In a rapidly changing world, brands with a purpose will prosper.
Sustainability and problem-solving are key to the success of a company, says Thomas Kolster, author of the book Goodvertising.
“All that we have taken for granted is undergoing a change. The worst thing a company can do to itself is become stuck in a rut and not accept that the world around us changes, as do people’s behaviour and their consumption habits,” Thomas Kolster says.
Kolster, the father of the concept of sustainable advertising and corporate culture, called goodvertising, believes that companies can be successful only if they genuinely strive for good. Even excellent marketing cannot save the day if the brand is not adding value to the lives of customers.
“Previously, the purpose of marketing was to make people want the things that the company sells. This is going to change. In future, we must sell things that people need,” Kolster says.
This requires cooperation with many different parties, and the role of marketing professionals in particular will be emphasized. Advertisers have to step up their responsiveness to customers’ needs and justify the necessary changes to those responsible for strategic decisions.
Kolster challenges companies to think deeper about their purpose. They should take a good look at their strategy, marketing, target group, product, and business model. To find the company’s reason for existence one should take an honest look at these five areas.
All activity should be driven by an attempt to solve an existing problem: either a problem in a person’s everyday life or, on a larger scale, a problem in society.
“It is best to start this thought process and change of direction now, because if you don’t, your competitor will beat you to it. After that it will be too late. In many fields, there is so much competition that it is impossible for every individual player to find a problem of their own to solve.”
Kolster also encourages companies to open their minds to ideas coming from outside. He sees tremendous potential in cooperation:
“Small startups and newcomers have fresh ideas, and big companies have the resources to put them into practice. Through cooperation, companies will be able to take on larger problems and provide solutions to them which is guaranteed to bring publicity and benefit their business. Many of the problems in the world are so big that no one company will be able to solve them alone.”