How does a Responsible Business make itself non-displaceable in its community by operating through its unique and authentic essence? Let’s link insights to innovative marketing ideas.
What questions can we ask ourselves to shift our thinking from isolated functional roles (my job title and duties) to a collaborative community perspective (one that speaks to and reaches the community with a shared understanding)?
Your company’s essence is your authentic values, purposes and philosophies. It should be the reference point you use to base all of your decisions from. It allows you to create distinctive offerings through original ideas that cannot be copied because nobody shares your same essence. This helps you to think outside of the box, shake your ideas away from what’s already out there and unveil disorientating ones, where true innovation will spring from.
To develop your company’s essence, you need to imagine the lives of the people you aim to serve. Customers make purchasing decisions based on if a product or service can fulfill their aspirations and future goals. Imagining yourself in their shoes brings to life and clarifies your customer’s essence; their values, purposes and philosophies. This is where your marketing strategy to non-displaceability begins.
Non-Displaceability in the Community
A Responsible Business sees that it is not separate from its community, but rather operating from within it as part of its living ecosystem. It must consider its relationship to and impact on its stakeholders. There are 3 key things that keep it rooted. You must reveal your essence. Even if people can’t put it into words as clearly as you’ve defined it, they must have a sense of who you are and what you stand for. This will attract customers, employees and other business collaborations that feel in alignment with your purpose. The second is that the company’s essence must be aligned with the community’s culture and values. Customers and the community need to feel the company is making a positive contribution and creating opportunities for them to make meaningful contributions in return. They must see it as something that is adding value to the lives of its members. Thirdly, the product or service must be relevant, evolve to changing needs, maintain consistent quality and be easily accessible.
When you’ve taken the step to start your passion business, everything starts with these 2 things: your essence and your customer. What is it that you want to offer them and what is their essence? What is your authentic identity? What is the focal point of how you aim to serve your customers? The combination of these 2 things is unreplicable. Now, dismantle your urge to rely on taught market research which will only show you the peripheral demographic of your customer and not illuminate the true customer experience. Market research can help you validate successful strategies, but how can what’s already been done generate innovative ideas? There is no one size fits all strategy. Steve Jobs is one executive who didn’t believe in design by focus groups. He has said, “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” This is the opportunity for marketing innovation, to find a resolution to a unique need, but everything must be driven by your essence in order to truly evolve your company into non-displaceability.
To be clear, marketing is defined as the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising. Revised market research may look like evaluating the experience the customer has with a product versus trying to identify how well it performs. It takes personal relationship building to understand how they incorporate it into their lives. Products and services aren’t isolated objects or things; they play a role in a bigger picture of a person’s life, one that goes beyond knowing their age, favorite places to shop or favorite foods, income and so forth. The new shift towards conscious consumerism means we need to know what isn’t written on paper.
With a clearly identified essence, you no longer operate through vague ideas and an unrefined passion. You now uphold your purpose with a clear direction for operation. You have identified the exact nature of your client, can build relationships, discover how to put yourself into their shoes and enliven new ways your product or service can be truly value adding to their lives and the lives of people they also wish to uplift.
Generating an original marketing strategy means you never have to throw any ideas out. Everything can be built upon and modified. A strategy that didn’t work can still be developed. Starting by asking yourself questions that require critical thinking, are seemingly impossible to answer or that make you feel uncomfortable is a good place to begin. It is a good way to plunge your mind into uncharted waters, resulting in answers that are generated from your essence. What questions do we need to ask ourselves to shift our thinking from generic operations and strategies to an interwoven community perspective? (This implies that it’s not traditional marketing strategies and outlets that are the source of development, it’s the unified idea that leads the development. The applicable realization of the interwoven relationship of company, customer and community).
Stumped by the Question? More Questions to Answer Your Question:
What is the shared perspective between the business and the community?
How can social media be most effectively used to unify the community?
How do we get customers and community members to feel their participation adds value?
How can we weave our essence into the community’s consciousness?
Where will the product be most easily accessible?
Is my (action) aligned with the aspirations of the customers and community members?
Charmin Case Study
One of the most original marketing strategies in recent years has been the Charmin ‘Sit or Squat’ campaign. They created a funny app that allows users to tag clean or dirty public bathrooms. This fun contribution helps customers resolve a problem that we all regularly face - dirty bathrooms.
The Vendor Exchange, LLP’s Essence
*Live & grow authentically
*Integrate Earth as a business stakeholder & partner
*Unify & uplift local business & community
*Operate through intention & purpose