Patagonia’s former consumer marketing leads offers his take that it is a business’ job – and therefore our job – to use design and marketing to help the consumer invoke meaningful change in our world. We, as business leaders, are responsible for starting the process and then must take note of what is responded to by the end customer to chart the path. There’s also a strong bottom-line case and framework in the book worth understanding.
Who Should Read It: Every marketing leader should and company builders committed to building businesses that make the world a better place.
Overall Rating: 8/10
Any “sustainability” effort must first begin with the sustainability of the business and its leaders.
“By understanding the journey your best customers take to become your best customers you can remove the guesswork from your creative. You can understand exactly the messages that resonate the most, the experiences your advocates have had that matter most, the product attributes they value most, and the most important reason they support your brand. If you truly know this in advance of developing your communications campaign and designing your customer’s experience, you can effectively tell the story that will move your customers to understanding rather than just trying to get them to do what you want.
“The path to long-term, sustainable loyalty is based on an unspoken agreement: You believe what I believe and I believe what you believe. Now we can do business from a place of trust and inspiration.”
“The effort to craft the communications and the experience is a holistic undertaking, architect gin the brand’s core values into the landscape of every touch point of branding, marketing, product, and service. Similar to a blueprint for a home, it’s the beginning of everything.”
Craig presents a model for growth that involves a focus on migrating users through a cycle from Prospects to Casuals (first brand experience), to Loyalists (Ongoing partnership), to Cheerleaders (sharing Evolution through word of mouth). The idea being that each level is both an increase in relationship and revenue.
In this model, our core job is architecting a brand experience that connects our clients more deeply to their values. Doing so not only drives loyalty, but is the design imperative to remedy our world’s problems locally and globally. Most sales, marketing, and customer experiences have been built atop shadow values – “This will help me belong”, “This helps me numb my feelings”, “This will give me more power”
Patagonia and other soul-oriented brands tap into a deeper source of wisdom and want; a want for a better world.
Through a spiral dynamics lens, you can see most marketing efforts as orange (achievement), some green. Then the book becomes a guide on how marketing efforts might move into the “being” memes by connecting with an individuals values.
The magic bullet is to improve the rate of migration from one stage to the next by providing the correct customer experience at each milestone. Begin by diagnosing what first time buyers are missing in experience, communication, or belief that is required to motivate them to the next stage and next purchase.
To compete your brand must win the hearts and minds of your target audience and your brand must continue to win the hearts and minds of your existing customers. If your brand can’t connect meaningfully enough and uniquely engage prospects , casuals, and loyalists such that they are migrating to the next segment, ultimately your brand will not create enough cheerleaders fast enough to viably sustain your organization.
Understanding the logic and how to manage the migration your prospects to become cheerleaders should be the focal point of everything you do.
It’s imperative your brand’s story is clear and well executed with content, community, and commerce based on general brand values and beliefs. However, avoid the pitfalls of communicating en masse with your constituency. Instead consider the granular aspects of your customers experience based on the tenure with you.
Doing this allows you to enact a tracking and measurement system that accurately predicts the following: how long it takes to create that cheerleader how much they will spend along the way, how many cheerleaders you can create over a given period of time, and how much that group as a collective whole will contribute in profit at some point in the future.
Being customer centric is a mistake. Instead be your own essence-centric. Create a strategy that reflects your core purpose, beliefs, and values and put that at the center of your business. Then integrate this in its entirety and every aspect of the value chain, communicating your purpose clearly to your customers to explain to them why they should care, why they should buy, and ultimately why they should become your cheerleader – telling others about your brand.
Only once you’ve clearly acknowledge and committed to a core reason for being then you can define the stories and artifacts that matter to you and will serve as the touch points for your customers.
Why This Matters for Our World
There’s a disconnect between a vision for the world as a peaceful, sustainable biosphere and our ability to realize that vision is a global society, and as global citizens. Harboring this model we see that if we truly understand what makes users and providers tick in every circumstance, then we can design a functioning economy that won’t kill us. It’s up to us as global citizens to drive the right kind of demand.