Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Stop Selling. Start Communicating.

I just listened to a great interview on with Roy Spence of GSD&M. I highly recommend listening to the entire interview as there are numerous interesting and fascinating points made by Spence. The main point they discuss during the interview is the importance of having a purpose in you company and that that purpose is more than just making money. I think that same idea needs to be an important factor in advertising as well.

A lot of advertising, especially in a down economy like we are in now, trends toward the retail end of the advertising spectrum. I understand that advertising is used to help generate sales and sales leads for a company. But at the same time your company needs to speak to more than just sales in its advertising. Communicating your purpose beyond profits to the public makes the consumer feel like your company is a partner with them, not just a random person reaching into their pocket.

Everyone is aware that the end goal of a for profit organization is to make money. There is no issue with that. When a company puts profits in front of speaking to and building a relationship with their customer base they lose the confidence of the consumer. A company can have the best product in the world, but if all they do is shout at the consumer, they never develop the community feel that consumer’s desire. Instead of building a relationship with the consumer by conveying an emotional and practical benefit of the product, the hard sell method turns the consumer onto the defensive.

During the interview Andrew Warner and Roy Spence discuss Whole Foods. Whole Foods is a great example of a company putting its products and customers ahead of profits. They are actually able to charge more than the normal grocery store because they have a purpose beyond profits. Their purpose of selling high quality, organic foods forms a bond with the consumer. Because of the bond, the consumer doesn’t mind paying a little more than they normally would and because of that, they make a nice profit in the end.

What do you think about this idea of having a purpose beyond profits in both your business and advertising? What other companies do a good job of conveying a purpose outside of profits?


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