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Marketing with a higher purpose


I'm not going to fall for the trope that marketers are the sorts of disingenuous people who'll flog any product or brand by any means necessary. But, by the same token, I've been surprised of late to hear several marketers talk in quite idealistic terms. It's quite energising to think of the power of marketing and communications in this way, even when it comes from unlikely quarters.

Take one hotel chain marketer I met who isn't simply interested in filling rooms, but only wants to attract the right kind of customers who will create a community of travellers in each of his venues with a view to building the brand and repeat custom that way. Refreshing. Possibly uncommercial, but this really can work for a niche brand.

At Youth Marketing Insight conference, an FMCG marketer genuinely believed that his brands gave young people a useful hook on which to nurture, develop and hang their emerging identities. Think about this...they can relate to other people socially through shared appreciation of a type of food, a fashion style etc. and you can see there may be a point here.

I was chatting about this with a colleague in the FE sector and suggested that by a similar logic, marketing to learners could not just help select the best candidates (which may not be the true objective in this instance anyway), but on a more meaningful level could predispose their students to learn and act in a positive way. It is an interesting perspective.

And many commerical organisations fail to market themselves adequately in terms of the causes they address. Even a hard-nosed investor gets a kick out of being part of something meaningful.

We all know lots of brands are, some might say cynically, exploiting this interest in ethics and identity amongst consumers but the challenge is to ensure these mission based campaigns are not simply marketing constructs but are genuinely embedded in the way the organisations run.

A new definition of the "halo effect".

Julie Kangisser