Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Measuring Human Values

What fuels growth?

Earlier I had suggested that marketing should own a human activity like search, shop or view.  Last night Jim Stengel, former CMO of P&G, argued that companies should take the high road and focus on a core human value.   His list of five from the book Grow included:
  • Eliciting Joy
  • Enabling Connection
  • Inspiring Exploration
  • Evoking Pride
  • Impacting Society
Focusing on this level results in some truly remarkable companies - Coca Cola, Starbucks, Discovery, Mercedes-Benz, and IBM - from the list of 50 that had superior performance over the past decade. 

These are clearly ethereal ideals that make measurement just a bit tricky.  Jim relayed a story that focused on measuring engagement with the ideal with just two questions.  Are employees living it? Are customers experiencing it?    If we are making progress along those two dimensions, then financial results follow.  As an example, for Visa the measurement is around both rational and emotional brand attributes:  Trust, Secure, Reliable and Empowerment, Freedom and Control.   All of this to create better living with better money.  

But just what is a human value?  Here is a potential definition.
  • Values are beliefs. But they are beliefs tied inextricably to emotion, not objective, cold ideas.
  • Values are a motivational construct. They refer to the desirable goals people strive to attain.
  • Values transcend specific actions and situations. They are abstract goals.
  • Values guide the selection or evaluation of actions, policies, people, and events. That is, values serve as standards or criteria.
  • Values are ordered by importance relative to one another. People’s values form an ordered system of value priorities that characterize them as individuals.
These criteria suggest there are several other potential values or ideals that could serve the basis for a business.

As a marketing agency I'm still stuck at the verb level with 'helping people choose' - need to elevate my thinking.

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