Monday, 8 April 2013

Co-opting out

I read a good blog recently from Mark Bonchek in the Harvard Business Review Blog entitled Purpose is good. Shared purpose is better. The author looks at a number of Mission Statements and similar statements of Brand or Company Purpose and comes to the conclusion that we should think about whether our Brand Purpose takes the preposition "for" or "with".

Here are two examples in a similar category:

Dunkin Donuts: Make and serve the freshest, most delicious coffee and donuts quickly and courteously in  modern, well-merchandised stores

Starbucks: Our Mission: to inspire and nurture the human spirit - one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time

The Dunkin Donuts statement, and the other examples of "for" purposes that the author gives are very product or category-focussed and are about "delivery" rather than "participation". The Starbucks example - and the rest of the "with" examples - are less about the product, but more about the human benefit.

Mark Bonchek argues that the "with" statements are the way we should be going as customers become co-creators.

I'm with him. Up to a point.

You see, I think that there are some brands that are more about participation and co-creation than others. Football Clubs are an obvious example, as well as sports brands generally. Brands that have an element of creativity or DIY at their heart, from Apple to IKEA to Lego also fit the bill.

But there are other lower interest categories where I don't want to co-create or join a community. I want to trust the brand to get on and provide me with a good service or product that does the job. This can be anything from the more complex, necessary evils like Insurance or Financial Services right down to the literally bog-standard everyday products such as bog roll and bog cleaner.

More unexpectedly perhaps, I don't necessarily want to get into co-creating or clubbing with certain luxury brands. I like these to maintain their glamour, their mystique, their superior expertise that's beyond mere mortals such as I.

And, to be honest, when I go for a good coffee and a donut, I'd like just that, rather than any botched-up attempts to inspire and nurture my spirit. That takes something other than a triple-skinny-sodapop-creme-fluff.


Whisks said...

With you all the way, Sue. And I might go further: brands trying to make a product more than it clearly is (a coffee chain soothing the spirit?), make me uncomfortable, as though they're haven't enough to say and are trying to dupe me.

Sue said...

Thanks! And one of these days, let's meet for a cup of spirit-soother....yeurch!

Whisks said...

Certainly! Next time you're over in Blighty, let me know.