Implementing Purpose Through Participation

April 07, 2016 | Robert Schermers
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In January 2016, we signed a strategic alliance agreement with in/PACT, a global purpose activation platform, and since then we have continued to work on One World Play Project, as well as working together on an event in San Francisco just before the Super Bowl. Currently we are working closely to develop a platform that will enable kids to build global, virtual bridges between each other in order to impact the world for the better. Why did we decide to work together and how can our clients benefit from the alliance?

The Profits of Partnership

In projects we do as Innate Motion, we sometimes see that we have developed a brand point of view and product truth based on the people we serve, one that could lead to an extremely powerful execution. But our clients often seek further help to bring the purpose and product truth to life and action. in/PACT is one of the means to help our clients do so, thereby enabling the people a brand serves to participate in the role a brand has defined for itself. We also see an opportunity the other way around: sometimes in/PACT comes across clients who are very interested in the way in/PACT allows employees and consumers to participate in bringing the purpose of the brand to life but they seek further strategic help on who should be the people they focus on and how they can create more clarity on the role of their brand in a cultural context, on a strategic level. We felt that by combining the two roles, we could help in better servicing clients who do feel, just like in/PACT and Innate Motion, that growth and brand-role in society go hand in hand.  

Engineering Change Through Participation

in/PACT is a participation enabler. When we talk about movement brands, the element of participation is essential. A brand can share ideas, a brand can influence behaviors, but in my view a brand will only become a movement brand when it creates participation. in/PACT allows participation in the most direct way, it creates relevant conversations with the people we serve and it helps gain a better understanding of what really makes the people we serve act. Our alliance has made me even more passionate in spreading the view that participation is the next stage in marketing and that brands need to design for this. This is still very unknown territory for most FMCG brands.

Measuring the Scale of Purpose

in/PACT has also brought GoodCoins to the table, a virtual currency that can be donated to a cause of choice. GoodCoin will be a useful tool for measuring the actions of the people you serve when you get them on board with a shared vision and purpose. That said, GoodCoins are more than a measurement tool and I’ll explain why.

Measurability is relevant on two levels. Firstly, let’s think about the people we serve as a brand. As you might have read, Brazil is in an enormous financial and political crisis. Corruption throughout the whole political and business system, in any project where private and public sector meet is shameless and blatantly present everywhere. Together with millions of people, my wife, her daughter and myself recently went onto the street to protest. Not against any party specifically, just against the blatant, shameless corruption, abuse of power and self-enrichment, which seems to be inherent to Brazil’s political system. For a lot of Brazilians, going onto the street is already something big, and people would not go again if the protests lead to nothing. But the movements are impactful, the manifestations do lead to small changes and the politicians have to hear the streets. That motivates people to go again, to raise their voice once more, to show again that not enough has changed yet.

The same applies for movement brands: As a movement brand, you do not create a radically new idea in society, but you express a thought, feeling or idea that a lot of people already share. You stage the view and invite others to participate in driving the change you envision (and others envision). When you create impact together, and can show so, the movement gets stronger and gains more voices and traction. The connections between you and the people you serve get stronger. That is on the consumer side: results drive movement which drives results. Measurability is key to indeed show results.

The other element of measurability is the financial side of business. From my own experience in marketing, I know that results of campaigns are often hard to measure and that agencies often try to stay away from measurement. However, when you have limited resources—and even the biggest brands have limited resources—you want to know what impact you create, how many people you are talking with, how their actions and attitudes versus your brand change and how you as brand create impact; all leading to business growth. You need to justify your investment so you want to know your result. in/PACT and its technology help in this as well: it enables you to measure consumer response easily and quickly.

To me, GoodCoins as such goes even further: it is a currency of giving, of doing good, provided by participating brands to bring their purpose to life, which you can gain by supporting causes close to your heart and showing behaviors that are good for the world we live in. GoodCoins as a concept can travel far to influence behaviors and to drive more meaningful growth of businesses around the world. A currency of good rather than a currency of greed is an idea that can have global transformational impact, traveling across brands, countries, regions and people. So yes, a tool to measure, but a far more powerful concept once it gains momentum.

Innate Motion and in/PACT share a common philosophy of doing good and giving back to society because nowadays, these are essential parts of doing business and building brands. Building real connections with the people we serve will only happen if we create real value for them, and only then will we create unstoppable movements that hold a strong purpose at their core. If we look at our partnership with in/PACT and see the value it is creating, one can only imagine the value that can be created when all the people your brand serves partner up too.

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Robert Schermers

Robert has a bachelor´s degree in business administration and a master´s in law. He started his career in the Netherlands and built his expertise over 18 years at Unilever. He worked in challenging marketing and business positions in various European countries as well as in South Africa and in Brazil. Robert knows from experience the massive positive impact on both business results and society of really putting people first in brands and teams, and is a true ambassador for humanizing business in the widest sense of the term. He loves exploring new cultures, leaving the beaten track. He has spent months traveling India and Malaysia; he has climbed Aconcagua (the highest mountain in the Americas at about 7,000 meters); he has spent weeks with indigenous families in the jungle of Colombia; and he loves to take the more adventurous routes when skiing, hiking, or diving. As a student, he already felt strongly attracted by the positive spirit, culture, beauty, and opportunities of Latin America, and his stay in Brazil made him decide to make this beautiful country his home. He currently lives with his wife in São Paulo, Brazil.