Scott Goodson is Wrecking the World

Here at TCT, we occasionally like to connect the expansion of the big business marketing universe to the names and faces pulling the levers, on the theory that they deserve some small proper credit for their sociopathy.

Today’s featured creep is Scott Goodson, pictured at left. Mr. Goodson is what I think of as a marketer of marketing. The M-o-M’s schtick is to exaggerate some small tweak to the long-established tricks of the trade and peddle it back to “the business community” as the next big thing.

Goodson’s version of this is so-called “Movement Marketing,” or the effort to make marketing campaigns look and feel like they are “uprisings” — Uprising is the title of Goodson’s new book — driven by ordinary people’s deepest passions and hopes for a better world. Mimicry of the frustrated spirit of the age, in other words.

Goodson, of course, always presents some window dressing about the authenticity of his scheme, suggesting that it is somehow a legitimate expression of “a shared passion to make a change for the better.”

That, however is just the cover story, as Goodson admits that “Movement Marketing” is indeed merely “just a clever way for a brand to get you [the customer] involved and ultimately buy their product.” The core idea is that:

[I]n these times, people will look to brands to be leaders and change agents. People will pay attention to how you conduct yourself, what you believe in, what you’re willing to take a stand on. If they like what they see, they’ll rally around your brand.

What does it mean in practice?

As described by one of Goodson’s associates, movement marketing accomplishes wondrous things like — wait for it — moving the tree pulp faster on behalf of Procter & Gamble:

There’s a new movement afoot, a new way for the world to do business. And it’s inspired, in part, by Pampers.

Yes, Pampers: the iconic American brand, the first mass-market disposable diapers, a product that many of you probably waddled around in in your earliest years. But by 1997, when Procter & Gamble asked me to oversee Pampers Europe, it had become the company’s poorest performer in terms of market share growth and profitability. My team eventually identified the problem: the brand was so focused on a single benefit of the product–dryness–that it was no longer resonating with the evolving needs of moms.

As I describe in my recent book, Grow, we traveled the globe to talk to mothers about their concerns, and eventually created a new brand ideal: Pampers didn’t just keep babies dry; rather, it was a product that would partner with parents throughout their baby’s stages of physical, social and emotional development. The result? We had a mission that inspired all of the brand’s stakeholders–marketing, sales, manufacturing, engineering and suppliers, as well as consumers–and the business that brought in $3.4 billion in 1997 is now a $9 billion business.

I was continually reminded of Pampers as I served as P&G’s Global Marketing Officer from 2001 to 2008, as I saw more and more that the brands that existed to improve peoples lives–to make them easier, more joyful or more interesting–were the brands that enjoyed the most success. And it wasn’t just broadcasting these ideals to the consumer that made it happen; true success only occurred when everyone involved in the brand shared and embraced the ideal. Was business growth ultimately driven by brands that are truly dedicated to fundamental human values?

Inspiring, deeply democratic stuff, isn’t it? Some yuppie-bespectacled jerks tricked some targets into telling them what they care about, and thereby learned to craft better, more resonant marketing hyperbole that sold more paper diapers for a Global 500 corporation.

Truly, we live in an Age of Miracles!

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