Conscious Capitalism – The Shift that we need to make

Conscious Capitalism

Conscious Capitalism

Five years ago, when I created my coaching offerings and packaged them as onCOREventures, I wrote about the shift. The shift that I was referring to was the shift that takes place in the afternoon of life.  The shift to a more conscious way of being and living.  About the same time, some folks were talking about the shift to Conscious Capitalism.  The leader of that movement is John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods

Last year the election in the US and its aftermath proved to me that entering the afternoon of life is no guarantee that people shift to higher levels of consciousness:

  • No one will confuse the election process of 2016 with consciousness and both candidates were and are in the second half of life
  • No one will confuse the purveyors of “Fake news” of either the left or the right as expanding consciousness and many newscasters are in the second half of life – although they are dropping like flies in some outlets
  • Late night comics might seem funny to some, but they sicken anyone who has embraced conscious living, and one, in particular, is in the second half of life – and like him, we are still here

I have just finished reading a book called “Conscious Marketing” and there is an infographic that they created at the end of the books that summarized the “Shifts” that we need to make. These shifts are really the shifts that we need to make for conscious capitalism. And I am seeing these same ideas as applying to “Millennial marketing”.

So as for me, I will work with others to manifest these shifts to create conscious capitalism because these shifts need to happen, And for the change has to start with you and I.  Personally, I believe, that as Gandhi stated almost 70 years ago we need to be the change that we want to see in the world. These are the shifts toward conscious marketing that are outlined in the book and my take on them.  I personally believe that if we are focused first on our ideal client and their needs – it makes it easier for us to make this shift to conscious capitalism.

The conscious capitalism shift from profit-driven to purpose driven

For small business owners, this one is probably the easiest one to joke about because we do not make much profit very often.  But it is the focus that matters.  When I focus on my purpose, as I am in the blog entry, I focus on the original reason I got into this business five years ago. That was to raise the consciousness level of the planet one business or company at the time.  While I have tried to hold to that in practice, I have strayed from that in how I have talked about my business to others.  My purpose is to bring authenticity to marketing and promotion for my own firm and my clients.

It starts with the clients that I agree to work with.  I have the pleasure of working with five test clients in the packaging of the services that I now offer.  They are all driven by the purpose and the values of their owners.  Two are wellness firms, two are “trades” firms and one is a business referral organization that has led with conscious marketing themes before anyone described it using “new age” or eastern terms like we are today.  I think that BNI’s mantra of “Giver’s Gain” is a good way of summarizing the hope of conscious marketing and they have been using that for thirty years.

The shift from company centric to customer-centric

Our methodology that we use for our clients, which comes from Duct Tape Marketing, is all about identifying the ideal clients that our clients want to attract and their needs and wants and desires.  We develop a psychographic and demographic view of these clients and then identify ways of creating marketing materials and products that meet the needs of these clients. Once we do this we need to build the best products, we need to listen to our employees, and our customers and our potential clients and engage them in the development of products and services as well as our marketing materials.  We stress the need for soliciting online feedback and the need to manage our reputation as we engage with our customers.

In my career as a software product manager, and then as VP of product marketing and product development, we started with customer feedback about requirements that they had to business problems that they wanted to solve.  Sometimes, these products could be developed and sometimes they could not.  Sometimes it was a matter of time.

In 1995, we came up with the idea of a store manager’s workbench for retail store managers.  Workflows and alerts would be delivered to the store managers computer in real time.  We came up with a company-centric approach.  It frankly was hype for 1995. We realized it and scaled back the vision to meet the needs of one customer.

Today that same technology is in the hands of many retail store managers and it is delivered to their smartphones – or could be.  The idea or concept that we had in 1995 was ahead of its time, but by working with our customers we were able to make steps toward this deployment.  And now those store managers and others have a supercomputer in their pockets, that vision has become reality.

The shift from competitive to collaborative

conscious capitalism

We all have strengths and weaknesses.  This is true for individuals as well as companies.  And many small business owners fail to realize that they have a culture in their small firms that they have created.  This culture impacts what they are good at and what they will struggle to implement.  Trying to be a jack of all trades service provider is a sure-fire path to disaster.

As I have worked to get my hands around digital marketing in 2017, I have had to learn new technologies and new approaches that did not exist just a few years ago.  I am a top-down thinker, and I have to understand how everything fits together. I need to have a vision for how things work with one another.  So, when it came time to implement the first customer solutions of our firm’s offerings I intentionally started with five small companies that I could understand completely and understand how the various components of our solutions set needed to be implemented.

But there is no way that I can scale the hands-on approach that I have taken with these five small companies and take it to the intended market for our services to companies doing over $2 million dollars per year in revenue.  Those companies that are in the 2 million to the 20-million-dollar range.

To enter this market segment, I have to establish collaborative relationships with other firms.  That is what drew me to Duct Tape Marketing.  They have put together both the methodology and the service network to offer complete marketing solutions and I can partner with a number of them to deliver services.  These are all win-win relationships.

The shift from interruption to attraction

This is so hard to do in 2017 where everything is an interruption.  I remember watching the movie “Minority Report” in horror as targeted ads were placed based on retinal scans, and now we have predictive billboards based on the cell phone demographics of who is traveling on the road at the time.  We have follow-me ads – retargeting ads and customized promotions.  As I write this Amazon is purchasing Whole Foods, and they own Audible. We have Fire TV and an Alexa Device in our home, we are using Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime.

Amazon has available online for me to review my purchase history since 1998. They have my browsing history and they know what Kindle Books I have actually read and how long it took me to read them.  They know what Audible Books I have listened to and how long – and how many times I have listened.

I am hopeful since we shop at Whole Foods and since we use the same credit cards that we have registered at Amazon that they use this data for good. This hope is based on the stated intention of leaving John Mackey – one of the creators of conscious capitalism in place as CEO for Whole Foods.

Will they interrupt me with Ads whilst I shop in a Whole Foods store or will they set the merchandise in the stores based on the desires and wants of their customers.  The fact that I have read books like Whole, Sugar, Salt, and Fat and we have bought over one hundred cookbooks mostly dealing with vegetables and reversing disease with nutrition should give them an indication of the types of foods that we want to see when we walk into the store.

By knowing us well, they should be able to attract us to buy the types of products and services that we really, really want – not interrupt us with something in a moment of weakness that we do not want.

When I work with clients to develop marketing strategies, I help them focus on how they can identify the problems that their ideal clients have and how they uniquely help those clients solve those problems.  We then work to drive that core difference into the products and services offered and help those clients understand first how to solve those problems.  Secondly, we begin to describe how to use those products and services to solve the problems.  This is attracting clients not interrupting them and using mind games to manipulate.

The shift from duplicity to honesty

Conscious Capitalism - listen to the voice inside you

When I selected the initial clients for our test offerings in digital marketing services, I fully disclosed that these were alpha and then beta tests of offerings that we might not take to market.  I offered an exit strategy and conversion plan for my clients prior to engaging them. I admitted that I was still learning about this digital marketing space (we all are learning –digital marketing is changing hourly).

I understand from discussion with Millennials that 90’s nostalgia is in vogue and that eighties references – or anything earlier – are not. So, I will quote from the ending of Runaway Bride (1999) and Maggie’s proposal to Homer – “…. I guarantee that we will have tough times and I guarantee that at some point one or both of us will want to get out……you are the only one for me”. Yes, it is corny, yea it is just a movie, but it is honest.  Why don’t all companies honestly position themselves?

This morning my wife was dropping our Subaru Outback off at the dealer for service and I saw a vending machine truck with the tagline “Always fresh…. Always on” – Seriously?  It is a vending machine selling products with additives and preservatives in them to last hundreds of years.  Are the products making us fatter by the minute Always Fresh?  I was insulted beyond belief – that is duplicity.  Why not say what they are providing – empty calories that will keep you alive until you can eat real food.  Or for emergency use only?

The shift from complexity to simplicity

Marketing today is very complex.  It is very hard to make simple.  I know I am trying.  I am going to take issue though with this principle of conscious marketing and change it from complex to simple.  A simplistic solution is one that does not deliver a full solution.  A simple solution is the most elegant solution to a problem.  Think of the first iPod.

Like the original iPod, the simplicity needs to be engineered into the product from the ground up.  If it is not you cannot market it.  So, the marketing process has to drive the design process.  Steve Jobs was a brilliant marketer – I doubt that he cared much about the technology of the solution.  In fact, he drove his technical people crazy by demanding the impossible, but he did so to drive insanely great products.

While I write this blog on my Mac, with my iPhone on the desk and an Apple watch on my wrist,  their products are still good, they lack the insanely great appeal that used to be part of the Apple ecosystem.  To me at least, this proves that conscious marketing starts with conscious capitalism – at least for the product design and development side of the company.

The shift from masculine to feminine

It is very popular in 2017 to dump on the masculine, but I like to go back to a series of talks that I listened to in 2013 speaking of the Evolutionary Male Summit.  One of the speakers in that series – Michael Dowd talked about the fact that men and women co-created the patriarchy – he joked at one point that men did not invent monogamy.  We invented the patriarchy together for good conscious capitalismand for bad

I believe that the shift is not as much from masculine to feminine but to a blend of the positive masculine and the positive feminine.  I am married to a very intelligent and analytical woman and we both enjoy a wide variety of literature.  We both escape into novels and we both appreciate authors like John Grisham, Steve Berry, John Sanford, David Baldacci, James Rollins and Nora Roberts (also under her pen name of J.D. Robb).

I am not going to state that we need to move into the form of J.D. Robbs “in Death” series of characters, but the primary character – Lt. Eve Dallas, is one strong, analytical and tough police detective.  And her spouse is nurturing and supportive.   We need to move toward embracing the positive qualities of both genders and allow them to work in harmony to provide an integrated approach to business growth that appeals to the best qualities of all humans. In the long-running series, Eve Dallas moves from being tough and withdrawn to adopting some of the more traditionally feminine qualities that society “pushes” onto women, without losing her toughness.

If we look at what I happening with Uber right now, a venture capitalist – Freada Kapor Klein, has been instrumental in getting Uber to realize that their harassment of women and lack of minorities in the tech startup is wrong.

Freada is the partner in life and business with Mitch Kapor who created Lotus in the eighties (one of the first “killer” apps in the PC era).  Kapor Capital and the Kapor Center for Social Impact is known for efforts to diversify technology companies.  She has been an activist since the eighties.  This is viewed in the “fake news” world as a move to the feminine.  She is a female yes, but her activism is using positive masculine attributes to make a difference.  And her spouse is a partner in the firm.

I believe that conscious marketing and the move to higher levels of consciousness is post-gender and a move to the integration of the positive of both masculine and feminine attributes and the move away from the negative traits of both.  This was described very well in 1994 by Dr. David Hawkins in Power versus Force.  He described the shift in consciousness and awareness very well in this ground-breaking book from over twenty years ago.

The shift from unintelligent to intelligent

What is unintelligent marketing?  Is it marketing that uses our baser instincts to sell?  I think it is.  The old saying is that sex sells.  One of my favorite quotes is from Christie Brinkley – the cover girl model – who has said “I wish I looked like Christie Brinkley”

If we look at the slogans in marketing that in hindsight were not intelligent – how about AIG’s “We know money”.  They went into the ditch in 2008 and almost took the US and the rest of the world with it.  How about Lay’s Potato’s Chips – Betcha can’t eat just one?”  Well if you read Sugar Salt and Fat, you will see that potato chips are engineered so that you can’t eat just one.  They trigger the bliss point in your brain.  This is the best possible definition of unconscious marketing.

Not all slogans are wrong or unconscious.  If you engineer the product from the ground up and build a culture to support the slogan – “Happiest place on the Planet” (Disney World) can be conscious marketing – read Inside the Magic Kingdom to see the commitment to that assertion.

How about the original iPod commercial that ended with the tagline iPod – 1000 songs in your pocket?  Even better – it was exactly what the product offered.  We take that for granted today – in 2000 when it was introduced it was Insanely great.

The shift from fear to love

Watch CNN – the mainstream left’s “fake news” – or Fox the mainstream right’s “fake news” – and then watch the ads.  Count the number of ads for prescription drugs that will help with the symptoms that you have from stress-related diseases.  The same manufacturers are advertising many products on both outlets.

In my technology career, back in the days of “big iron” – mainframe computers. IBM and large accounting – consulting firms were famous for marketing fear uncertainty and doubt (FUD).  For small business owners, today when you get ahold of the ideal client profiles, you can easily determine what is keeping that client up at night.  How do you use that information?    To sell to them based on fear – or based on aspiration?

What do all of these conscious marketing shifts have in common?

All of these shifts move us from manipulation to love – to giving a service that legitimately offers something that our clients want or need.  Even if they do not know that they need it.  There is a scene in one of the many Steve Job’s movies.  Steve is backstage at the iMac launch, just after he returned to Apple.  His semi-estranged daughter Lisa is with him backstage.  They are having a tough conversation relating to Steve’s erratic support of Lisa.  He tells her as she is walking away – I’m going to put a 1000 songs in your pocket.  Did he say this – I don’t know.  But part of Steve’s greatness was enabled by his brokenness, I do not doubt that love drove the creation of the many products that Steve Jobs helped to create at Apple.

I have used Apple and Steve Jobs a number of times in this blog.  I have done this because I do not think that conscious marketing has got to be perfect or that it has to be less successful than the marketing that it replaces.  I believe that when done properly conscious marketing is more successful than what it replaces. And you can only use conscious marketing effectively if you are using conscious capitalism in the DNA of your company.

The Conscious Capitalism Credo states – “capitalism is good, noble, and heroic in and of itself” – and they go on to inspire us to do more to be more. I am concerned that unless a company undergoes these nine shifts in the entire company – not just in marketing – that conscious marketing is greenwashing.

I’d be happy to help you in your shifts to conscious capitalism. If you are already convinced that conscious capitalism and conscious marketing makes sense to you, then fill out our signature brand audit and I will review your answers and we can discuss options for you in a free call or face to face meeting.  If not, like our Facebook Page and we will promote future conscious marketing blogs to your newsfeed.  And please feel free to leave us feedback.

We also have a free gift for you – simply click on the image below and we will send you an eBook on how you can take seven steps to the creation of conscious marketing for your business.

seven steps to marketing a small business


Image Credits – Adobe Stock

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