10. Build­ing the brand and mar­ket­ing

Element - - Business -

No mat­ter whether you’re run­ning a busi­ness or a so­cial en­ter­prise the most pow­er­ful mar­ket­ing tool in your kit is a good story.

So says Va­lerie Manna, se­nior lec­turer of mar­ket­ing at Lin­coln Univer­sity.

She cites the ex­am­ple of Rekin­dle as a great sto­ry­teller. The Christchurch-based com­pany takes na­tive tim­ber har­vested from the earth­quake-wrecked Christchurch homes and turns it into beau­ti­ful fur­ni­ture.

“They use Face­book as their main tool, but they tell such good sto­ries that they are widely shared. They’ve recog­nised that as the strength of their propo­si­tion – as well as their great prod­uct of course.”

Manna re­cently pre­sented a re­search pa­per to the Aus­tralia New Zealand Mar­ket­ing As­so­ci­a­tion on the mar­ket­ing of an app de­signed by Lin­coln stu­dents for the Imag­ine Cup, a global tech com­pe­ti­tion run by Mi­crosoft. The aim of the app was to con­nect peo­ple in need with oth­ers with a sur­plus – whether it be food, cloth­ing, fur­ni­ture – and have them con­nect and trade.

“They knew how to put this re­ally com­pli­cated bit of soft­ware to­gether, but didn’t know how to get it out there.

“What you’re talk­ing about with so­cial mar­ket­ing is ‘I’m sell­ing you be­havioural change. I want you to stop smok­ing. I want you to drive the speed limit. I want you to take birth con­trol. I want you to buy this prod­uct be­cause it doesn’t have a detri­men­tal ef­fect on the en­vi­ron­ment.

“You’re try­ing to shape your com­mu­ni­ca­tion and un­der­stand the ob­sta­cles to solv­ing th­ese big so­ci­etal goals. You’re ap­ply­ing mar­ket­ing tech­niques in or­der to get so­cially ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iours.”

Manna says mar­ket­ing of so­cial en­ter­prises is of­ten highly cre­ative – a re­sult of having lit­tle or no re­sources to fund a tra­di­tional mar­ket­ing campaign. “You may have a com­mu­nity group with a prob­lem, and a prod­uct or ser­vice to amelo­ri­ate it, but how are they go­ing to mar­ket it? How do they pay for that? That’s where, tra­di­tion­ally, it may break down, and where peo­ple start to get cre­ative.”

Manna says that mar­keters must put them­selves in the shoes of their tar­get au­di­ence when it comes to de­cid­ing the tone of their mes­sage. “For some a pos­i­tive mes­sage works re­ally well. For oth­ers you might find that a fear ap­peal is ap­pro­pri­ate. You re­ally have to know who you want to do what, and what mo­ti­vates them.

“You have to ask ‘how familiar are they with the mes­sage?’ Do they have any pre­con­cep­tions you have to over­come? You also have to fig­ure out the most ap­pro­pri­ate chan­nels of com­mu­ni­ca­tion to find your tar­get mar­ket, and what you want from them. Do you want them to like you? Is it aware­ness? Do you want them to choose one prod­uct over an­other? It’s got to be re­ally spe­cific, be­cause you don’t have the money to be throw­ing around hop­ing some­thing works.”

Manna also of­fers some fairly tra­di­tional mar­ket­ing ad­vice: “It’s also about putting such ef­fort into a cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence that they come away in­cred­i­bly happy; happy enough so that they be­come part of your mar­ket­ing team.”

Last year’s Col­mar Brun­ton Bet­ter Busi­ness, Bet­ter World sur­vey shows that or­gan­i­sa­tions are miss­ing the mark, or mud­ding the wa­ter around what are do­ing and the way they com­mu­ni­cate it to their cus­tomers. A whop­ping 64% of re­spon­dents ei­ther agreed or some­what agreed that the way busi­nesses talk about sus­tain­abil­ity is “con­fus­ing.”

Va­lerie Manna, se­nior lec­turer – mar­ket­ing at Lin­coln Univer­sity.

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