The Evolution of Corporate Focus
“Over the past 60 years, marketing has moved from being product-centric (Marketing 1.0) to being consumer-centric (Marketing 2.0). Today we see marketing as transforming once again in response to the new dynamics in the environment. We see companies expanding their focus from products to consumers to humankind issues. Marketing 3.0 is the stage when companies shift from consumer-centricity to human-centricity and where profitability is balanced with corporate responsibility.” - Phillip Kotler
Phillip Kotler's quote offers a concise explanation on the evolution of marketing, which by default also begins to define the evolution of organizational culture. In marketing/organizational culture phase 1.0 we saw organizations like Apple really define themselves. Their focus was/is on product and their culture reflects that. By now we have all heard the infamous stories of Steve Jobs and his dictator-like leadership style, so I won't take your time up reiterating those, but it is important to note that Apple is still one of the most successful companies as far as profits and products. Do people publicly rave about the fun they have working there?... not so much. Do young people beg for a cubicle seat at Apple straight out of college... not so much.
In phase 2.0, it was all about the consumer. There are a plethora of articles pointing to healthcare as the primary consumer-driven market. Kaiser Permanente has phenomenal brand recognition and consumers are their bread and butter. Just like Apple, Kaiser has been successful at their model, but it is not likely that you will hear many (non-healthcare focused) college seniors say, "My dream is to work for Kaiser Permanente right after college!". (To the college seniors who are exceptions to this statement, please excuse my generalization).
Last but not least, phase 3.0. We are in the midst of this phase right now; we have moved from product to consumer to human-centric. Organizations are now flooding their corporate websites with tabs, articles, and videos all about "Corporate Responsibility". IBM, Avon, Target, Intel, TOMS Shoes... this list goes on and on! What used to be the "do-good" ending slide in the yearly corporate meeting has now become mainstream and center stage.
As a consumer, do you simply compare the price and quality of products? Or do you think about how well the company that makes the product treats its employees; how ethical the company is; and whether they engage with local communities?
Chances are, you think you do the former—but according to a study by Reputation Institute, your willingness to buy, recommend, work for, and invest in a company is driven 60% by your perceptions of the company—or it’s reputation, and only 40% by your perceptions of the products or services it sells.
This phase brings new meaning to a well-rounded company. Not only do your products need to be great and your consumer needs to be happy, but you now must place focus on humankind issues. We now see college seniors knocking on the doors of organizations that promote their social causes and serve as advocates in their community. It's an interesting and revolutionary time to be an organization and to be a candidate!
Do you think phase 3.0 is here to stay?