by Vera Eisenbraun, Miryam Reck and Lisa Cibities

Many consumers have lost trust in major corporations and in their executives. Reasons for that loss are often corporate scandals, caused by violation of the corporate values.

The main question is: How can the consumers’ confidence be regained?

Figure 1: Authors' design; based on Kotler, Philip; Kartajaya, Hermawan; Setiawan, Iwan (2010): Marketing 3.0: From Products to Costumers to the Human Spirit. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, p. 70-71

Figure 1: Authors' design; based on Kotler, Philip; Kartajaya, Hermawan; Setiawan, Iwan (2010): Marketing 3.0: From Products to Costumers to the Human Spirit. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, p. 70-71.

Crucial to win the trust of consumers is a corporate culture. In particular corporate values are very important for the corporate culture. The management has to adapt these corporate values so that employees take on these values and pass them on to the consumers in the daily business.

Often employees don’t know the corporate values or they believe it’s only a public-relation-instrument. If the corporate values are known by the employees, all levels of management have to act in accordance with these values. If not, corporate values become meaningless for the employees.

In both cases the companies don’t practice Marketing 3.0. In Marketing 3.0, companies should convince their customers and their employees to take their values seriously, because authentic values are an easy way to integrate all employees. (Kotler 2010, p. 69-71)

There are four different types of corporate values:

  • Permission-to-play values are the basic standards of conduct that employees should have when they join the   company.
  • Aspirational values are values that a company lacks but the management hopes to achieve.
  • Accidental values are acquired as a result of common personality traits of employees.
  • Core values are the real corporate culture that guides employees’ actions.” (Kotler 2010, p. 71)

In this context we will only consider the core values.

The corporate culture can be divided into two parts: the shared values and the common behavior of employees. Shaping a corporate culture means to integrate the shared values within the organization into the daily business.

But, not all of the shared values are necessary for Marketing 3.0. There are three important values, which influence behavior at word. These are:

  • Collaborative values mean that the corporate values are mainly focused on collaboration. Employees should collaborate with each other and with external networks. Due to that, companies are able to make important decisions faster and global collaboration is easier and more effective. Collaborative values can also lead to cultural transformation, because people are connected worldwide.
  • Creative values mean, that employees have the opportunity to develop their own ideas and share it. Therefore they can use parts of their working time and the company’s resources. This helps to develop creativity and close collaboration between the employees. There is the possibility of cultural transformation.
  • Cultural values can inspire employees to cultural transformation in their own lives and the lives of others. That means companies shape the behavior and the attitude of their employees, like the American company S.C. Johnson & Son. (Kotler 2010, p. 71-75)
Figure 2: Kotler, Philip; Kartajaya, Hermawan; Setiawan, Iwan (2010): Marketing 3.0: From Products to Costumers to the Human Spirit. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, p. 133.74

Figure 2: Kotler, Philip; Kartajaya, Hermawan; Setiawan, Iwan (2010): Marketing 3.0: From Products to Costumers to the Human Spirit. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, p. 133.74

Why is it that important to communicate the right core values to the employees?

In terms of the employees: it attracts more talents. Potential employees compare automatically and subconsciously their own personal values with the value system of the company they want to work for. Furthermore values can motivate employees. If people work according to their personal values, they work harder and more productively. This is based on the fact that they are more satisfied, because they have the impression of doing a job that makes sense. Often this is also an opportunity to retain good employees. To make it short: Good values attract good people.

Moreover Kotler recommends companies to stick always to their values. Especially in times of crisis both employees and consumers observe the integrity of a company. Integrity strengthens the respect and the credibility. For a company it is therefore important to practice and live the values – not only preaching them theoretically.

Furthermore employees should be seen as value ambassadors. Consumers judge the authenticity of a company by valuing the authenticity of their employees. In the best case the employees really live the brand.

In addition shared values unify different staff members. They get integrated into a corporate culture – without destroying the variance of the people. Shared values are a common basis of trust. (Kotler 2010, p. 75-79)

how can the values actually be practiced?

Once it was common to have only seminars and instructions to communicate the value system to the employees. But if external trainers talk without a relation to the workaday life, employees cannot see them as a role model at all.

Marketing 3.0 is more about comparing what is preached and what is translated into practical experience. The aim is that employees can change their lives and be part of this translation themselves.

There are two steps for this procedure: At first the current corporate policies should be compared to the core values of the company. Differences have to be found and appointed. The second step is to establish a mechanism that links a concrete action with a value and that in return will directly influence the lives of the employees. If a company wants to stick to family values, they can avoid having important business meetings on Fridays for instance, so that the employees can spend more time with their families on the weekends (like the company S.C. Johnson does for example). The aim is to create a signature experience that motivates the employees. (Kotler 2010, p. 80-81)

Studies have shown that employees can be classified into different segments. Erickson, Dychtwald and Morrison defined six segments: the “low obligation and easy income segment”, the “flexible support segment”, the “risk and reward segment”, the “individual expertise and team success” segment, the “secure progress segment” and the “expressive legacy segment”. These segments mainly describe the employees’ attitude towards their jobs and their reason for working at all. (Kotler 2010, p. 81)

Kotler advises companies to choose employees of those segments that fit best to their core values. To get compatible employees companies should offer special incentives that attract the target segments. For the “individual expertise and team success” segment such an enticement could be for example the chance to work together with international colleagues.

Another very basic aspect for Kotler is to give more power to the employees in general. On the one hand, this can be the voluntary takeover of responsibility of employees. On the other hand, one can form interdisciplinary teams to develop innovative products and by that involve employees in an active way. Executives should inspire and instruct the employees to establish a real community (cooperative democracy). (Kotler 2010, p. 81-83)


Marketing 3.0 is all about integrity. Shared values and common behavior of the employees ought to be balanced. The corporate culture should be collaborative, cultural and creative. It can change the employees’ lives and simultaneously gives them the chance to transform the lives of other people. By establishing the right core values and sticking to them, competent employees can be attracted and retained. The result is a better productivity and a way to combine different employees with various personal values.

As a result it can be said that communicating the values to the employees is at least as important as the mission-marketing to the consumers.

Personal opinion

With Marketing 3.0 Kotler focuses on the employees as human beings. It is about transforming companies into real communities. It is a good way to motivate employees by shared values, because it is a wish of many – especially academic – people to work for something that is meaningful. Values can awake and strengthen such an impression. In general motivation is the key to an effective way of working for a long time. Therefore it is also supportive to share power and to find decisions within a team. The idea of merging totally different people in a team can lead to highly innovative results.

There are also some aspects that could be difficult. For example it is impossible to find employees who all share exactly the same values, because people are all individuals. At least employees should have a common consensual attitude towards the core values of their company.

Altogether Kotler’s concept of the importance of communicating the company’s values to the employers sounds quite clear and evident. However in practice it might not be that easy to implement the concept at all times and all over a corporate group. Smaller companies have the advantage to interact with their employees in a more personal way. Therefore the communication of values is more effective.


Kotler, Philip; Kartajaya, Hermawan; Setiawan, Iwan (2010): Marketing 3.0: From Products to Costumers to the Human Spirit. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.

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