Many years ago an advertising icon, Jerry Della Femina, warned ad agencies about inflating the cost of producing commercials. He likened the inflated costs of advertising to the then bloated cost of movie production. His views were published in 1969, lifetimes before the Internet.
He said: “The day is coming. When the man who foots the bill is going to revolt. When the manager is going to say ‘ Why?’. When all is said and done the $ 100,000 dollar commercial (with inflation $300,000) is going to disappear forever. “
Jerry could not imagine social networking’s interactive communication. He had no insight to social-mobile-e-commerce or the impact of self-publishing on opinion-driven endorsements. Essentially, Jerry foresaw agencies losing their ability to give high value to their customers because they were focused on their own bottom lines rather than on their customers’. Highly produced commercials and media spending in support of them are disappearing. Lesson learned: Focus on your customer.
The biggest advertiser, P&G is announcing a “stunning new business strategy” to jump-start growth. They claim it is a startling, counter-intuitive way to innovation, proposing that brands develop values and sense of purpose to invoke the heart and care about human needs. Succeed at that, so goes the natural extension of that strategy, and revenue and profit will follow. Duh!
We have long argued that, to be successful, businesses have to find and deliver the emotional benefit of their products and services to customers. A product’s end benefits support the emotional value claims. This concept is tough for entrepreneurs to grab onto, but is essential to the creation of great companies.
The synopsis of P&G’s strategy from Knowledge@Wharton follows, which is not only the way forward for entrepreneurs with tiny businesses in the grand scheme of things:
- Inspire employees to add their hearts to their heads.
- Add a third P to performance measurement: potential for impact. (This means “change the world”.)
- If purpose-inspired opportunities and commercial considerations seem to conflict, find another way.