This activity is pervasive in our marketplace, but probably started somewhere. If you invented something or were rich and famous your name was bandied about. Maybe, your esteem was heralded as a university – Harvard, Cornell; or perhaps noted for something you brought to market – Colt, Ford; maybe for a discovery – Magellan (those Straits), Halley (the Comet). Affiliation was quite the mantle. You lent your business name to Little League teams, tennis tournaments, football stadiums, even interiors to cars – the Eddie Bauer option.
Brands understood the benefit of association, and that is where we now have famous people trumpeting the magic of a particular product or service. Just look at Bob Dole and Viagra (he and Libby must have had quite a conversation before that one ran), Dinah Shore and her Chevrolet, Alec Baldwin and Capital One credit card. Charities also benefitted – consider Jerry Lewis and his Muscular Dystrophy telethon (started in 1952) – total exhaustion for him and sometimes his audience, but the donations still came in – more each year.
Some businesses were quiet citizens and gave back to the community in many ways and gained America’s pride. Ben and Jerry’s was one such outfit. Some created charitable organizations, such as Microsoft’s Bill Gates. No matter your achievements, dedication to the common good was good business and the right thing to do.
Synergy is simply good business, especially when our audience and consumers believe our priorities are placed correctly. With that theme, where are marketers now directing their energies? Many are looking at the world in which we live. Can we continue to cure disease, educate children around the world, and further elevate the safety and prospects for women? These are thorny issues globally.
One major concern stands out – the environment. If we do not take better care of Mother Earth, we have no prospects to help anyone or thing in the future. You would think that our leadership in Washington would agree on environmental issues, but they cannot. There are too many religious, economic and just plain politics and stupidity currents flowing about in Congress.
Hospitality businesses are finally understanding the challenge and promoting sustainability. Green is moving along with hotel companies and restaurants, both significant users of energy and resources. Their guests and patrons should know about these efforts, for support would be overwhelming. Waste and compliance issues are just too obvious. The business related investment is being made; there is commitment. Think big and creatively! You can engage your consumers in the imperative to lower the carbon footprint and reward them for their actions. Figure out how to have them participate and build those coalitions. Now, that is a worthy partnership!
John Hendrie is the author of the LRA blog 'A Guy Walks In'. LRA is a leading research and consulting company in the emerging discipline of Customer Experience Management (CEM). We work with our clients to help them design and deliver consistently exceptional customer experiences in order to drive customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy, and company growth and profitability. We have built a range of quality assurance, mystery shopping, research, training and consulting solutions to help them do so.
Today, we are a growing company operating in more than 120 countries throughout the world, servicing our clients from offices and resources in the Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific regions and helping clients such as Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, the National Football League, Avis Budget Group, Madison Square Garden, the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group deliver exceptional customer experiences. Every touch. Every time. For more information, visit www.LRAworldwide.com.
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