The big firms are slowly waking up. At Media Week's Media 360 Conference, Simon Clift, the global CMO of Unilever responsible for selling €40bn worth of "soap, soup and tea", said the world had changed more than marketers have accepted or absorbed, and heralded "a new era of remarkable opportunity" - see here
While that may not be earth shattering, what I did find exciting to learn is the fact that Mr. Clift went on to say that "brands should be an agent of change" - a sentiment my colleague Leon Benjamin and I have, in our own more modest way, been pushing for nearly a decade as you can see here on an old, homemade site called Business For Good.
If Simon Clift or someone at Unilever is reading this (he, he), I would strongly recommend Terry Barber's excellent post on what business leaders can learn from non profit organizations. He gives four suggestions:
1. Inspire customers by helping them believe in something they once thought was impossible. (It worked for Barack Obama)
2. Show genuine appreciation for their business (how many companies have you ever received a thankyou card or email from?)
3. Help him see that he is a part of a bigger community of world changers. One of the most powerful fund-raising terms is the word join. “Join the fight.” “Jointhe cause. “ “Join me”—all indicating that you can be a part of something much bigger than yourself.
4. Communicate how you are making the world a better place - see excerpt below...
I recently met with a CEO of a Fortune 500 Company and saw this principle illustrated in the most dramatic fashion. Throughout the building there were maps with pushpins marking various towns, cities, and villages around the world where this company and its employees were providing clean drinking water for indigent people groups. There was an underlying message there that said, What we are doing as a company is helping to make the world a better place. No matter what kind of business you are in, learn from the nonprofit sector that you can inspire your customers by illustrating how you are making the world a better place.
Do you aspire to inspire your customers? Give them something to believe in that they once thought was impossible. Demonstrate genuine appreciation for their business. Help your customers connect with other customers to illustrate that they are part of a bigger community, and communicate how you as a business are making the world a better place.
Lead and they may follow. Teach and they may learn. Inspire . . . and they will never be the same.
Alot of my work is for destinations - very rarely do Destination Marketing Organizations lead their communities and invest in making the destination a better place. As marketers they feel they can and should leave this to others. New Zealand is different - if you read their tourism development strategy. they believe that tourism should take the lead in ensuring the country lives up tothe highest standards of sustainabiility. They have to, after all, they're 100% Pure.