Elements Of A Broader, Transformative Platform

Most of us have experienced a point in our careers when the stars aligned as our PR and marketing programs achieved dramatic, perhaps even monumental, results. A moment when we've just witnessed business growth, consumer buzz, major media attention -- or to leap-frog a much bigger competitor with a better idea the world says yes to.

Life's achievements are to be savored -- and we hope repeated. No one-hit-wonder here. We say this under our breath that maybe the big outcome will be hard to come by a second or third time. So we push ahead eager that some of the magic and creative lightening will strike twice and hit the results jackpot again. Dumb luck you think? No....

So what is the grist of this success made of these days? Is there a consistent theme within these experiences and projects that metaphorically or mathematically blew the doors off? It is highly probable they were big bets representing a strategic swing for the fence. Let's explore some evolutions in the current path to remarkable marketing achievement.



Finding Your Mission

Lately we're seeing some organizations up the ante and scope of their marketing and outreach efforts by enveloping their brands in an initiative that draws from a more cinematic scope and mission.

Take ConAgra's recent announcement - a multi-brand campaign titled "Child Hunger Ends Here". No small cause and one that resonates with moms. The project unites a portfolio of their packaged foods brand under a single banner.

Or PepsiCo's "Refresh Project"-- an initiative that falls from the company's efforts to emphasize social values, while working to embed greater meaning into their brands and businesses. "Refresh" invites investment proposals from all comers at the local level for arts, music, and education projects.

And the comprehensive, "Live Music Series" program from Jim Beam that helps unlock the social connections inherent in their category. Beam is sponsoring and presenting an array of music events, offers and experiences. What resonates is the commitment to relevance with their core target audience's lifestyle passions and aspirations.

By definition we're wading into territory populated with larger-in-scope, transformative projects that carry with them the potential to impact brand and business behavior. And in doing so fulfill the definition of what we would call a "BIG" idea: bigger in agenda, reach, ambition and hopefully attached to bigger outcomes and long-term benefits.

Efforts in this vein surely will work harder to break through the rust of rampant, epidemic indifference that exists virtually everywhere. Sounds good, but what's the path look like? Let's examine five key elements that elevate the brand's mission and meaning to a higher level:

1. A historic sense of gravitas, mattering and purpose -- consumer behaviorists tell us people want to be a part of something bigger than themselves; projects that spring from a foundation of greater meaning, value and symbolism in turn infuse the business with superior significance and worth. There's a richer conversation to be had than the year-to-year rework of product feature and benefit messaging.

2. Momentum to ante-up a clutter-busting focus of resources (not tonnage in spend but in cross-channel deployment) -- more horsepower is secured when the concept also waves the flag of moral imperative or corporate calling. The aggregation of assets on a single platform creates potential homerun clout. Much needed in a marketing environment already riven with attention deficits and loss of grip in conventional media channels.

3. The concept is drenched with inherent merit, married to simplicity -- and thus it immediately gains power and demands attention. Said another way the intellectual space a brand can expect to own exists in direct proportion to its meaning and value to the consumer. Projects of larger scope won't work successfully if burdened by too many agendas or alternative messaging priorities. Instead the simple thrust of hunger, community betterment and music are liberating in their ability to finally get somewhere with a human who invests little mental territory with any one idea before moving on.

4. Relentless devotion to consumer insight -- These platforms all spring from understanding consumer aspirations, values and passions. It's the value and importance moms place on their primary role as caretaker. This is an over-arching common trait and mission within moms' understanding of what matters. Matching the brand agenda to this prevailing behavior embraces the emotional ties important in building brand relationships.

5. Corporate reputation and brand reputation no longer separated -- Consumers watch and observe businesses to see if actions match words. Are an organization's beliefs and values of equal priority with the demands of commerce? You are making a statement about what you believe in, what is important as a business and as a brand. A strategic mission creates an internal and external flagpole all stakeholders can rally around. In doing so the faceless corporation gets an endearing face and the business results can benefit from this humanizing experience.

Yes, there's a process required to correctly sync an organization's DNA, values and understanding of the consumer's lifestyle priorities with a mission that makes sense. But in equal measure it requires one other thing to make this "jackpot" moment recur. Fearlessness.

Go for it. Life is short and no great thing is accomplished by staying in the comfort zone.

What do you think?

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