my career.” When you hear this from a visiting executive who was formerly VP of Marketing at one of the largest FMCG multinationals in the US, you know something interesting happened in that classroom: the first session of the new Social Marketing subject of the ESADE BBA, which uses the Service Learning methodology.

ESADE has developed a programme that uses the Service Learning methodology in several BBA subjects. In case you are unfamiliar with this methodology, it can be summed up as pure experiential marketing. Service learning is a powerful educational experience where interests mesh with information, values and beliefs are formed, and action results.

The students get a lot out of this experience. Let’s summarise: they explore careers; build their resumes; gain valuable work experience; learn new skills; learn things that will benefit them for the rest of their lives; improve their self-esteem; develop a sense of personal satisfaction, initiative, independent reasoning and independent learning; enhance skills learned from experience (observing, asking questions, applying knowledge); develop social responsibility and concern for the welfare of others; as well as a list of benefits analysed in depth by Genie Black.

What’s more, we will help to increase the blood reserves at Catalonia’s blood bank, assist with the Arrels Foundation’s collection of blankets and winter trousers for the homeless, strengthen the knowledge and prospects of the DID-Áctica project for young people with minor disabilities, and participate in a bone marrow donor registration drive with the Josep Carreras Foundation.

The students will do marketing – lots of very good marketing. Although the main objective for the students is reflective observation – watching, listening, recording, discussing and elaborating on the experience – we will also achieve real marketing results. Marketing that has a direct impact on society.

The donation week will be at ESADE Sant Cugat the week of 21st November. Don’t miss out!

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Communicating to exist, or existing to communicate?

This week I will be giving a talk on marketing and communication in NGOs at the 4th Social Third-Sector Congress. I plan to begin my remarks with an insightful quote from a third-sector executive: “Our institution prefers to act before communicating.”

Over the last 10 years, communication has grown spectacularly in Spanish NGOs in terms of budgets, staffing and departments. This growth has been similar to that seen in the healthcare services marketing sector, described by Eric Berkowitz as “a dramatic increase in marketing budgets, reflecting an acceptance of advertising and not of marketing in the true sense… investing heavily in advertising when marketers knew virtually nothing about the target audience”.

These two very socially oriented sectors face similar difficulties and confusion when it comes to finding a place for communication and marketing. In NGOs, this confusion manifests itself in the use of communication primarily for fund-raising purposes: communication with potential donors is given higher priority than communication with the social base.

Marketing in NGOs should communicate within a reference framework like the one described by Toni Puig at ESADE: organisations that prioritise ideas over management, whose mission is to raise awareness among citizens, and which therefore see communication primarily as an uninterrupted ethical conversation about how we should live and how to achieve it. This communication should be directed at the three audiences that define an NGO: external (society at large), internal (collaborators), and intermediary (highly involved external stakeholders such as members, donors, volunteers and sympathisers). And the services simply come afterwards.

All this is perfectly synthesised in an article by José María Herranz of the Miguel de Cervantes European University (UEMC): as long as companies communicate in order to exist, NGOs should understand that they exist in order to communicate.


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Are you ready to start caring about sharing?

The Social Network has evolved into the Services Network – this was the revolutionary idea, based on the concept of collaborative consumption, presented by Lauren Anderson at ESADE this week.

What is collaborative consumption? All kind of  economic arrangements in which participants share access to products or services, rather than having individual ownership. Think about sharing, swapping or selling second-hand goods, and that often is enabled by technology and peer communities.

Elsewhere it’s described as a paradigm shift (a term used by ESADE); a time to start caring about sharing, according to the Economist; one of the 10 Ideas that Will Change the World, for Time; or in the words of Rachel Bostman, the currency of the new economy.    

At the Observatorio Consumo we spend our time analyzing insights we get from Spanish consumers. And we are seeing two groups of consumers. Firstly a niche  with an advocacy attitude, they even prefer talking about peers, rather than consumers. People disposed to buy to change the world, with a buycott attitude (proactive purchasing decisions to buy products linked to specific values) that research shows never last.

The big segment are those non-activist consumers, looking for convenience, excited by becoming co-creator  of services, and attracted by the concept of a sharing lifestyle. For a start, there’s Generation Y – a generation disenchanted with status conferred by ownership and purchasing power, who simply want access to and the use of products.

So who’s who in the collaborative consumption panorama?

At our event we met some local startups with interesting ideas. There is Social Eaters who are bringing strangers together over a meal – users meet online and eat offline, sharing costs in the process. Another is Trip4real which gives peers the unique chance to share a Barça match with a real supporter, full service, beers and flags included. My personal favourite was Bla Bla Car – a great idea that makes hitch-hiking look Stone Age, and uses pure emotional branding through the main benefit offered by sharing your car.

And then Lauren Anderson brought out the big guns with the idea of Services Network. And talked about TaskRabbit, a company based on the principle that you can outsource your daily chores to your neighbours, who bid for the job against its difficulty, time commitment, effort and distance. May be Lauren is right. We are beginning to see social networks evolve into service networks and the path is there for a real paradigm shift.

How about you? Are you ready to start caring about sharing?

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Are marketers evil or craftsmen?

Teaching marketing under the learning paradigm usually brings us to the same reflection: is marketing ethical?.  We used to work with the George Brenkert phrase: marketing as a technology to be employed to achieve something that is entirely in the hands of the would-be marketer.

But recently undergraduate students posit a more specific question: is marketing inherently evil?.  Is marketing the hidden enemy (as shown in this video about how subliminal advertising tries to make you fat)? Or what about retail marketing as a developer of the Gruen Transfer as explained by Douglas Rushkoof: the moment when consumers enter a shopping mall and lose track of their original intentions, turned into a shopping drone by architecture, music, visuals and layout purposely designed to confuse and disorientate, and to cause individuals to spend more money

 Seth Gadin has his own answer to the question: Are marketers evil?. “Based on a long career in the business, I’d have to answer “some of them” (…) It’s evil to persuade kids to start smoking, to sell a patent medicine when an effective one is available. It’s beautiful to persuade people to get a polio vaccine. Just like every powerful tool, the impact comes from the craftsman, not the tool”.

Our team at ESADE has developed a different answer; one which we have learnt from Professor April Atwood (Albers School of Business & Economics at Seattle University).  We’ve decided to allow students to reach their own conclusion through an experiential learning process.  We will use the model of Problem Based Service Learning, working with an agency and social cause, to allow them to decide for themselves whether marketing is a cause or contributor to social problems, or a way to address them.

They will analyze how marketing influences teenagers to drink tons of fizzy drinks or to smoke at school.  They will also look at howsocial marketing gives value to the opposite point of view.  And with any luck, they will decide what kind of craftsmen they want to be.


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