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Purpose-Based Marketing is Coming

November 3, 2008

Today marks the opening of Jim Stengel, LLC.  Having been at Proctor and Gamble for 25 years (marketing guys can stay in one place that long?) and finishing his hitch there as Global Marketing Officer, Stengel is a marketing icon.  Today, he officially takes “social marketing” to the next level, promoting “purpose-based marketing.”

Stengel says that “purpose-based marketing” is about defining what a company does — beyond making money — and how it can make its customers’ lives better.

“I believe marketing, branding, must rethink its purpose. It needs to reorient around making a difference in people’s lives. All of marketing. And we must apply life’s lessons to marketing … generosity, love, humor, empathy, service-marketing inspiring people’s lives, and life inspiring marketing.”

His experience with the Pampers brands provides an example:  Pampers was able to gain market share a few years ago through a repositioning that utilized the concepts of purpose-based marketing. It started to offer parenting advice from experts and also did research on why babies don’t sleep — a study that eventually yielded a design change in Pampers to give them a more cloth-like feel.

Skeptics question his “touchy-feely” approach in these tough times, but Stengel maintains “you can communicate value and build emotional equity at the same time.”

When Stengel went to P&G, they were doing $11 billion in sales.  He leaves them for a higher calling now that they are doing $83 billion and have 20 billion-dollar brands.  With a track record of this quality, we ‘d do well to pay attention to Stengel.  Personally, I’m looking forward to him finishing his forthcoming book, Packaged Good, which is intended to provide “a proven framework for lifting marketing performance through focusing on ideals [and] purpose.” (I wonder if he has a publisher yet.  Hmmm…) 

Google Stengel–there are plenty of articles on him.  You can start with these: Media Post Raw, Wall Street Journal, CNBC.

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