Notes from the Guest Editor’s Desk: Desmond writes on 4 new C’s that touch lives

As Guest Editor for on October 20, 2010, Laura Desmond voiced her views on many developments pertaining to the industry. In this ‘Notes from the Guest Editor’s Desk’, she sites examples of companies such as Procter & Gamble and The Coca-Cola Company to elucidate that when ‘profit’ and ‘purpose’ need not be mutually exclusive.

e4m by Laura Desmond
Updated: Oct 21, 2010 8:27 AM
Notes from the Guest Editor’s Desk: Desmond writes on 4 new C’s that touch lives

I was at a major marketing conference in the United States last week and heard many of the top global marketers including Mark Pritchard of P&G and Joseph Tripodi of The Coca-Cola Company champion the message of purpose-driven marketing. What was clear from these discussions is that ‘profit’ and ‘purpose’ need not be mutually exclusive. In fact, these two respected global companies understood intimately that when an organisation is aligned against a single purpose, profit -- in most cases -- follows.

‘Touching Lives, Improving Life’ (P&G) and ‘To Refresh the World’ (Coke) are big, bold goals, yet elegant, simple and timeless. Today, these two companies with a combined history of 200+ years are successful according to any quantitative or qualitative measures.

Four days later, I arrived at the newly renovated Terminal 2 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi. I immediately noticed an energy and warmth from the employees, from the maintenance team with their friendly smiles, to the security staff wearing their uniforms with pride and precision, to the retail workers who offered a helping hand when I dropped my handbag on the floor. They too seemed to be driven by a purpose.

Purpose driven organizations—whether it’s a 100,000+ employee Fortune 100 company or a newly renovated airport—are extraordinarily powerful because it enriches conversations, builds communities and leaves lasting, positive and memorable impressions. These are the building blocks for sustainable relationships between brands and people, between experiences and action.

At Starcom MediaVest Group, our purpose is to be The Human Experience Company. And our dream is to grow our clients' business by transforming human behavior through uplifting, meaningful human experiences.

And to BE The Human Experience Company requires an aggressive embrace--in language and behavior--of four constructs, or what we call the next generation marketing 4C’s.

Some of you may be familiar with the 4 C’s of marketing: Consumer, Cost, Convenience and Communication. It was a model that worked for years and continues to be embraced by many.
At SMG, we believe that there are 4 new ‘C’s,’ and they are the new approach to winning the hearts and wallets of consumers, one uplifting, meaningful experience at a time. They are:

• Currency
• Conversation
• Content, and
• Community.

When used strategically and intelligently they will help you forge human experiences that are, simple, meaningful and real time.

Let’s start with the first C – Currency.

If there is a single global truth about today’s consumers, it is that they are too busy to pay attention to what we call “marketing.” We have to make it worth their while or they won’t opt in. Currency is the value exchange we have with them. They give us their time and we give them a promise, and then deliver. Stronger. Smaller. Smarter. Cleaner. Better. Our currency is a pact, the handshake we make with them. “Give us your attention and you won’t be sorry.”

Currency helps make the brand, hence the marketing, hence the human experience it provides, valuable at worst and invaluable at best.

The Second C is Conversation.

Simply put, we think of conversation as how content, ideas and information move from point A to Z, to M, then T, then back to point A. Successful human experiences drive and enable conversations – between consumer and brand, and between consumers themselves. A key requirement for brands is to be active participants in the conversation, and that means being a great listener.
We build this dynamic into meaningful experiences by tapping into the conversations that occur naturally, influencing the drivers of those conversations and making everything exceptionally easy to share. Remember, these are the consumers who say “I don’t have time.” But they’re willing to engage if the currency is there.

The third C is Content.

I won’t dwell on our all-too-familiar history. We all know that the craft of marketing focused for far too long on exposure. The process of connecting a company to a customer started with brand-related content, and ended with a mass message distributed across a very limited, but far-reaching, assortment of media.

We tell ourselves that we long ago abandoned the mass exposure model as an effective way to reach people. The truth is, people made that model obsolete. As they retreated from traditional touch points, we also had to abandon them.

People rejected the familiar pipelines and turned away from passive content in search of a “my media” world in which they could tailor their own messages and menus….opting in and out of content and media that had meaning and provided value for them. Digital has revolutionised the media world. Content needs to keep revolutionizing itself. It must be active and iterative; ownable and widely customizable.

Our last and fourth C is Community.

Simply defined, a community is a group united around a shared purpose. We activate this ‘C’ by giving people a chance to join the dialogue, to become part of the tribe. Most important, we give the community power – to influence, to learn, to experience, to share. Community is king.

Currency. Conversation. Content. Community. When done right and created with care, our dream--to grow our clients' business by transforming human behaviour through uplifting, meaningful human experiences—is very much in reach.

I’ll see you in the future.



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