To be alive...
I headed to SF last week to enjoy the wine country and spend time with my best friends and instead I landed to a new reality and got pulled into some real shit. My best friend works for mayors office and so I spent the week helping him shape a community based plan of social impact and resolve for the city in the midsts of demonstrations and Trump effigy burning. It was eye opening and it got me thinking about changes in our society, new expectations, how our behaviors should change and what this means for people, marketers and brands. Brand missions must now stand for issues that connect us to each other and the communities we live in. We must go beyond the wedge issues that divide us and focus on what makes us all interconnected. Brands have focused a lot on individual issues like self-esteem, empowerment and stereotypes - which are all amazing issues and shouldn’t be neglected, but what we need right now as a country are more community based programs that brands can help lead. Connecting us to opinions outside of our bubble and getting people to stand together is critical. It’s up to us as marketers to ensure that our brands are prepared to get involved with helping people and communities connect with each other in a productive not destructive two-way conversation. True dialogue is needed and it’s up to all of us to foster that dialogue in the face of a new political reality.
Ideas That Spread was started over 12 years ago by me Jon Cronin and since that time a LOT has changed. I believe that businesses and the people that run them should strive for something bigger than just making a profit. We should strive to change the world for the better and give back as well as create products and services that revolutionize the way that humanity interacts with each other. My focus is not just on the people and companies that are doing great things from a corporate responsibility standpoint but also people that are making things that will "Change The World".
Please note that anything I post on this site is my opinion and does not reflect the views of my employers or any of my clients.
I had the pleasure of attending the Fast Company Innovation Festival in NYC and one of my favorite panels was "Can Dolls and Watches Save The World? A Study in Purposeful Brand Transformations." hosted by Weber Shandwick's Social Impact Team.
The discussion was centered around Lisa McKnight, SVP at Mattel/Barbie, Jaques Panis, President at Shinola and Paul Massey EVP, Global Lead of Social Impact at Weber and the question I kept asking myself was:
Is it mandatory to now structure your business to center around your Social Impact Mission?
The answer that kept coming back from the panel was YES. The future of business is a Purpose Driven Mission that makes an impact. Investors are seeking Purposeful Brands, Millennials are looking to work for Purpose Driven Brands, and companies are all transforming their entire operating structure to fulfill their Purpose Driven Mission. It doesn't take much more convincing that a all brands need to transform.
Here are 5 tips for Communicating Purpose that were shared:
- Be Bold - Communications need to elevate a strong heart-pulsing vision of purpose
- Be Authentic - The story can’t be invented. It has to be in the DNA of the company.
- Be Creative - the best work captures imaginations and shows what’s possible when brands contribute to a better world
- Be Transparent - The most powerful stories of purpose are often about the unexpected lessons learned along the way
- Be Sustained - Delivering on a core purpose is a life-long ambition. Communications need to deliver for the long term
The truth is that every few years I get "The Itch." You know the one. "The Itch" that makes you question where you are, where is your career going and where to go next? The one that motivates you to make a big move—usually "The Itch" pushed me into a new role, new industry, new company and sometimes even a new city.
Last year "The Itch" was stronger than ever. After 19 years of working at either an agency or brand, I needed time to figure out who I was professionally outside of an organization. So, after five great years, I ended my full-time relationship with my employer and started my marketing consultancy.
At the time, I was nervous about paying for health insurance, chasing checks and getting new business, not to mention, networking full time and figuring out how to be independently motivated. Fear of the unknown! Not knowing what's around the corner is both scary and exhilarating at the same time.
It's no wonder one of my favorite books as a kid was "The Monster at the End of This Book: Starring Lovable, Furry Old Grover." That's right Grover! Grover is terrified that there is a monster at the end of the book. He begs you not to finish the book to avoid meeting the scary monster. He constructs obstacles to keep you from turning the page, but nothing works as you turn the page with ease, smashing each obstacle. Finally, at the end of the book, we learn that the monster is none other than Grover himself!
In fact, the unknown has been what has motivated me throughout my life, not knowing what is at the end of the book has forced me to turn the page and find out. And what I found over the past few months, after starting my own consultancy, has been incredible.
Being able to focus on the things that are most important to me— family, friends and personal relationships. I mean there is nothing better than being able to chaperon my son Miles field trip or picking him up from school instead of hiring a full-time babysitter. Not to mention, time to understand what I'm passionate about, time to network and time to further master this shifting industry landscape. Being fully present and connecting with every new opportunity at any moment is life changing. Having the time to reconnect with old and new friends, while facing the fear of the unknown with quiet strength and an open mind is the best thing I could have ever done for myself. It's not easy, but it is inspiring.
So for anyone who is on the fence and afraid to turn the page and start your own thing, remember that the monster at the end of the book is none other than your lovable, furry old pal Grover!
As you enter into La Merced Market, one the worlds largest public markets in Mexico City, your adrenaline pumps, your senses heighten, and you are swept up by the collective frenetic energy of the space. Sooo many items… Fried grasshoppers, cactus pads, crispy pig skins, corn fungus, 10 pound bags of bright orange cheese puffs, Oaxacan cheeses, banana leaves, endless varieties of chile peppers, candies, pots, pans and livestock! Your shopper impulse is on high alert, you want to buy EVERYTHING and EVERYTHING is a possibility. You have to act NOW and you don’t worry about the consequences of your purchase, nor do you care how you will get that 10 pound bag of cheese puffs back home.
A Journal of Consumer Research study suggests that people are more susceptible to making impulsive purchases if they are distracted while shopping. This is obvious if you are in a Mexican Market, The Mall, Trader Joe’s, 5th Ave or IKEA. The basic concept of putting people into a frenetic environment, distracting them with mazes, meatballs, Cinna-Bons, free samples, lots of people and endless selection of goods is the best recipe to get people to buy stuff they don’t need. It’s been going on for centuries and it works.
Comparatively, the online marketplace is also insanely frenetic, maze like, endless, always open and is available in your pocket on a mobile device anytime. If the more products a potential customer sees the higher the urge or impulse to buy becomes, then we can see how sites like Amazon are crushing it.
While Amazon continues to have record breaking numbers, new online shopping experiences are making impulse buying so easy it's scary. Companies like Spring, a fashion lifestyle shopping app that looks similar Instagram is changing the game. Once you sign up, simply swipe right on an item you like and and boom, it drop ships from the retailer. Wanelo, a 550,000 store mall curated by people like you on your phone, has been a pioneer for sometime. Others like Polyvore, Luvocracy (Acquired by Walmart Labs) and Faveable are also disrupting the scene and making it easier for you to buy the things you like with a quick tap, click or swipe. There are so many new shopping experiences out there and the one that figure out how to pump the smell of grilled corn, steak or warm Cinna-Bons in while you shop will definitely be the winner :)
What is your favorite new and old shopping experience?
30 percent of Americans are working remotely and 40% will be by 2020. That's a huge number and this has led to the rise in collaborative work environments that have evolved beyond the coffee shop and home office. Coworking spaces like wework are skyrocketing because people are seeking community, collaboration, tech support, educational and social benefits and because working from home can be really lonely.
At the same time, many businesses are striving for something bigger than just making a profit, they are trying to make an impact and change the world for the better. They are creating products and services that revolutionize the way that humanity interacts with each other.
So it makes total sense that coworking spaces like Impact Bazaar are popping up and synthesizing these two trends. Impact Bazaar is a physical marketplace in NYC where innovators and entrepreneurs can access & offer premium resources to accelerate their ideas & impact. The goal is to provide critical access to knowledge, resources, community and opportunity for all who are working in social impact and building solutions to address our world's greatest social and environmental challenges.
Impact Bazaar is open to the public and encourages walk-ins. With a cost of $10 a day, you get access to the 5,000 square foot space and a set of daily activities offering critical knowledge, resources and insights into the community.
Some Impact Bazaar Partners: