Summary of Chapter 3 – Marketing the Mission to the consumer

Consumers become the new owners of a brand
When a new brand enters the market, the consumers automatically decide if the new products/services are sophisticated enough to fulfill their expectations and needs. When the expectations are met, consumers will identify with the brand and they are going to protect “their brand” in order to keep it the way it was. Prior examples of successful brands, such as IKEA demonstrated that their modifications were rejected by their consumers as they were already strongly connected with the original.

Example IKEA: Consumers reacted indignantly because IKEA changed the font of the brand.

Consumers feel cheated when companies don’t understand their mission the same way they do, for instance when the business considerations aren’t in line with the mission of the brand. In his book, Phillip Kotler[1] argues that as soon as a brand achieves international success in Marketing 3.0, the organization of the brand does not really own the brand anymore. The brand belongs to its consumers as it was successfully established in their minds, hearts, and spirits. The mission of the brand becomes consumers’ mission.

Defining a good mission
In Marketing 3.0, the key characteristics for a good brand mission are creating, spreading and realizing. Creating a good mission means to launch a new point of view that can change consumers life – it’s called “Business as unusual”. In order to spread this mission to the public, a story which moves people is needed. This idea should be adapted to the mainstream market to make a compelling effect. In order to realize the mission consumers should be fully committed to participate in the development of new ideas.

Example Apple’s Brand Mission: Transform how people enjoy technology

Business as Unusual
Inventive and groundbreaking business ideas are the decisive requirements that define a good mission which should differ from the competitors and their advertisement. The financial success of a brand comes with the success of a well-planned advertisement campaign.

A good mission contains for example messages about change, transformation, and difference. In general, Marketing 3.0 is all about changing the way consumers live and organize their lives. A brand which delivers a positive transformation to the consumer will be accepted by them and it will be easily integrated as part of their daily routine. This is the intention of human spirit marketing and it is getting more and more broadcasted. Another advice for a successful marketing 3.0 campaign is simplicity. This characteristic enables the adjustment of a brand’s mission to the business scope. That is why companies should constantly rethink how to pursue “their mission”.

Example Apple’s Business as Unusual: Transformed the computing, music, and phone industries by introducing the Mac, iPod, and iPhone with cool counterculture approach; also reinvented animation pictures with Pixar.

A story which moves people – Persuasion
According to Robert McKee[2], a Screenwriting Coach, there are two different possibilities to persuade people. People can be easily convinced by neutral and clear data and figures. This is the intellectual way. Probably, another more effective way is to create conclusive stories. These stories embed the idea of the brand and thus evoke consumers’ emotions.

Example Apple’s Story:
· Needs of Consumer for a smart and easy-to use devices – Combination of iPod, Internet and telephone in on device, which is small, light → iPhone
· Delivers the mission of transformation for the computing, music, and phone industries (over the past 25 years)

According to Douglas B. Holt, L’Oréal chair of Marketing at Oxford University, the story of a brand consists at least of three major elements: character, plot and metaphors. A brand has an outstanding character when it publicly names problems. This might be the only way for people to start changing their lives. The brand thus transforms into a symbol of a movement. Example? As soon as society is affected by this cultural movement, the product/service becomes a cultural brand. A promise to do business as unusual by the brand business will provide cultural satisfaction.

Every story needs a good plot to make its characters relevant and meaningful in the life of consumers. There are three types of good story plots: challenge, connection and creativity

Example Apple’s Plot: Challenge (Apple’s Macintosh as David against IBM as Goliath)

The most convincing stories can be found in normal everyday life, which makes them sound and feel real and authentic. Metaphors help to create stories and they can help companies to understand the context in which consumers live. There are seven types of metaphors that represent 70% of all: balance, transformation, journey, container, connection, resource, and control.

Example Apple’s Metaphor: transformation, resource (à iPhone would enable people to have the power of music, phone, and internet in one device)

Characters are vital to a good story because they represent how the brand might be acknowledged by people. Metaphors influence the human’s mind subconsciously.

Example Apple’s Character: revolutionary, stylish, smart and easy-to-use devices

Consumer Empowerment

People like to empower lesser known figures, as they see them, the inferior one as a symbol for themselves. It is therefore indispensable to transmit such a sense of empowerment to the consumer in order to push the brand’s mission. Or, as Kotler puts it shortly: “The value of consumers’ collective power is rooted in the value of a network. “

Yet, in order to empower the consumer and to make the network powerful, one should provide a platform (such as an online discussion forum) in order to provide the possibility for an exchange of opinions for consumers. There is no need for any story line of a brand if consumers cannot discuss it. In the case of Marketing 3.0, conversation is the new advertising – consumers should be able to check, evaluate and recommend a brand and its story. If the story around a brand is successful, it might even be possible for the story to survive a brand’s downfall.

Example Consumer Empowerment
Apple: enable people to have the power to combine phone, music, and internet in one device
Amazon und ebay: reviews of consumers and vendors, ratings of products and content

Short Summary:
· The mission comes first and financial returns come as a result only afterwards
· Provide “a mission” of transformation
· Create fascinating stories around your brand by building convincing character and plot based on metaphors
· Involve and empower consumers to make a difference and make the story authentic by using:

→ Business as unusual
→ A story that moves people
→ Consumer empowerment

Empowering the consumers

Operational and strategic management methods for marketing and communication of Human Spirit Marketing (=Marketing 3.0)

The concept of Human Spirit Marketing consists in a mission that provides characteristics of transformation, change and difference into everyday life and it affects the behavior of the consumer. The prime interest is the business mission, the financial results come second.

For a successful Human Spirit Marketing campaign, one needs a good mission – financial goal should not be the prime interest. The first step in order to translate the concept into action is to create a mission that describes the offer of the company to the consumer. The mission should offer transformation, change and difference for the daily live and behavior of the consumer. An effective way to spread the mission among the consumers is to invent a convincing storyline of the product/brand that moves them. This story ideally consists of a set of characters, a remarkable plot and strong metaphors.

The character of the story needs a good plot in order to be relevant and memorable for the consumer. Three good types of plots involve attributes of challenge, connection and creativity. A good example for challenge is the story of “The Body Shop” as it tells the stories of farmers in developing countries who fight for fair trade conditions. The connection plot is used by social media brands like Facebook to spread their stories quickly online. The McGyver series shows how the creativity plot successfully incorporated as McGyver always finds a way out of dangerous situations by overcoming all obstacles with his brilliance.

A metaphor serves as a loop inside the story. There are seven basic metaphors that represent 70% of all possible metaphors: balance, transformation, journey, container, connection, resource, and control. The use of metaphors helps to understand how to construct a story and how consumers are likely to respond to it. Realizing the mission in Human Spirit Marketing requires consumer participation.

Each company needs to find a way to involve their consumers. The authenticity of the story can be underlined by providing the possibility of conversations and opinion exchange. To offer a platform for consumers for conversation is a way of consumer empowerment. Many-to-many conversation makes a consumer network very powerful. By means of these conversations, consumers review and rate the brand and thereby influence the network to accept the story.

The company should take criticism seriously and react. If companies try to cheat on their consumers, for example by generating good reviews by their own employees, they will be accused of phoniness. The chosen business model needs to harmonize with the mission and the brand in order to enable a natural conformity of the brand from the perspective of the consumers as well as from the perspective of the company. If consumers see themselves as part of the brand and if they feel responsible, the brand will be successful.

Factors for success to evaluate Human Spirit Marketing

Regarding the perspective of the consumers, one crucial criteria is market and consumer observation. Internal and external studies about market and consumer provide insights about popularity, acceptance and the competition. The degree of popularity, name recognition and acceptance needs to be checked by surveys, market studies, online research, newspaper and magazines. Reputation and Feedback can be delivered by means of online bulletin boards. The company should offer opportunities to give direct feedback by providing platforms to send letters and e-Mails, to call hotlines or to write a feedback onto the company’s bulletin boards. In case of the creation of bulletin boards „loopholes“ or mistakes in poor stories will be found by the consumer sooner or later. This will be an indicator to recheck the strategy.

From the financial point of view, a business target plan is crucial. The company needs to plan their financial and strategic position in short- middle- and long terms in order to see if the different objectives have been achieved. Key data provided by the controlling department enables an overview about past, present and possible future situations. In order to review financial aspects and the success of the brand or product, the company needs to assure the provision of information of the consumer. An important success factor is to check the key data and the insights of consumers in combination with one another. Sometimes numbers cannot reflect the situations correctly.

Another possibility is a measurement tool by Frederick Reichheld. It is called “Net Promoter Score” and measures the loyalty based on the willingness of the consumer to recommend the brand to his or her network. If consumers start to give recommendations about the brand, it’s a good sign, as they risk their own reputation for the brand or product.

To establish a successful Human Spirit Marketing concept it isn’t sufficient just to act upon the instructions of the chapter. The entire marketing concept needs to be harmonized. It is not very helpful just to work on one part of the concept and only realize one chapter of the Kotler’s Marketing 3.0 conception. Human Spirit Marketing can be only used as complete unity. It should be either be realized completely or not at all.

There is a danger existing of a storytelling overflow. If it becomes a common method for spreading ones mission, everybody will used it as much as they can. It won’t matter if storytelling is useful in the individual situation. The relevance and effectiveness will get lost, as it will be used up.

Kotler’s description sound very simple, but the realization is more complex as we can see at first sight. As the particular marketing areas needs to be in line with the whole human Spirit Marketing concept. And it makes sense to apply the marketing 3.0 concept to all business units.

Kotler describes in his book concrete proceedings for Human Spirit Marketing, but he is not responding to the question of customization. The chapter doesn’t reveal the necessity to follow the procedure described in the book in order to do Human Business Marketing. Many company are similar with their products and concepts but no one is the same. Kotler did not mention anything about the company size, costs of realization or minimum standards. For many small companies it is important to check this before the planning phase starts. Those company need to focus on the region not on the entire country or entire world, like Coca Cola.

References to current issues

In the latest news Apple attract negative attention when the information of their GPS Data collection was spread all over the world. In the past many used to hazard the consequences but now more and more people become consciously and want to know the consequences of their actions.

In order to minimize such scandals companies need to check their mission and their product before they are spead. So an involvement of a representative consumer can be helpful for pretests. If companies invest more efforts before any releases, their net promoter score will be raised.

The idea of storytelling is a good approach to introduce a new product or service. Nevertheless there could occur the risk of an overflow of storis. If there are too much stories aroud, people could feel irritated. Germany is a country that reacts sensitive on privacy topics.

Another good requirement and be fulfilled by an open information management. If you explain your mission and your products, people are more motivated to accept related processes. One negative example could be the German census of population. Many complained about the loss of privacy and it could have be reduced by giving more information about the future courses of action.

So one idea for future projects is voluntariness. People are more open if they have to chance to decide on their own. It is also a question of trust given to the population. Companies with a higher transparence could have a higher chance to develop successfully and in situation of scandals better prepared.

Sources: Kotler, Philip et al. (2010): Marketing 3.0: from products to customers to the human spirit.
[1] Phillip Kotler: Marketing 3.0 Chapter 3 – Marketing the Mission to the consumer, Page 53
[2] Storytelling that moves People: A Conversation with Screenwriting Coach Robert McKee,“ Harvard Business Review, June 2003

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