Thursday, December 9, 2010

The 3 Sizes of Purpose

This is a tangent. A bit I wrote for my agency, and it applies nicely here.

See, when a brand decides to do Good, it helps if it's strategic. Oftentimes the brands that do Good are brands built with Purpose. Depending on a brand's Purpose, you can imagine the kind of strategic Good they would bring to people.

Read on:

We spend a fair amount of time here at 22 thinking about what makes people talk about a brand. There are a lot of ways to inspire conversation, and fuel it. One is to build a brand around Purpose. A Purpose-driven brand is one that has a clear reason for being, beyond just making money. It has an incredibly focused direction that inspires internal folks and customers alike. It’s a company-wide belief that sets it on a mission.

Purpose-driven brands want to change things. They exist to enact change for the better on some scale. I’ve seen great brands aim for three sizes of change – Personal, Industry, and World. Let me explain.

Some brands decide their Purpose is to make someone’s life better. That’s personal. It has to do with features, benefits, something a customer can put in their pocket to save time or effort or money. The brand with a personal-sized Purpose says, “Hey customer, we believe your life can, and should be better, and we work every day to make that happen.” They phrase their own Purpose in much more specific terms, but you get the gist. It’s not always obvious that these are Purpose-driven brands, rather than just really strong marketers. Examples include Apple, BMW, and our client Publix Supermarkets. They all wake up every day with a Purpose. They invite people to buy by overdelivering.

Other brands decide their Purpose is to fix the industry. This is a larger scale Purpose, where a brand finds a common enemy with their customers; some injustice, or conspiracy, or failure of their industry. Some wrong to be righted. The brand with an industry-sized Purpose says, “Hey customer, we believe our whole industry can, and should be better, and we work every day to make that happen.” Examples include Southwest Airlines, Method, and Ally Bank (Google them, you know the spots). These brands invite people to not only buy, but also believe in their POV.

The biggest Purpose a brand can adopt is to make the whole world a better place. These brands claim that their belief about the world is so strong that their products are merely an expression of that belief. They sell the cause. They may reach to other industries to find other like-minded companies to partner with. They invite their competitors to do as they do, and welcome it. They envision utopia. They take the high road. You know these brands, and you’re probably seeing more of this advertising out there. Examples include Pepsi, Tom’s Shoes, Dove, SunChips (with an asterisk), as well as almost every organic food product and hybrid vehicle out there (now up to 40 in 2011, btw). These brands invite people not only to buy, and not only to believe in their POV, but to join the movement. To put their higher Purpose before lesser benefits like style, flavor, or price.

You can see the power of Purpose, and probably also see the challenge. No matter how big a brand’s Purpose is, it’s up to the company to deliver on that Purpose with its product and operations. You can’t really manufacture a trumped-up Purpose, because it will feel flimsy and people will call you out. That’s why Purpose can be harder to pull off than some other ways to get people to talk about your brand.

But wow. Making some real change? That’s pretty inspiring stuff. And totally worth it.

(* Some of these thoughts started with a great book by Roy Spence called, "It's not what you sell, it's what you stand for: Why every extraordinary business is driven by Purpose." Full credit to Roy and GSDM for their bits.)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Trendwatching in 2011

Trendwatching is a website that makes it their job to see what's coming. I like it.

This is a telling little list: the Top 11 Trends to take advantage of in 2011. No less that 3 out of 11 focus on Doing Good. Think about that one.

The full briefing is at Here's the short version.
(They're all cool, but take note of #1, #8, and #10 in particular.)

In 2011, there will be no excuses left not to be kind as a brand... (More in the full brief.)

Are you ready for hundreds of millions of more daring, more experienced consumers? And that's just one side effect of rapid global urbanization... (More in the full brief.)

Flash sales, group buying, GPS-driven deals: in 2011 pricing will never be the same... (More in the full brief.)

In 2011, expect an increasing number of 'Western' brands to launch new products or even new brands dedicated (if not paying proper respect) to consumers in emerging markets... (More in the full brief.)

In 2011, you can’t go wrong supplying your (online-loving) customers with any kind of symbol, virtual or 'real world', that helps them display to peers their online contributions, creations or popularity... (More in the full brief.)

As good health is now as important to some consumers as having the biggest, newest or shiniest status symbols, growing numbers of consumers will expect health products and services in 2011 to prevent misery (if not improve their quality of life), rather than merely treating illnesses and ailments... (More in the full brief.)

SOCIAL-LITES are all about discovery, as consumers become curators; actively broadcasting, remixing, compiling, commenting, sharing and recommending content, products, purchases, experiences to both their friends and wider audiences... (More in the full brief.)

In 2011, brands and wealthy individuals from emerging markets (yes, especially China) will increasingly be expected to give, donate, care and sympathize versus just sell and take. And not just in their home countries, but on a global scale... (More in the full brief.)

With lifestyles having become fragmented, with dense urban environments offering consumers any number of instantly available options, and with cell/smartphones having created a generation who have little experience of making (or sticking to) rigid plans, 2011 will see full-on PLANNED SPONTANEITY... (More in the full brief.)

When it comes to 'green consumption' in 2011, expect a rise in ECO-SUPERIOR products: products that are not only eco-friendly, but superior to polluting incumbents in every possible way... (More in the full brief.)

2011 could be the year when sharing and renting really tips into mainstream consumer consciousness... (More in the full brief.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

2010 Cone Holiday Trend Tracker

Cone is a cool little agency, delving into some consistent thought-leadership on customer attitudes toward companies that do Good. Here's their latest, just in time for the holidays.

Cone says: "‘Tis the season for giving back, and companies should be prepared to lead the charge. Nearly nine-in-10 consumers (89%) want companies to support causes this holiday season, and 78 percent want to be personally engaged in these efforts. Getting a jump on their shopping, half (49%) of Americans say they have already purchased or plan to purchase a holiday gift that supports a cause this year, according to the 2010 Cone Holiday Trend Tracker."

Download the results here:
(Or, here ... )

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Too Rare: Good Stuff Done Great

I've complained in these pages a bit about how advertising that tries to "Do Good" is often really bad. Bad creatively, that is.


There's no reason at all. As proof, I offer two ads from Goodby for Haagen-Dazs ice cream. One, a simple, USEFUL print ad that actually lets you act to solve the problem they're addressing. It's printed on "seed paper" you can plant in the ground and grow a flower. That's right, a print ad that grows a flower.

And two, an amusing video that makes the point strongly and memorably. It's funny enough to get passed around. (Please do.)

So. Anyone from Goodby (or anywhere) know if actual honey bees are making a comeback? Let me know.

For a little more info about this campaign, here's a link.

(Thanks to Griffin Farley for pointing out this link! --> )

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Effies are Coming (Goodworks)

If you work at an ad agency, you might be thinking about the upcoming Effies.

Here's a category that's of particular interest: Effie Goodworks.

I wouldn't mind being on that list.

Not just glory, but gratification.

To the winners, well done. And to the entrants, good luck.

(More at and )

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A lot can happen in two weeks.

Wow. See what happens? You go on vacation and the whole world goes good. Or at least it seems like it. Here’s a re-cap, for you trendwatchers out there:


Maybe I’m late to the game on this one, but I just heard about this offshoot agency. They say, “The world isn’t waiting for a sustainable future. We’re creating one. Now.” They’re all about helping companies tell their green-ification story, from Qantas Airlines to TetraPak, to the Environmental Defense Fund, even (gasp!) DuPont chemical. Green it up, fellas.

Timberland has a program called Earthkeepers (launched in 2008?! Wow, I’m behind). Since Timberland likes the outdoors (and make shoes that’ll get you there), they made a shoe that’s easier on the earth. And they’re planting trees. People like that. In fact, Earthkeepers now has over 866,000 “likers” on Facebook. (By comparison, Outside magazine has only 675,000 subscribers.)

Timberland Earthkeepers.
It's not just a shoe. It's a movement. (Agency: Cone. I think.)

Proctor & Gamble.
Maybe you've heard of them. Well, the Cincinnati news reports, “Less will soon be more in the laundry room when the nation’s largest seller of detergent shrinks its powder varieties and cuts the size of its packaging by a third. … For a company the size of P&G, the change could have big environmental and cost-saving benefits. P&G said the smaller packages will require 6,000 fewer truckloads to ship detergent, saving 900,000 gallons of diesel fuel a year.” (A move that Unilever pioneered in 2005.)

And all it cost them was some precious, precious shelf space. That’s taking it on the chin for the greater good. Kudos, soap guys.

And speaking of Unilever ...

Unilever likes Gorillas.
The Wall Street Journal says, “Unilever, which uses palm oil in products as diverse as Dove soap, Vaseline lotion and Magnum ice cream, will announce today that it is making a multimillion-dollar investment in Solazyme, a company that harvests algal oil. It's a green alternative that can power airplanes as well, Paul Sonne reports.

Environmentalists say that harvesting palm oil has contributed to deforestation in Indonesia and Malaysia and damaged orangutan habitats.”
(As you know, Kit Kat caught the wrath of Greenpeace for their palm oil use/gorilla hating, and it cost them a pretty penny to make amends, and change.)

Scott Tissue saves water.
As seen in Ad Age, “Kimberly-Clark is rolling out a green-themed promotion backing Scott Naturals brand toilet tissue that includes a giveaway of 750,000 Scott SmartFlush toilet-tank inserts. The devices purportedly save a typical family 2,000 gallons of water a year and can last a decade. 

"It helps drive awareness of the Scott brand, but more importantly, about what we feel is the next looming resource threat," says Doug Daniels, brand manager of strategy and innovation for Scott. Here’s the whole article:

Okay. Deep breath. We’re not done yet.

Green Beans Coffee.
It's the little coffee company the US military loves. They’re letting customers donate to send the troops some decent coffee overseas. Pretty cool.

Liberty Mutual ponies up for the “Million Dollar Game.” says,
”A major player on the college football scene with its Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award, the insurance company is dangling upward of a $1 million charitable donation to two competing teams who complete a game without one penalty being called.”

Finding a strategic cause for a financial brand is tricky, mainly because money has kind of a universal strategy. Everybody could use some. But I think supporting “good sportsmanship” is a really strategic message for any financial company these days. Well done.

Moms and Millenials love the Good.
Here’s a nice little interview with an EVP from Cone (again!), about the brands that are really resonating in a lasting way. Some nice Pepsi Refresh commentary here too. (Article.)

Oh, and last night I saw a TV spot – um, on TV – for the Brita water filter. Very cool spot, showing plastic bottles flowing out into the water system of rivers, etc. (I can’t find it online to share, sorry.) But it ends with a link to their program, Filter for Good.

Did I miss anything? I’m sure I did, so please let me know.

Repeat after me: “this is the age of the enlightened consumer.”


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Elephant in Starbucks’ Social Media Room

One of the hottest social media case studies going these days is Starbucks. And as everyone’s pointing out, they’re doing a bang up job. So many great lessons other brands can learn. Listening (My Starbucks Idea), loyalty (online card tracking), engage (responsive Facebook presence) … just about every social media buzzword you can think of, they’re nailing it.

But there’s something at the heart of so many of their programs... People aren’t talking about it, but it’s critical. It’s how much “doing good” they use in the mix.

Here’s a great keynote speech by Starbucks Director of Social Media at some conference. It’s great. You can feel the hype in the room about the seamless coordination of digital and traditional. (Thanks to Griffn Farley for sharing this video on his blog, Propagation Planning.)

Did you notice how much Good they’re weaving into their marketing? And nobody’s talking about it. No one’s diagnosing it, analyzing it, figuring out how to adopt it as part of their model. Bizarre.

I guess it’s such a part of the Starbucks DNA that it’s a foregone conclusion. “They crowdsourced video from around the world! They created a movement online! They increased participation and talk value for the brand!” But let’s talk about the foundation of that program: Doing Good. The speaker all-but glosses over the very heart of what makes this effort succeed. “It’s supports our involvement in Project (RED), it launched on World AIDS Day, and we donated 5-cents for every cup of coffee we sold to the Global Fund.”

When we look to the Starbucks social media case study, we have to learn from the Purpose they build from. If you try to do this without a charitable component, would it stand a chance?

That great stunt of people coming together to make a big collage of coffee cups that made a huge drawing of a tree? So cool. And by the way, let’s not forget, the reason everybody is doing this fun thing is to reduce waste and save trees. A great effort, perfect for the brand, built on a foundation of Purpose from which to launch a cool execution. Her result: “We increased Facebook fans by 20%.” Personally, I’d like to know how much waste they reduced, or how many trees they saved, because that’s the thing people are becoming a fan of.

When I click “Like,” I’m not saying I like Starbucks coffee. I’m saying, “I like that Starbucks is doing big things to help the environment.” And so, I want to have a relationship with this brand.

And the bit about Haiti? Seems it had a lot more to do with doing Good than any expert deployment of social media.

Don’t get me wrong, I love this presentation, and I’m definitely looking to Starbucks to learn how to market online. But I’d love to hear the other half of this presentation; the one about how powerful doing Good is. The part about how to build Good into a marketing plan, how and when to tie it to sales, and how to deal with the politics and PR of it all. I’m sure there’s a lot we can all learn from that story as well.

My takeaway: Social media and doing Good work insanely well together.

Give people something to believe in, and give them a way to get involved.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What Gen Y Likes

I found a great blog today written from a Gen Y point of view about retail, mainly marketing.

It includes everything from fashion, to pop-up storefronts, to social media insights. Basically, whatever interests a Gen Y mind about retail. And yes, Gen Yers think a lot of stuff is cool. And sometimes it's when brands do Good.

Want to connect with Gen Y? Consider incorporating some Good in your marketing.

(Miss Murphy, hope you don't mind the shout out. Nice work.)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Dawn. (It's Good To Be Ready.)

The nice thing about having a purpose-driven brand? When sh*t happens – like, say, BP’s oil rig hemmorages oil all over the ocean – you know exactly what to do.

You jump in, take action, bust parity, generate talk, and build loyalty in the process. Just like Dawn liquid soap is doing. Read the AdAge article: HERE.

There are other brands that would be ready to act. Brands who already champion a purpose. Cause brands. Here are a few:

Pedigree. ...
... to name a few. Think of the brands you work on. Do they have a "North Star" belief, or higher purpose of any kind?

Would they be ready?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Pepsi Refresh Everything

What are people becoming a fan of? In the case of Pepsi’s huge good-marketing campaign, seems like people are fans of Pepsi giving money to charities. They’re fans of making the world a better place.

Are they fans of Pepsi cola as a thirst-quenching liquid?

In an industry of absolute parity, maybe that doesn’t matter so much. With a hammer this large, maybe relevance isn’t an issue.

Pepsi’s crowdsourcing, voting, consumer involvement, use of social (Facebook and well beyond) is all fantastic. Their giving strategy is so broad, it’s all-encompassing.

Does it have anything to do with selling a can of soda?

Does it need to?

Pepsi is giving away $1.3 million in grants each month, to non-profits in six categories. Health. Arts & Culture. Food & Shelter. The Planet. Neighborhoods. Education.

They’ve partnered with GOOD Magazine, and some other, more functional, charity-related organizations. This gives them credibility, as does their alliances with the non-profit community, and transparent dialogue with customers and bloggers.

They’re doing this right.

Funny thing. They’re getting tons of buzz in two areas: social media, and non-profits.

Have they stepped away from their role in the mainstream? Away from teens and the “new generation?” That’s always been what Pepsi is all about, right?

They’ve obviously recognized that doing good is a huge trend with the younger generation; it’s important to them. And Pepsi sees how it’s a much more meaningful bond to have with their customers than, say, Michael J Fox.

Smaller companies can’t spread themselves this thin, by adopting a strategy this broad, donating to “everything.” (“What should our charitable focus be?” … “I know. How about ‘everything’?”)

For most companies, the challenge (and opportunity) is to choose a narrow cause that aligns with their purpose, and their customers’ beliefs.

And any company, even Pepsi, has an opportunity to somehow tie their Good program into moving units.

The fact that an organization as huge as Pepsi has chosen to get behind the Good thing in such a huge way speaks volumes.

For advertisers, it may be another signpost on the road away from ads that are “merely entertaining.” (No small feat, that.)

This builds community, engages people, gets people talking and spreading the program on their own. The earned media exposure on this is un-buyably huge.

In the ‘60s, the medium was the message. Today, the consumer is the media. People themselves are one of the most potent communication channels. (And of course social media is a huge way to activate and influence the conversation.)

I’ve read a lot of knee-jerk reactions in the blogosphere about this campaign, but one stood out. Joanne Fritz of the Nonprofits Charitable Blog on noted some nice aspects of Pepsi’s execution. 1) it’s not only on a closed site like Facebook (though I like how it also uses Facebook), 2) it’s understandable, 3) it pays attention to outcomes, 4) the grants come in several sizes, 5) there’s a new opportunity every month.

As Bonin Bough, Global Director for Digital and Social Media at PepsiCo says, (unlike other contests)
The Refresh Project “is a movement, not a moment.”

He also says, “never before has a trusted brand engaged in the work of doing social good with the level of resources behind the Pepsi Refresh Project.”

So. Pepsi is giving away $20 million. For little local charities, that’s a lot. But for Pepsi, that’s a drop in the bucket. In this case, a very well-placed drop.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Puma's Clever Little Bag

This one kind of speaks for itself.

It's a great example of a company doing some good, getting attention, and winning fans by doing so.

I don't think anyone is going to buy Puma's just for the bag.
But it gets attention for some very good reasons.

It makes Puma different; not just the packaging, but the way I view the brand.

Mad props to Fuseproject.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Lonely Alligator

This is a great idea, bigger than just one company. But oddly, the one big brand that has embraced it is standing there alone. Well, they’ve enlisted a couple other small brands, but come on.

Let’s back up. Companies have used animals for logos since the dawn of time. Since then, some of these creatures we wear on our shirts and drink from our beer steins have become endangered. No help from those companies manufacturing said shirts, etc – until now.

It’s called Save Your Logo; a program that companies can participate in to fund preservation of their namesake critter.

The first big brand to sign up is Lacoste, that of the endangered crocodile.

Learn more here:

It's a simple, clear proposition. Buy a shirt with a crocodile on it, and some of the money goes to the crocodiles. That's pretty cool. Almost makes a $100 polo shirt worth it.

But. They need to enlist more companies to really make it a movement. Either this should be The Lacoste Thing, or it should be much bigger. Being in limbo, I can’t see this well-intended, original idea getting much traction.

Which other brands should save their logos, you ask? Below, I humbly offer some ideas.

Write your local CMO.