Proudly Unreachable

Let’s go back to the soap story for a moment. What does it reveal about the inevitable next rebellions? Here are five clues:

  1. My young friend built an emotional attachment to the humans behind the product more than to the product itself. The soapmakers helped her believe in their vision and their cause without ever actually selling anything. Who is the human we can believe in at Ivory?
  2. My young friend is immune to traditional advertising even when an iconic product like Ivory soap has been promoted heavily for more than 100 years. She explained to me that she streams her television show, listens to ad-free satellite radio and podcasts, and has an ad-blocker on her phone and computer. She literally sees no ads.
  3. There is no “marketing” for this local product in any traditional sense. My friend bought the soap because she could see a tangible benefit in her community. And she paid a lot more for it compared to established brands. The value of the purpose behind the company and alignment with her personal values outweigh any need to economize and buy the safer choice of Ivory soap.
  4. She told this story in such a compelling way that it made me want to but the soap, too. The power of word-of-mouth referrals and a social media-fueled supply chain levels the playing field, eliminating the historical barriers of owning shelf space at mass retailers or contracting with gigantic New York ad agencies. A story that is meaningful, believable, and relevant can define the brand. The company’s story is so authentic that it’s passionately carried forward by my young friend. The customers are now the marketers.
  5. There was no sales funnel, at least not like the one in your company PowerPoint deck. There was no “customer journey” to dissect other than the one that my friend chose for herself. How do you market to a person who is seemingly unreachable? In fact, proudly unreachable.

– from “Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins” by Mark Schaefer