Interview Afdhel Aziz: 'Marketing with meaning'

Op 12 september is Afdhel Aziz, co-auteur van het baanbrekende boek 'Good is the New Cool' keynote op het gelijknamige evenement in Rotterdam. "Brands need to find purpose and relevancy to ensure existence", is zijn boodschap.

What did you bring to co-write the Good is the New Cool-book?
Afdhel Aziz: "I wrote the book with my co-auther Bobby Jones because we both felt disillusioned by marketing as a profession and wanted to find a way for our legacy to be more than just making people buy more stuff. We believe many marketers out there are feeling the same way and we wrote this book to help them find a way to practice their craft in a way that builds brands, drives revenue AND creates positive social impact.”It’s not about ‘giving back’, it’s about ‘winning the future’

What are the most important challenges for brands today? And why is Good the New Cool the answer?

"According to research, consumers woudn''t care if 74% of brands disappeared ;- so brands need to find purpose and relevancy to ensure existence, especially to meet the needs of new generations of consumers like Millennials and Gen Z who are demanding that the brands in their lives add meaning and value. Good is the New Cool presents a model for ‘making money and doing good by harnessing the power of cool’ that helps builds purpose-driven brands for the 21st century.”

Good is the New Cool presents a model for 'making money and doing good by harnessing the power of cool'. The subtitle of your book is: Market Like You Give a Damn!. Brands don’t give a damn enough?

"I think most brands don't give a damn about making the lives of their customers better; they just rely on disrupting their attention with advertising in order to persuade them to buy their products. Giving a damn about customers means finding ways for your marketing to solve problems in their lives instead of bombarding them with more advertising.”

Most brands don't give a damn about making the lives of their customers better

You say that purpose is the 5th P in Marketing. Why should every brand formulate a purpose and start from there?
"Without knowing the Purpose of a brand - the higher order reason it exists to serve people than just making money - how can a brand know what product to make, what price to charge and where to promote and place it? All too often brands have forgotten everything in search of that quarterly profit goal.”

You mention the impact of technology in your book. Why do you emphasize on that?
"Technology is the most disruptive force to the traditional marketing model- witness the rise of ad blockers and cord-cutters meaning customers dont have to see TV or digital ads - but also the greatest opportunity to create meaningful and positive experiences that enhance and drive customer advocacy and loyalty. It’s a double edged sword.”

We are moving beyond Corporate Social Responsibilty to Corporate Social Opportunity

How can marketers combine commercial objectives with the desire to do "good”?
"The way we sum it up is that we are moving beyond Corporate Social Responsibilty to Corporate Social Opportunity: the smartest brands in the world - Tesla, Tom’s, Adidas - are the ones realising that the worlds biggest problems are actually the worlds biggest opportunities to create new commercial success. It’s not about ‘giving back’, it’s about ‘winning the future’.”

Does Good is the New Cool count for all brands. Or is it only for very cool brands with very cool products?
"It works for any brand, non profit or start up in any category. To put it simply, if it’s good we can help it be cool : if it’s cool we can help it be good. If it’s neither, we can help it be both!”

What brands are doing well?

"I love Tesla as an example that keeps aiming higher and higher; their purpose is ‘To help accelerate the planet’s transition to sustainable energy’. They started with cars and are now moving to solar roofs, batteries that power your home and the Hyperloop transportation system. So inspirational!”

What is the future role of NGO’s and what can NGO’s learn from your book?
"NGO’s need to evolve to use the power of technology and culture ;- we profile some of the ‘new wave’ NGO’s like Charity Water, Global Citizen and Pencils of Promise who are doing amazing things. They also have to learn to form alliances of common purpose with brands and artists to get the job done better.”

Is Good is the New Cool the end of the process, or do you already see new developments in marketing?

"Through our consultancy Conspiracy of Love we have worked with brands like Adidas, Sonos, Bombay Sapphire Gin, Mars and Coty on using the principles in the book and we already see how the field is evolving and moving forward. The social good space is evolving like the digital space - there is no fixed end point, there’s always new innovation.”

What will be your key takeaway on the Good is the New Cool-event?

"There is a way to do ‘marketing with meaning’, it’s what your brand needs, what your consumers need and what the planet needs. Come and find out how!”

Good is the New Cool vindt plaats op 12 september 2017 in Rotterdam. Naast Afdhel Aziz spreken ook Merijn Everaarts (CEO Dopper) en Lisa Hogg (Marketing Director EMEA TOMS). In het afsluitende panel zitten bovendien Anniek Mauser (Directeur Duurzaamheid Unilever Benelux), Jeroen Overgoor (Directeur Communication & Public Affairs Eneco Groep) en Mark Versteegen (Directeur Sponsoring KPN).