Get the marketing knowledge you need first and fast! Mary Charleson makes a complex subject simple and does it in over sixty short articles for the time-starved reader. Utilizing Canadian research and business examples, she gives readers the marketing tools to succeed. Pithy, often irreverent, but never short on actionable detail, this is the marketing book you’ll wish you had discovered long ago. You will discover: Why brands that are giving back will be tomorrow’s leaders How to utilize new media and E-marketing opportunities Why marketing to women is important for all businesses How to advertise effectively and get more media coverage How to develop a strong brand and a winning strategy How to use marketing research to your advantage Why understanding sales is critical to success What emerging trends you need to monitor
Corporations Discover Their Social Conscience Have you noticed a trend lately? Companies are donating profits to good causes. Charities are hooking up with brands. Brands are launching their own causes. Environmental issues are going mainstream. Call it caring, call it compassion; consumers are saying they value the impact that business has on the world. It appears that doing good is now good for business. But why the shift? Why now? What is absolutely remarkable is the fact that a couple years ago we were scarcely having the discussion. The environment was largely a fringe concern. Giving back was limited to charity sponsorship and philanthropic contributions. Now we have brands like Dove aspiring to evoke social change by challenging the stereotypical view of beauty. Toyota is staking claim as an environmentally forward car manufacturer. Home Depot has launched over a thousand Eco Options products designed to be gentle on the environment. One could argue that all this has the makings of a flash trend, but that would be a serious mistake. In fact, this change has been coming for some time. Three factors are contributing to this social and environmental shift: 1. Rebound from corporate greed We all witnessed the scandal surrounding companies like Enron, Nortel, and Martha Stewart. What has become painfully evident is that accountability now matters. These scandals awakened a giant within. Shareholders and consumers are voting with their wallets, and Corporate Conscience became a bottom line issue. 2. Powerful weather events We have been rocked by weather events worldwide. Before hurricanes in the south, water shortages in Europe, and drought in Australia, the National Weather Service graph of severe weather events in the United States rises like a ski jump over the last forty years. Clearly something is not right. It took last winter for many North Americans to hit the tipping point. What they saw around them coupled with the phenomenal successes of Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth presentation raised the platform. People began to talk. 3. Demographic shifts But this third factor is the most powerful one. Recent research conducted across Canada by TNS Canadian Facts and research in both Canada and the United States by Youthography shows interesting demographic trends. There are three key insights: (1) This trend is incredibly strong with youth. Those under twenty-five care a lot about this issue. When asked if they consciously choose to do business with companies who are socially and environmentally responsible, 41% of those eighteen to twenty-four years old agreed in Canada. When asked if they would consider buying environmentally friendly products, 49% of fourteen to twenty-nine-year-olds in Canada agreed, while 34% of Americans felt the same way. This group has powerful ideals, they are wired and they are empowered to change the world. Their baby boomer parents told them that they could do anything. Now they seem poised to do just that. Coming into their greatest years of influence, they are the largest demographic group since the boomers. (2) The second demographic factor to consider is aging baby boomers, many now over fifty. Moving into a stage of life where they begin to consider legacy and their impact on the world, they too care a lot about this issue. In fact, the passion for this issue is distributed like a reversed bell curve rising the highest with youth and those over fifty. The boomers represent a huge target group with incredible wealth and influence. When asked if they consciously choose to do business with companies who are socially and environmentally responsible, 43% of those over fifty years old agreed. (3) And finally there is the incredible power of the female consumer, recognized as buying or influencing 80% of purchases. That woman with a purse skews significantly higher than men for sensitivity to environmental and social concerns, with 42% of women and 33% of men consciously choosing socially and environmentally responsible companies. The numbers rise significantly in boomer women with 57% of women over fifty make this choice. Clearly social and environmental responsibility is no flash fad. The societal trend and demographic optics indicate it’s got traction. Perhaps the flight to corporate consciousness and sustainability will in fact be sustainable.
Mary Charleson, speaker, writer and marketing strategist, is the president of Charleson Communications. She holds an MBA in marketing, teaches at City University of Seattle, the University of Phoenix, University Canada West, and Sprott-Shaw Degree College. Mary is a columnist for Business in Vancouver, and a member of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers.