Why it's time to find your purpose

Johnson & Johnson's marketing and communications chief, Rowena Millward, advocates dropping the traditional four Ps of marketing and embracing new purpose and personality

Marketers have traditionally relied on the four ‘ps’ principle to get their message across to consumers. But brands need to now articulate a clear purpose, engage with personality and promise possibility if they’re to remain relevant in the new age of authenticity and dynamic one-to-one consumer exchange.

That’s the belief of Johnson & Johnson’s senior director of integrated communications/digital for global marketing, Rowena Millward, who spoke at this year’s ADMA Global Forum. She claimed purpose and personality are what motivate the latest generations of consumers, and are therefore the tools modern marketers must use to ensure their brands resonate effectively.

“Yes, Johnson & Johnson is about a range of different products, and there’s lot of great technology and science behind them, but purpose is what unites us as a company,” she told attendees. “Purpose is powerful – there is a lot of data around the performance of purpose, and how it is one of the most critical things in creating equity.”

Millward used Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to position how the marketing journey is maturing and the higher creativity level brands should strive for. She added the ‘Mad Men’ era, where brands focused on the fundamentals or benefits of the product or service, are well and truly over.

“There is so much variety out there now, and generally the products are of a high quality and meeting our needs,” she said. “This sea of choice is making it difficult for us to get our messages to consumers.”

On top of that, the plethora of communication channels available are making cut-through even more complicated, Millward said.

“We are in the platinum age of creativity, but we end up doing the same things because there’s so much to do, it’s so hard, there’s so much complexity,” she said. “We have to get out of this mindset and start focusing on what we are doing that really makes a difference.”

Millward advised marketers to embrace a new set of purpose-led four ‘Ps’: Personal; people and relationships; presence; and possibilities.

“When you think about the hierarchy Maslow presented, it starts with function, then emotion, then purpose,” she said. “I’m not saying function is wrong, because there are things we need to communicate about our products. But don’t stop at function and emotion – think about purpose. That’s the part that really helps to differentiate and is critical.”

Video: ADMA Global Forum 2013 round-up

As an example of the personal approach, Millward outlined Johnson & Johnson’s recently successful brand building initiative in China, the iMom Community. As well as social collaboration and information sharing, the program advocated better breastfeeding facilities for working women in China, a major issue with new mums who need to pump and store breast milk while working. The initiative also saw J&J providing courier services to send breast milk home.

The campaign gained significant media coverage, and videos were viewed and shared 11 million times within the first three months. Weibo tweets also increased by 2.5 million, fans increased 700 per cent, likeability increased 27 per cent, and 32,000 working pump stickers were shipped.

Millward said Johnson & Johnson’s purpose was to enable the mother-baby bond and connect around a negative but real situation. “When you’re thinking about purpose, make it deep and personal. This means recognising things are tough, and situations where there’s not always joy,” she advised.

People and relationships is about utilising your partners to improve the message, Millward continued. Presence is ensuring your brand is present and engaged at the right place and the right time.

The final P, possibilities, is about adding opportunity to your purpose. “That potential is something you really want to believe in, that can take you to new places in the future,” Millward said.

To get there, Millward detailed several key steps for marketers:

  • Find your story.
  • Find your filter.
  • Find the ‘why’; what is it he or she really cares about?
  • Show, don’t just tell – engage and be real. Today’s world is not if I believe you, but if I experienced you, Millward said.
  • Remember it’s not all about you. Listen and share purpose. “This is infinitely more powerful than a purpose owned by just a few,”she added.

Other ADMA Global Forum coverage
How the TAB was dragged into the customer age
Why relationship is the new currency for marketers
How to navigate the data analytics path
Marketers are trapped in an operational mindset: Nestle’s CMO
Marketers must transform their story:McKinsey

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia

Signup to CMO’s new email newsletter to receive your weekly dose of targeted content for the modern marketing chief.

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

Top tips to uncovering consumer insights for business innovation

An in-depth understanding of consumers sits at the heart of what we all need to do, but we know it’s not always easy to uncover insights that will unlock a true innovation opportunity.

Matt Whale

Managing director, How To Impact

Is your customer experience program suffering bright shiny object syndrome?

You may have heard of ‘bright shiny object syndrome’. The term is used to describe new initiatives undertaken by organisations that either lack a strategic approach, or suffer from a failure to effectively implement.

Leveraging technology to stand out in the sea of sameness

The technology I'm talking about here is data and marketing automation. Current digital marketing methodology, much as it is practiced at Bluewolf, dictates the need for a strategy that does four things: Finds the right audience, uses the right channel, delivers the right content, and does all of that at the right time.

Eric Berridge

CEO and co-founder of Bluewolf, an IBM Company

Lead Management is very important part of the process. For anyone running Facebook Lead Ads I would recommend using this service.Get your...

Dirk Lo

How this fintech startup is improving content marketing and lead generation

Read more

I am agreeing with Mr. Tyron Hayes that a measured test-and-learn approach could be missing opportunities to not only better engage custo...

rush essay reviews

CMO interview: How Curtin University’s marketing chief is using test and learn to cope with complexity

Read more

Excellent!

Dr Sadasivan,US

Shakespeare shows data and creativity aren’t Montagues and Capulets

Read more

Great article! Agreed with all... Matthew Lerner, Deeps De Silva... When a company has a great product that solves customers needs, a gre...

James Tyler

Why marketers are embracing growth hacking techniques

Read more

Very good article, Social media analytics helps in problem identification. They can serve as an early warning system for negative custome...

BizVinu

Four ways to use social media to boost customer loyalty

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in