For many years I have written about the importance of ‘P>P’ in all areas of business. By this I simply mean ‘Person to Person.’
We all separate ourselves off into our little boxes and put labels above our heads, I’m a B>C Marketing Expert or I’m in Corporate Comms or I work in B>B, etc.
Let’s say we throw all our labels away for a moment.
Can we agree that from the off we are most likely dealing with another human being? I think until we start interplanetary commerce this is the likelihood. Secondly, can we just for a moment push aside all that data, all those stats, all that research and just start from scratch?
Let’s take marketing from a humanistic angle. I hear you sigh. Sounds a bit flaky? Let’s just clear up what to be ‘humanistic’ means…
Humanism is a philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers critical thinking and evidence (rationalism, empiricism) over established doctrine or faith – Wikipedia
Often the word ‘humanistic’ is applied to psychotherapy. It deals with the here and now. What’s in front of us. What we are dealing with right now. Our emotions and our needs, right now. It adopts a holistic approach to human existence and pays special attention to such phenomena as creativity, free will, and human potential. In other words, we are really focusing on the individual and his/her needs without assumptions or judgment or preconceptions.
Humanistic Marketing is a relatively new approach to marketing (so new it’s yet to be listed on Wikipedia) Richard J Varey and Michael Pirson have written several books on Humanism in Business.
Humanistic Marketing is a response to the currently growing mega-trend call for rethinking marketing. The book organizes current thinking around the problems of marketing theory and practice as well as some possible solutions and ways forward: both for theory and practice. This volume was initiated by The Humanistic Management Network to contribute knowledge and understanding to the emerging humanistic business and management movement that does not accept perpetual economic expansion as a sustainably viable means of meeting individual and collective needs in society and nature, and instead seeks balance in place of excess. Humanistic Marketing recognises the harm that comes with the unfettered desire for more of more. The authors ask how can marketing’s principles and practice be founded in humanistic values such as altruism, empathy, respect, trustworthiness, honesty, integrity, care, compassion, service, intelligence, beauty, justice, virtue? Furthermore, how can marketing help to protect human dignity and promote sustainable human (not consumer) well-being – Humanistic Marketing by Richard J Varey and Michael Pirson
Whilst this might sound a bit idealistic, this actually is the way marketing and business is shifting. A good example is the campaign by Always – ‘Like A Girl’. This focuses very strongly on the issues of feminism and gender equality with young people. The actual brand behind the campaign is almost unseen, leaning towards an altruistic, empathic and compassionate approach.
click to watch
Let’s switch tack for a moment.
I’m going to bring in what could initially seem an anomaly in this: Parallel Thinking. The term coined by Edward de Bono takes the lateral thinking approach via a thinking model called the Six Thinking Hats. Each hat dictates the thinkers to all only think in one way at the same time.
For example; Blue Hat – One person is delegated the ‘blue hat’ (not literally only verbally, although it has been known to use actual coloured hats). The blue hat dictates which order the hats are used.
This would be a good order:
White: Considering purely what information is available. What are the facts?
Red: Intuitive or instinctive gut reactions or statements of emotional feeling void of justification or judgment
Black: Logic applied to identifying reasons to be cautious and conservative
Yellow: Logic applied to identifying benefits, seeking harmony
Green: Statements of provocation and investigation, seeing where a thought goes
This order can be repeated as often as you want, but chances you’ll have a pretty decent idea of where you going after one cycle.
This is a very humanistic approach, because it is in the ‘here and now.’ We are saying what we think and feel at that moment without judgment. We are letting go of our fears that maybe our idea might be rejected or it isn’t our place to talk about that area, that’s a different department. Let’s blur the lines a bit. Let’s mix it up.
At the foundation of humanistic counselling are the Core Conditions
- Empathy (Understanding of anothers needs)
- Congruence (Honesty)
- Unconditional Positive Regard (Void of judgment)
We can apply these to business as well as in life.
So, lets throw it all up the air. Let’s rethink the way we market and do business with each other. Let’s lose the labels. Let’s stride forward like the pioneers of technology and science and change the way we think. The world is moving fast, the millennials are waiting in the wings to take the reins. We need to adapt and change. It’s not an option, it’s a necessity.
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