Brands respect the Queen, Meta ghost customers, Patagonia purpose over profits - Marketing News 017
Brands respect the Queen, Meta ghost customers, Patagonia purpose over profits – Marketing News 017
Martin Henley [00:00:24] Hello there. My name’s Martin Henley, this is the Effective Marketing content extravaganza and if you’ve spent a second here, you will know that I’m on a mission to give you everything you need to be successful in your business. Providing, of course, what you need to be successful in your business is to know more about, and be more effective in, implementing your sales and marketing. So I’m here giving you everything I know about sales and marketing. I pull in anyone I can find with experience of sales and marketing that they can share with you and every other Wednesday, although we have missed a Wednesday because poor Melanie had COVID twice, and we bring you the marketing news. So what we do is we look at what’s going on in the world of marketing and then we speculate wildly about how this might affect us in our daily lives. So with us is our superstar special guest recovering from two bouts of COVID. It’s the concierge of co-creation at Crazy Might Work. It’s Melanie Farmer.
Melanie Farmer [00:01:18] Hello? I’m alive. I’m alive.
Martin Henley [00:01:21] You are alive. You are alive and you are almost functioning well. Are you almost functioning well?
Melanie Farmer [00:01:27] I would say 70%.
Martin Henley [00:01:30] 70% is good. Well, you’re looking sharp.
Melanie Farmer [00:01:33] Thank you. Yeah. Getting there.
Martin Henley [00:01:36] Getting there. I think it’s the spring sunshine. Go out and get some spring sunshine that will do you a lot of good.
Melanie Farmer [00:01:41] It’s very nice. It’s 24 here in Sydney, so that’s nice. It’s not raining. Finally, It only took six months to stop.
Martin Henley [00:01:50] Okay, good. That’s good. I’m glad I’m happy for you that it’s not raining. And I’m happy that you are enjoying a beautiful Australian springtime. We have to go fast today because we’ve only got 45 minutes. I don’t think there’s a time for a brag.
Melanie Farmer [00:02:04] Well, apart from we’ve launched our podcast since we spoke and we’ve launched our newsletter since we spoke.
Martin Henley [00:02:10] Okay, fantastic. That’s a great brag. What have I done?
Melanie Farmer [00:02:13] We think we’re a bit crazy doing that, but there you are. It’s happening.
Martin Henley [00:02:17] I don’t think you’re crazy. I think podcasting might be, well, I absolutely hundred percent think that this is the most effective marketing I’ve ever done in my business in the 17 years that I’ve been marketing my business. So I don’t think that’s crazy at all. I think that’s a perfectly sensible thing to do. And it’s already working you’re telling me so ….
Melanie Farmer [00:02:34] Yeah. Your inspiration, by the way. So we’ve secretly everyone I’m getting free advice Vermont and every 5 minutes so I’m very grateful.
Martin Henley [00:02:42] But free advice from me isn’t available to everyone. So everyone knows this is a fantastic deal because every other week Mel comes and spends an hour with me to talk about the news and we do spend, I don’t know, five, ten, 15 minutes maybe talking about what’s going on for her. My boast is I got a new microphone, so hopefully I’m sounding a little bit better. I don’t think I’ve achieved anything else. I did buy my macro lens actually, so I am starting to take pictures of tiny things. I did say I was going to and I have so that’s my boast. Okay, good. The news. What do you want to talk about Melanie Farmer?
What’s in the marketing news.
Melanie Farmer [00:03:17] The passing of Her Majesty the Queen, and how brands are responding to that, which is getting mixed results and having, you know, you get mixed reviews and all that. The second one was Patagonia and how they decided Yvon Chouinard, if I’m getting that correct, decided to give away his $3 billion empire of Patagonia. What I love is that he’s his strapline is Earth is now our only shareholders. So all of their profits and so forth going towards saving the planet initiatives, that’s quite an interesting story that’s been picked up a lot in various places.
Martin Henley [00:04:01] Beautiful. And I’ve got a story Ghosted by Meta; businesses losing out from Facebooks communications stone wall. So that’s the first thing that I want to talk about. This is happening in your part of the world. This is happening I think somewhere in New South Wales. I’m not sure we can check. The other thing I want to talk about is not a story but is very closely connected to what goes on here, which is Google, what’s going on with Google and the Google share price and my very recent experience of trying to engage with Google. So those are the two things that I want to talk about. Minor whinges, to be honest with you. So I think we should go with yours because your sound much more meaningful. Or maybe we’ll do. Obviously the huge news is the passing of Her Majesty the Queen and how brands are responding. Tell us what’s going on.
The passing of the Queen and how brands are showing their respect.
Melanie Farmer [00:04:59] Yes, look, I can send you the link that to the story that I have found, if you like, or the title if that would be helpful. I think what’s interesting is, I mean, it’s very Britain centric in terms of how this is impacting because, of course, that’s where the funeral is. I thought it was interesting that one of the major advertising agencies has chosen to blank all of their posters along the funeral route, for example, during the day, the 19th of September, which is today.
Martin Henley [00:05:38] Which is today.
Melanie Farmer [00:05:39] It will be in 10 hours, because we’re ahead of England. So, yeah, they’ve they’ve chosen to sort of silence all that all advertising along the funeral route. But I guess more importantly, most of the major stores, supermarkets, even home deliveries, etc., from those places have chosen to close their doors for 24 hours, or at least for a full trading day but the pubs are staying open, which is very British. I suppose that what it is, is so that those who are going to the pub to watch the funeral on TV are able to go and do that together. There’s been a bit of backlash around cancelling football games and things like that. I think it’s just an interesting sign of the times because not everybody is a royalist and regardless of the the time that she has been the queen, the sentiment around the monarchy in general is not united. So with any kind of response, it is just interesting to see what effect that has on brands. But, I mean, it’s not that it’s really just events where people are saying, why, why are we not having a game of football this one moment.
Martin Henley [00:07:14] Yeah. Well, it’s interesting because I am sort of a football fan, I’m more interested in the soap opera that goes around football than the actual football these days. So my team, Manchester United, isn’t playing football now, isn’t it playing in the Premier League until October the second. So we seem to have been hit particularly hard. The issue is going to be that we’re going to have we’re going to be games behind and that will have an effect. Celtic, who famously aren’t royalists, they had a disrupted minute’s silence. I think that the issue with football is whether football fans could be trusted to actually honour the thing without without upsetting other people, I think to keep it more in a marketing tone, maybe I’m just cynical now, but it’s like, is everything just? Even though it’s like, even though we’re going to take down all the advertising, is that just not virtue signalling, is that not just not adding to their marketing message? I mean, it’s just in this weird, cynical loop where it’s like even when people do the best thing, we’re going to talk about Patagonia. Maybe I am just too cynical these days.
Melanie Farmer [00:08:21] Yeah. And in fact, if you’re if I’m reading this story, it is the there’s advice about treading carefully in response and very mixed feelings. There’s a weird thing that happened with Centre Parcs, which for those who don’t know what that is, it’s basically holiday resorts for families like caravan parks and sort of thing.
Martin Henley [00:08:42] Where did you find this? Is there something that we could be looking at?
Melanie Farmer [00:08:45] Yeah. So if you go it’s marketingweek.com/brandspayrespectsqueen’sfuneral. It’s broken into sections so you’ve got how sport will do it and how to do it, what the media are saying and there’s all these sort of no ads, which is kind of weird. It’s interesting on and on all of these like Channel Four and ITV, all of the media have said they’re going to not show any ads during the period of the funeral.
Martin Henley [00:09:21] Right.
Melanie Farmer [00:09:22] The roads and all the bakeries, Greggs bakeries and so forth, they’re all closing as a mark of respect and so on.
Martin Henley [00:09:30] Have they made it a public holiday or not?
Melanie Farmer [00:09:33] I think the 19th is not an official public holidays, but they just that’s the day of the funeral. I mean, Australia on the 22nd has declared an official public holiday to allow people to mourn. And then there’s this I mean, this is again, may cynical is to say some Australians are so distraught by the passing of the queen, they will also have to have Friday off because they’ve chosen to make Thursday the official day of mourning in Australia and of course that’s before Friday. So probably there’ll be a bit of a long weekend thing going on. I think what is happening is the idea that anyone is sincere, it’s almost impossible to really be seen as being sincere because there’s a backlash about, you know what?
Martin Henley [00:10:32] I’ll tell you who is sincere is David Beckham what an absolute legend.
Melanie Farmer [00:10:37] 12 hours in the queue.
Martin Henley [00:10:39] But sorry.
Melanie Farmer [00:10:42] He was in the queue for 12 hours.
Martin Henley [00:10:45] He was is in the queue for 12 hours and clearly, obviously, he doesn’t have to do that. And, you know, they said to him, he’s like, no, my grandparents wouldn’t have approved. You know, that is genuine. I think because who, let alone David Beckham, wants to stand anywhere for 12 hours? You know, and then you start thinking about how was it for him standing there for 12 hours and how did he engage with the people around him? Was he allowed to be happy and joking? So that is genuine. Like if someone who doesn’t have two takes 12 hours to stand and wait to pay their respects, that is genuine. You know, that is genuine.
Melanie Farmer [00:11:25] And Theresa May, the former prime minister of the UK she was 14 hours in that queue.
Martin Henley [00:11:29] Yeah.
Melanie Farmer [00:11:30] And so, you know, I mean, doesn’t need to be. It is interesting.
Martin Henley [00:11:35] Yeah but then that sounds to me like virtue signalling. It might be because I like David Beckham when I don’t particularly enjoy Theresa May. So then it sounds like it’s a I have to say that.
Melanie Farmer [00:11:47] And though what who would actually care? I mean, you care because she did it. But if she didn’t do it, it would not be negative to her as a brand.
Martin Henley [00:11:57] But I think MPs don’t have to wait. So that was the thing about David Beckham is he could have gone in with some MPs. Each MP gets to take four people, so he was invited to do that and he declined. But Theresa May is an MP, so she didn’t have to wait and so I don’t know. The thing is, I think she …
Melanie Farmer [00:12:17] Is she an MP anymore? I don’t know. But either way, I think she chose to wait with everybody else. So yeah, but I think that side of things is kind of interesting in itself is this this idea that everybody wants to see the coffin or whatever they want to, but it’s like the whole of Britain is doing this pilgrimage and you know, and beyond there’s people coming in from overseas to do this. So I do wonder how long they’re going to allow this to go on for. Then there’s a lot of there’s a lot being made of all the walk arounds which which are happening. We’ve seen Harry and Meghan coming in and and the the Fab Four walking around and how that is all very staged, of course, but the reactions to every tiny little, you know, incident in a crowd. With the brands, it’s it’s a tough decision because if you, whatever you do, it’s going to potentially look insincere because everybody’s doing it. I agree with you. I think that the David Beckham story, that is personally an investment of his time, which is a lot more meaningful than putting out a statement and not queueing at all.
Martin Henley [00:13:45] Yeah, 100%. I suppose everyone’s loyalties could be, not loyalties, priorities could be split. Like are you genuinely like … they’re giving ASDA staff the time off to mourn and the supermarkets are closing to give people the opportunity to mourn. Well, do they really want to mourn or do they really just want a day off? Do you know? I don’t know. I really don’t know. Someone, friend of the show, Steve Bustin, is like a PR guy and he put out a really cool message on LinkedIn saying, the temptation is that you’re going to pile in and you’re going to get some attention for doing something. Don’t do that. Check what the posts that you’ve got scheduled, make sure nothing’s going to make you look like a dick, you know, and don’t try and leverage this for kind of more awareness or whatever. Then he occurred to me that he was also leveraging it for a bit of awareness. I mean, lots of people liked his post. It’s like, the thing is, what do you do anymore? Like, can you like, we’re going to get to go Patagonia, can you even give away a multi-billion dollar business and not and it not benefit your marketing in some way. You know it’s it’s a bit messy.
Meta and Google ghosting customers.
Martin Henley [00:14:59] Shall we talk about. Well, let’s do one of yours, one of mine, one of yours. So let’s say, can we talk about this thing, which is a thing I found. Oh, it’s close to you. Which is interesting. In fact, we might just be able to bury both of mine really quickly, and then we’ll get to the more interesting Patagonia story, because that is kind of like a feel good thing. So the headline here, ghosted by Meta, Businesses Losing Out From Facebook’s Communication Stonewall. It was a disastrous morning for Danny Muster, organisers Charlotte Wade and Vickie Lara gearing up for a festival. So this is a festival that basically failed because their Facebook account got shut down in the run up to the event. After a three year hiatus, the muster is returning at the end of this month with Bogan Bingo competitions and a festival stage featuring beloved Australian artists, etc. etc. etc. The point of this is that they have built a huge audience on Facebook, and they were expecting to market this on Facebook, and then their account got taken down in the run up and I don’t know how badly it failed. I didn’t realise was quite as much text there when I should have highlighted the thing that I definitely wanted to say. The point of this is, this is just one for instance, but this just is a ridiculous example of the risk that marketing your business through Facebook represents. The complete lack of reliability of these platforms because their event they had hundreds of thousands of followers on this event. They get 30,000 people there a year normally when it happens now they’ve got no way of talking to people. That’s kind of the point I want to make and the point I want to make is that there’s no one you can phone at Facebook and say, look, this is what’s going on, this is our situation.
Martin Henley [00:17:07] Facebook reportedly made $46 billion last year but doesn’t invest, can’t invest $1,000,000,000 of that in putting together a customer service, even if it’s just for businesses. Businesses have spent a lot of money with them. Business is the only people who spend any money with them and they can’t put together a customer service so that they can actually hear people and find out what the actual situation is and respond to it.
Martin Henley [00:17:37] It strikes me let’s bundle in the Google thing because it’s the same deal. I’ve just invested a minuscule, a minuscule amount of money, but some money in in advertising this YouTube channel through YouTube. I’ve got zero value from it. I wasn’t particularly concerned because my experience of working with Google is always paid search is the one thing you can talk to them about. I’ll do it wrong, I’ll phone them up, they’ll tell me how to do it right, and then I’ll do it and I’ll get some value. Well it hasn’t worked like that because I phoned them up and they eventually admitted that they weren’t interested in the success of my campaigns at all, they just wanted me to be spending more money. The point I want to make is if these businesses weren’t so blatantly and obviously and neglectfully driven by greed, if they just had half an hour’s interest in actually delivering value for their customers then the world, I’m not even joking, the world would be a better place.
Martin Henley [00:18:46] Facebook’s shares are tanking. Google shares are tanking and it seems to me that these businesses are driven by a total lack of regard for their customers, for the people who put money in their pockets. I just think it’s criminal almost. Here’s what I really think is now we’re heading into recession people are going to need customers, and Facebook without a shadow of a doubt and Google without a shadow of a doubt, could be delivering customers in a valuable, cost effective way if they weren’t so hell bent on just wrenching every cent out of every single person and not giving a shit about the value that they deliver or otherwise. So it is a bit of a whine, it is a bit of a whinge. What do you think?
Melanie Farmer [00:19:41] You wonder what’s going to happen because you do get company lifecycles where a company launches, everyone’s excited, it grows it, we love them and then they decline. Every company on Earth has a a company life cycle, companies don’t last forever. The oldest company in the world is a small family cafe somewhere in Nepal. That’s the oldest company in the world, Hewlett-Packard, 1900s, that’s pretty old, and they’re reinventing themselves. So I do wonder, though, about Google, Facebook, which are the monoliths that you do get to a certain size and then start declining. That happened to G.E., who pivoted, not pivoted but reinvented themselves, started breaking, which is Jack Welch’s strategy of breaking up into a lot more smaller pieces. Is it that at a certain size you stop being able to listen to your customers because your your trapped in some kind of bubble? I don’t know. But it is a pattern. You either adapt or you don’t and you get run over. I mean, you can have tick tock is succeeding. But again, that company, wherever it originates, will have a company lifecycle. So it’s not really surprising to me. It’s just that it is going faster, which is the same for products in general, that products, product lifecycles are getting quicker and quicker. It used to be that there was a good 100 years or so in a product from from inception to end. Now it’s more like, you know, sometimes two years for a product start to finish in terms of its lifecycle. Companies are going the same way. They shorter life cycles to what they used to be. So it’s just whether you reinvent yourself and and through that, you get longevity. So I think it’s sort of inevitable unless they unless they adapt, which it doesn’t apply, they’re doing it because they kind of like doing bad making bad decisions. A series of bad decisions, like the main metaphor doesn’t look like a really great decision. It looks like a passion project where they haven’t listened to customers. I don’t know if customers are saying, you know what we’d love is this. I feel like the things that you’ve expressed, their needs that are not being met and you’re not the only one who’s expressing those needs. If they were to invest there instead of in Meta, as in the metaverse, would we see Facebook be more successful? It just doesn’t feel like they’re listening.
Martin Henley [00:22:23] 100% it would. I think there’s two things going on. They’re run like Google has been 20 years. Facebook has been 15, 16, 17 years. So they’ve had an amazing run. This came up in one of the Talk Marketing conversations recently where a brilliant one is going up on Tuesday with a guy called Mark Carter. He wrote a book called Add Value and it seems to me that the very premise of running a business is essentially a value exchange. You offer the market value, they give you money. That’s the value exchange. I think what’s gone on over the last couple of years is that idea that you have to add value at all has completely gone away and businesses are in business to grab as much value as they possibly can and deliver as little value as they possibly can. So I think this is what’s going on. I think what’s going on is that we have kind of idolised these businesses, these individuals, the Larry Page’s, the Mark Zuckerberg’s, the Elon Musk’s for their brilliance. Elon Musk doesn’t belong in this conversation necessarily, but you know what I mean. We idolise these people when actually these people aren’t particularly clever because they don’t know the very first premise of business, which is look after your customers. I don’t think they have been for a long time, if they ever did. The listening thing is, they’re too clever to listen and also they are tech companies who aren’t disposed to listening anyway. The idea has been allowed to dominate that these businesses know better than us, their customers, their markets, you know their audiences. I just think it’s appalling. Actually, this poor girl, I got her to admit that she wasn’t interested, she was only interested in me spending more money. My issue hasn’t been resolved. I just wanted it to work. You know, I am argumentative, I am challenging, I am whatever but only on the basis that I want it to work. Literally, if this works, I will do it all day every day.
Martin Henley [00:24:41] It doesn’t work so they’ve lost a customer, me, customer in me. The question is, I’m probably a bit sharper. I’ve done this for the last 20 years I know that when you start dancing with Google, it’s going to get messy. You know, I know that. How many people don’t, are only finding out maybe now that things are getting difficult, that they’re actually getting not getting any value from these organisations, you know? And is that why the performance is going down the toilet? I suspect it is. You know, I suspect it is. So that’s you know, that’s that’s what I want to say is if you’re in business and you’re delivering value for your customers, you will be in business forever. You know, if you’re in business and you’ve got no no interest in delivering value for your customers. Good luck. It’s going to be over at some point. You might get 15, 16, 17 years like Facebook or 20 years like Google and it’s not over for them yet, but it’s looking pretty unpleasant for Mark Zuckerberg in particular. He’s got a whole raft of horrible things going on. That’s why I want to say deliver value, just do that if you want to be in business and the market will give you that in return.
Melanie Farmer [00:25:50] I have to say, when I experience a brand giving me value. It’s noticeable because it’s not every day. One of the recent examples of that is Toyota, where I’m in the market for a hybrid. My experience at the dealership was incredible. They talked me down from buying a particular model and said, you know, actually, if you wait a bit, you’ll get one for half the price that does more, you’ll be overpaying at the moment for this model because they’re in short supply but this other one, etc., etc.. They went through, they listened, they asked me, hat are you using this car for? So you want to do camping? Great. Want this you want that? So they listened and asked lots of questions and then said, you know, I think this this one, you won’t need this, you’ll be fine with this. In fact, it’s better for these five reasons. It wasn’t to say you can’t get the other one, but they just sat down and listened and they just looked at all the all these different factors, and they were right. So I felt like I wasn’t rushed, I wasn’t pressured. And they say, and they’ve got me test driving five different things and said, you know, just say, you know, you know. They were like, go off, drive up a hill, you know, don’t just drive around the motorway, test it up and down hills and try parking it and think because, you know, then you really know. So they were really encouraging me to just take it off for 2 hours and come back each time. It was unusual. I haven’t had that experience very often with any brand. When they just take their time and not just flog the first thing that you see.
Martin Henley [00:27:41] And here you are telling the world about that great experience. This is the stupidity. This is what astounds me, is the stupidity of any business that doesn’t, I mean it doesn’t astound me maybe people don’t really understand this, but when people have been lauded the way, or businesses have been lauded the way Google has and Facebook has it transpires that they don’t understand that a happy customer is the cornerstone of their business. They don’t understand the value. Like me, if I get good service, I will not shut up about it. I was at a barbecue at the weekend and I almost managed to sell this guy a pair of speakers because I bought them and they’re amazing and he doesn’t have decent speakers and I sold him on this podcast, in that podcast and Ethiopian jazz and like when something’s good, I will not shut up about it. That is free marketing, do you know what I mean? But these businesses, Google, Facebook, are showing absolute zero respect for their customers. I think I say this every time they are seeing their arse. It’s good that they are because the amount of value that they have taken out of my industry, the marketing, sales and marketing industry over the last 20 years is insane, and the amount of value that they’ve delivered doesn’t even compare. It’s almost like in the first instance they were delivering value by accident and then what they’ve done for 20 years is just turn the screw and turn the screw and turn the screw to the point where, they don’t have people who can just show me how to make my campaign work, you’re already making a great margin, but if it works, I’ll invest more and I’ll invest more until its stops making sense for me to invest. That’s perfect.
Martin Henley [00:29:26] The other thing about this is Google in particular. This isn’t like driving this rampant consumerism, it’s just like put people in touch with people to get hold of the things that they want to get hold of. The same with Facebook, put products in front of people who might have an interest in buying it. So I think it’s the just a shame of it. Like literally Facebook and Google should be leading the charge out of this awful situation that we’ve got ourselves into. But what they’re doing is just making an excuse to bring the shutters down. Google and Facebook could be delivering customers to people in a really cost effective way, but they don’t because they’re more concerned about making 46 billion. Why not spend 4 billion of that in building the example of how to do customer service? Imagine what you could buy for 4 billion, but of course they don’t.
Melanie Farmer [00:30:26] Maybe they’re stockpiling that for the inevitable lawsuits and such.
Martin Henley [00:30:30] They just had to pay 400 million in Ireland. Did you hear about this for failing to protect teenagers identities and contact details? So, yeah. God, let’s talk about something better.
Melanie Farmer [00:30:47] Well, I can make a link here because I think, you know that I’m really into biomimicry, which is emulating nature’s genius. In fact, I’ve started my course now to become certified, which is so interesting. I think that the way forward is biomimicry. In fact, Forbes Magazine flagged it as the number one of the top five tech trends of the year a few years ago. So we’re catching up. But it’s that important and it’s Steve Jobs said it was the one thing for product design of the future that to watch out for is biomimicry before he departed the earth. What I see is that Facebook and Google are not emulating nature. Nature has symbiotic partnership relationships. Instead, they’re doing a consumption of goods from their customers, not a partnership. So if I were to switch that dial and think, no this is a partnership, we succeed together, our ecosystem includes, number one, our customers so that if that’s missing, then you’re not emulating nature who has worked that out for 3.8 billion years. Nothing in nature survives that doesn’t partner.
Patagonia puts purpose over profits.
Melanie Farmer [00:31:59] So then you turn to someone like Patagonia. That company is so invested in nature that they have declared Earth to be, in his words, from Yvon Ahouniard, Earth is now our only shareholder. So he has thrown down the gauntlet, I guess, to other brands where he’s saying to them, look, he’s a billionaire that companies worth $3 billion and of course, he’s still going to be paying his staff and so forth. But over the years he’s continually carved into his profit to invest in products. His story is so beautiful that he started life. He didn’t ever want to go into business. He was building hiking equipment for his friends and then found himself getting into business. It’s a lovely tale, but now it’s a not for profit effectively. He still, of course, will have to pay for operating the company, but no longer is he having profit and so it’s the sort of final chapter, I guess. He’s 83 now and he’s putting all profits in perpetuity to save our home planet. I love that language. Save our home planet. He just said what he did not want to do was sell it and give the money away because he was concerned that whoever took over Patagonia may not share the same values as he has, nor did he want to just donate it. He wanted to keep the company going, but have this requirement that everything is for purpose. All profit is going towards distributing to help fight the environmental crisis.
Melanie Farmer [00:33:52] It has got a lot of attention. It’s coming across as sincere. There’s a lot of positive reactions to to this. Everywhere I look, where this story’s being told. It’s very much his story, how he started and all of that to build up the credibility of this decision as opposed to who’s this guy when he’s in his home and he’s just suddenly decided to do this. That brand’s sort of known for being quite environmental. It’s it’s kind of been fairly innovative in that space for some time. So it’s not off brand that it would suddenly do this.
Martin Henley [00:34:33] No, I think it’s interesting because. Lets get the cynical thing out of the way. It’s really great marketing. You know, they’ve got column inches all over the world. It’s really great marketing. Also to me it doesn’t feel like this is happening for the sake of marketing. They’ve literally given away 98% of the company. So 98% of the profits now will go to environmental causes. What I like is they’re talking about the environmental crisis, they’re not talking about climate change or climate crisis because for me, it seems that there are more immediate issues like air pollution, water pollution, which are killing millions of people every year. So personally, I kind of hope that they’re aware of that and they’re investing in those kinds of areas. The thing that interests me is the way they’re depicting this guy as the eccentric billionaire, he’s always been a little bit crazy. He is 83. So to be fair, he’s not going to be short of fag money now, between the time when he’s not, you know, I mean, it’s like it is the very end. It’s a beautiful story. Wherever you stand on climate change and those things, you cannot help but respect the guy’s conviction, commitment.
Melanie Farmer [00:36:05] Very different to Anita Roddick who was the founder of the Body Shop. The Body Shop being beauty without cruelty. So makeup that’s not tested on animals. She sold Body Shop to L’Oreal when she was nearing death, she was very unwell and getting on in years. So her last chapter was to sell the body shop to L’Oreal. L’Oreal is not known for beauty without cruelty by any measure. She required that they adhere to the values for the brand of the Body Shop. However, you’ve got to ask yourself, what kind of a decision is that? I think that was very confusing for buyers of the Body Shop products. Whereas Patagonia has been quite environmental from day one, that brand has always been looking for ways to reduce, reuse, recycle. So, I mean, saying that she was as well but this feels like a more appropriate final chapter as brands go. I don’t know what pressures Anita was under in her last months, and what her intention was to have longevity for her brand. But I do like how they’ve framed all of this. Yet, as you say, there’s great photography, lovely story,you know, it’s very you know, they’re not sort of putting you in some billionaire. He looks like he’s in a bush hut wearing, you know, clothes that you’d wear if you were going to go hiking. So he doesn’t look like what you’d imagine a billionaire. A beautiful letter and so forth, and they made it to 50 years.
Martin Henley [00:37:48] Yeah, the thing is, I think about Anita Roddick is that it was like you say, it was beauty without cruelty that was the thing that was very was the word for this purposeful.
Melanie Farmer [00:38:02] Purpose. Values driven.
Martin Henley [00:38:03] Values driven, purposeful. But the thing is, if you are like, she knew she was going to die, did she? And then she decided to sell it to L’Oreal. I think the trouble with where we are in the world now is that you can for however long she ran the business. She was 64 when she died, ran a very purposeful, values driven business but when you die, what do you do? You know, I mean, it’s like you’re actually going to die. Do you then secure the well-being of your family and everyone you care about forever? It seems a little bit harsh to me that you can, and people did change their opinion of her on the basis of that decision. I don’t know.
Martin Henley [00:38:55] This guy, there’s another article. I mean, because actually he’s 83, he’s not really giving away much, is he? I’m sure he’s got plenty in the bank. What he’s doing is giving away the the inheritances. I’ve just found another one here. Meet the children, meet the mysterious Patagonia heirs who give away their billion dollar future fortune because it is them who are giving it away. What they’re saying in this article is that nobody really wanted it. So, you know, maybe I’m sure they’ve also got plenty in the bank.
Martin Henley [00:39:26] Here’s what I like, but beyond the cynicism, this is what Francis my mind. And this is what makes this such a cool story. Is the fact that it’s enough. It’s enough, you know, whatever they’ve got is enough, you know? And it just seems to me that part of the issue that we are facing in the world in 2022 is that there are people who have no, and maybe everyone has no sense of what’s enough. So, like, why would Jeff Bezos need more than $200 billion? Why would Elon Musk need more than 200? You know, I mean, it’s like.
Melanie Farmer [00:40:05] Do you need a private rocket that will take you to Mars and back? Do you need it if.
Martin Henley [00:40:09] You are a complete wanker? You do.
Melanie Farmer [00:40:15] Yourself, but I know it is a lot of effort, you know? Yeah.
Melanie Farmer [00:40:21] Yeah, but there has to be enough at some point. You know, if you have, like, the heirs, his heirs I’m sure I have enough in the bank to see them all the way through for as much as they could ever need. I’m sure he has enough in the bank. If he’s just drawing a line saying that’s enough, I really feel like I really feel that I could be making another contribution then that I’d laud that. Because Jeff Bezos, when he got off his silly rocket, he flew 60 miles into this into space. I can go 60 miles in every single direction. I can’t go straight up. That’s the only difference between me and Jeff Bezos. And when he gets off his little rocket and says, oh, I want to thank everyone who works at Amazon for minimum wage, I want to thank all of the customers. It’s like he doesn’t even know that everyone’s looking at him thinking, You’re a complete dick. Do you know what I mean? Because none like your staff are working for minimum wage so you can get on a stupid rocket. Yeah, that’s what I think. What I like about this story is that he’s clearly said, we’ve got enough. Thank you very much. You know, now we want to invest all of the spare that we’ve got in something really important to us and meaningful to us. I think that’s the good news in this story. And I think other people not pretending like Mark Zuckerberg puts and they all put all their money in trust and they pretend like it’s doing the benefit. They’re just avoiding paying taxes, you know.
Melanie Farmer [00:41:47] He is also avoiding paying taxes, but it’s not avoiding it’s actually choosing to spend your tax on forests because your tax break is is that, you know, instead of giving us 100,000 or whatever you want, you you’re not giving us that because your trust is using that 100,000 that would have been tax and diverting it to preserving natural resources. So there is a limited number of things that you can have your tax break on. One of those is whatever his foundation and trust at a level which is eligible. So it doesn’t mean that there’s necessarily tax evasion, it’s just actually just diverting resources to a different cause.
Martin Henley [00:42:33] Whereas in the cases of the other billionaires like the the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, etc., etc., I think what’s going on is they are just funnelling that money away from the tax man. That’s what I think. But here, you know.
Martin Henley [00:42:48] Choosing to spend it on health rather than roads. So that’s the way I think. You know, it’s not a case of that they’re not paying tax. It’s that they’re choosing to cure malaria rather than build roads, and schools, and hospitals in America, which is what tax would be spent on. So it’s just a choice of where you legally can divert your otherwise tax cash to.
Martin Henley [00:43:16] Okay, I think we disagree, best not. The thing is you could pay your tax and then invest what’s left in curing malaria. If you’ve got tens of hundreds of billions, you know, you could do that. I think I think I think I’m making the distinction here. This seems to be to me to be much more genuine than than the foundations that people like Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates put together, where I think the primary interest is in avoiding tax and then, they spend whatever they need to on the other things. I think this is a good news, feel good story, because what underlies this for me is the sense that at last somebody finally put their hand out and said, okay, enough is enough, I’ve got enough thank you very much. The other thing is that businesses don’t have to be driven by greed. They can be driven by a sense of purpose. And, you know, that I think is really nice, I think the world could use much, much more than that.
Martin Henley [00:44:12] It’s all or nothing as well. I think that’s your point, is that it’s not like he said. I’ll just put a bit here and there, which has been over the years. He’s saying, no, we’re going to put all that profit is going to be a long term Earth shareholder narrative and so forth. Now of course they’re in charge of the trusts and foundations to which they’re sending that cash, but those foundations have checks and balances and are able to scale the projects they’ve already been investing in, but have more control over those. If you work for Patagonia, then as a staff member, you’re going to probably feel pretty happy about this direction. Anyone who’s decided should I buy outdoor clothing from, you know, these five places I’m going to probably favour Patagonia. Those who love nature are the people who who buy outdoor clothing and go and spend time in tents and so forth, they sell all this stuff. So which would you rather buy from? So I think as a marketing exercise, absolutely strong, but also is a an effort to create loyalty in the brand, in your staff, in, you know, and if you’re a staff member trying to save costs for your company, you know that all of those savings are going to ultimately land in the right place. So you’ve got an added reason that, you know, I mean, it’s just, you know, rule number one, have an amazing purpose and so that’s what it feels like. So I love that about it and it’s nice to see that it’s been received though. He frames it in his speeches, he’s throwing down a challenge, we’re not doing enough and we need to all do this. So I like the way that he said that, you know, throwing down a challenge for everyone else to follow.
Martin Henley [00:46:01] Good. No, I really like it. I think it’s a good news story. What was the other thing I wanted to say was, yeah, it just worries me when people say like rule number one have a great because that then it starts to sound a bit cynical again. I think people who work for Patagonia, and I have to say I’ve owned Patagonia products and I’ve only ever been delighted with owning Patagonia products. I think they are really good products and I invest in them when I’m going into the wildness which I should do more of. But what’s the thing? I’m sure people who work for Patagonia are much happier than anyone who works for Jeff Bezos. I just get that feeling.
Melanie Farmer [00:46:38] I think you might be right.
Martin Henley [00:46:41] Okay. You’re an absolute legend. We’ve got a minute past 12, so. Yeah. Or once you have to run. You’re an absolute legend. Thank you so much for being here, Melanie Farmer. I’ll see you again in a couple of weeks.
Melanie Farmer [00:46:55] God save the king.
Martin Henley [00:46:56] God save the king. There we go.
Martin’s original content is based on his very current experience of running effective marketing initiatives for his customers and the feedback from Effective Marketing’s successful and popular marketing workshops.
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