@ the Intersection of ‘The Why?’ and Social Marketing
The first place that one begins to see an emerging pop-management meme is in PowerPoint slides. A client or manager gets everyone assembled in a fluorescent-bleached conference room, and the hum of the projector signals “marching orders to come.” If you are in the agency world, you have the privilege of being able to move regularly among various such assemblies, all in a short period of time. When you start seeing the same slide showing up in multiple conference rooms and on conference stages, you know a pop-management meme is on the loose.
Purpose or “The Why?” is a pop-management meme on a tear. One’s never entirely sure who puts a meme in play; but I will credit Nikos Mourkogiannis for his book Purpose: The Starting Point of Great Companies, which I believe will become the Good to Great of the first half of this new decade.
A Purpose genre has emerged in his wake. Agency legend Roy Spence, of Austin’s GSD&M Idea City, has made Purpose his purpose, both as author of It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand For and as CEO of the Purpose Institute. In 2009, Simon Sinek joined the Purpose parade with his book, Start with Why, as does former P&G CMO Jim Stengel in his forthcoming book, Grow, a work founded in the concept of Purpose.
So why are they all asking, “Why?”
Is this just the latest in a long list of “USPs,” “Mission Statements,”,“Hedgehogs,” “Elevator Speeches,” “Brand Stories” and other such buzz speak that keeps the consultants in their platinum cards, or is something bigger going on? All of these tomes speak to how important Purpose is for marshaling organizations, attracting talent and fueling growth, but they are also very heavily associated with the changing dynamics of marketing communications. There is an important intersection at which Purpose and social media cross.
The mainstream of communications is now controlled by users, not distributors. Okay, no duh. But where Purpose meets this new mainstream is in the conversation content of social-media chatter. Nearly every marketer who has thus far entered that stream with the conventional “deal-points” approach to marketing communications has been rebuffed.
You can’t just show up at social conversations with your bullet points and promotional offers. You need to be able to talk to people like, well, like you would talk to people. So how does a company or its representatives enter such conversations?
By talking about Purpose, or “The Why.”
You need to be able to enter such conversations with altruistic, empathetic observations, stories and POVS—admittedly contextualized in what your business is up to, but nevertheless not so baldly mercenary. What real good, not just value, is your business delivering to the world? What causes are you pursuing that are larger than next quarter’s deliveries, or even the technical dimensions of your product or service engagement?
Without such Purpose, without starting with “The Why,” you’ll be excluded from the new, critical first phase of the sales cycle: the conversation that precedes and begets consideration.
The bad news is that 99 percent of companies haven’t a clue about their larger Purpose, much less an altruistic, empathetic storyline with which they can enter conversations. The good news is that there is a powerful emerging market demand for the strategic and creative services required to define and propagate such Purpose, conceptually and technically, larger than any the marketing industry has ever known.
No worthy marketer should need to beg bread.
See why we do what we do at gyro.com.
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Nikos is one of the world’s leading experts in the field of Strategic Restructuring and Leadership. With over 25 years experience at the highest levels of industry and strategy consulting, Nikos has recently joined Roland Berger Strategy Consultants GmbH as Director of Strategic Restructuring based in Berlin and Athens. He remains as Chairman of the Board of the Greek National Opera.
After receiving an MBA from Harvard Business School, Nikos worked for Monitor Company for 12 years, where he rose to serve as Chairman and CEO of Monitor’s European, African and Eurasian operations, creating the most profitable and fastest growing region of the company. He was also a Director on the Board serving as a member of the Management Compensation Committee and leading the Global Recruiting Committee. He then founded and served as a Director on the Board and Chairman of Panthea Leadership Advisors which he has recently sold. Before Monitor, Nikos worked for General Dynamics, where he was the only non-engineer ever to serve as Director of F-16 Programs. Prior to General Dynamics, Nikos worked for Westinghouse Electric Corporation as the advisor to the President of Westinghouse International.
Nikos studied Political Economy and Government at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard after receiving an LLB from Athens University, School of Law, It was this time at Harvard where he helped develop the first course on Negotiation with Professor Roger Fisher, author of Getting to Yes He taught this course for several years and helped develop the Harvard Negotiation Center. Nikos became Senior Advisor to the Center and part of the team that devised the “Single Negotiating Text,” used by the Secretary of State, Cyrus Vance, in the Camp David Accords.
Nikos has been featured in many magazines discussing leadership .His book, Purpose: The Starting Point of Great Companies has been selected as a best business book of the year 2006 by strategy+business, Fast Company, Leadership Now, and 800-CEO-READ. Purpose has been enthusiastically endorsed by chairmen and CEOs of such global companies as Deutsche Börse, Maersk Oil, Campbell Soup Company, Braun, and Whole Foods. His book has been favourably reviewed by such publications as The New York Times, The Financial Times and The Times. Nikos has written for many publications including strategy+business magazine, Leader to Leader, The Conference Board Review, Leadership Excellence, Ivey Business Journal and is currently a Guest Columnist for Business Week online.
- The True Purpose of the Board
- Purpose: The Search for Strategic Alignment
- The Return in HR from Purpose
- Purpose-Led Planning & Strategy Execution
- An Interview with Nikos
- Using Purpose to Drive Innovation
- Thinking on Purpose
- Purpose: The Starting Point of Great Leadership
- The Search for Purpose
- Four Routes to Success
- Purposeful Leadership