Maybe it’s just wishful thinking, but I’m excited. A lot of the work I’m doing lately with companies has been focused on how to make their motives – not just their products – more magnetic to consumers. It’s a pendulum that had to swing eventually. Data-driven marketing is a good discipline if what you’re trying to do is be more efficient, but it does nothing to make you more attractive to people. For that, you need relevance and, maybe in equal measure, trust. Very often, these things have their roots in a company’s sense of mission, and this topic seems to be coming up a lot more lately. That’s exciting not just because it makes better marketing, but because it makes better capitalism.
For me, this theme has echoed beyond the boardroom these last few weeks. I recently had the chance to participate in a great TVO panel discussion about marketing Canada during the Winter Olympics, and we actually managed to get past hockey and snow to the more fundamental meaning of our nation’s brand. You can check it out here. And my column in Canadian Business this month deals with a brand who has found the limits of mission, and then unwisely exceeded them: Chipotle. I’d love to hear what you think!