Graeme Newell

Why social responsibility should drive your marketing campaigns

Not so long ago, companies had the undivided attention of the public through TV and radio. It was easy to sell products through TV ads and conversions were great. All you needed to do was package a nice video or audio explaining your product and a phone number of the bottom of the screen. There was no time for innovative approaches like social responsibility. Those were the days, before this age of distraction and information overload.

Nowadays mobile phones have made it so easy for companies to deliver targeted advertisements to people. As long as you have a phone in your hand, you are a sitting duck for a product seller. The constant bombardment of information on consumers has made people numb to anything labelled “advertisement”. It’s hard to sell these days, and it’s not the buyer’s fault, consumers are just looking for innovative companies with a high level of social responsibility to stand out above the clutter. The marketing game seems to be failing to keep up with this consumer preference. Perhaps this is because most organisations will hire a conventional marketer to lead their campaigns “by the book”. What most organisations forget is that by-the-book approaches are outdated and need to be revised.

An example of a “By the book” approach is the production of high quality videos with nicely polished celebrities praising your products and how their lives have changed because of it, even though the whole world can see it in their eyes that they don’t have the faintest clue what they are talking about. By-the-book will tell you that the power of celebrity will bring you more customers than you can handle. What the book will not tell you is that by the time your product gets delivered to your customer, he/she will have already seen another 10 ads with 10 other celebrities talking about how their lives have changed due to other products, and your customer will be bored to death and tune out of your message.

Old fashioned marketing will teach you to structure your ads to tap into the 5 senses of the potential customer to stimulate them into action. What this approach might forget to mention is that the same senses will have been tickled a dozen times before you came along. This approach will not recognize the sixth sense, the under stimulated sense of purpose. Countless companies like CVS Health are going against the book by embracing purpose in their daily work. As a result, when you watch an advert by CVS health, your brain tells you that you are not just watching another quit smoking advert, but you are being called to become part of a movement to stop the rise of lung cancer. CVS delivers on the promise of a healthier life and a cancer-free future, while it walks away with a badge of social responsibility, and your check.

To grow your profit and your business, going by-the-book will teach you to cut your costs by hiring the best talent available in every department. Companies like Hot bread in New York will however tell you to think differently. The company will teach you that hiring and training the disadvantaged will not constitute a significant risk of reduced quality. Hot Bread will turn your attention to their own program where they hire trainable people from all over the world and teach them how to make great confectionary. The result of their social responsibility is an overwhelming approval by the customers who in turn would rather spend their money at Hot Bread than some other faceless company.

There are many examples of companies that have essentially become social enterprises because they exist to serve a purpose in people’s lives, not just sell a product. Such companies often enjoy long term partnerships with their customers and become part of the fabric of their societal environment. The Red Goldfish book introduced in the video explains the concept of purpose-driven social enterprise for those who would like to get started in building socially responsible companies. The video also introduces some other great online resources for guidance to those who are stepping into this new territory for the first time.

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Check out Graeme's latest book called "Red Goldfish"

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