That was the declaration by Marc Mathieu in his talk with us at the Transformative Consumer Research Conference. His play on TCR reflected his experience at Coca-Cola where, he explained, he learned to 'never mess with acronyms.'
His point was that the world needs TCR now more than ever; researchers with a POV (make it a better world) and an idealism that drives them forward.
Marc was formerly the Senior Vice President of Global Brand Marketing at Coca-Cola and now CEO of MyBeDo. During his tenure at Coke, he introduced the 'Coke Side of Life' global marketing platform:
We live in a world where we make choices every day and The Coke Side of Life encourages people to make those choices positive ones... This new campaign invites people to create their own positive reality, to be spontaneous, listen to their hearts and live in full color.
He also led the redefinition of Coca-Cola's Way of Marketing, "the Coca-Cola DNA", a fusion of art & science approach to creating Brand Value and Brand Love - what he called 'happiness in a bottle.' The Live Responsibly program he fashioned is part of the Coke culture, vision and mission: Be a responsible citizen that makes a difference by helping build and support sustainable communities.
Marc left Coke to form BeDo around the vision: We believe that one day, every citizen on earth will have, at the center of their life, not just work and home, but also a third place, a place of purposeful pursuit that improves our world. We call it BeDo.
Some of Marc's quotes from his talk that I offer you to consider here are:
We have built a world around the perception of scarcity, rather than abundance.
The more we fear the future, the more we act in self-interest.
You cannot change people's behavior unless you have a positive view of the future.
He challenged each of us to identify our BeDo, and to live a BeDoful life. The we let our (biodegradable) balloons drift into the warm Pennsylvania sky.
My BeDo: (actually I have two - depending on the context):
1. Be the advocate for the audience - who are people too!
2. Be a disruptive force to allow positive change to emerge
(some may recognize the second as a variation on the themes of: The manager accepts the status quo, the leader challenges it - Warren Bennis; Status quo, you know, that is Latin for "'the mess we're in" - Ronald Reagan; or I'm not interested in preserving the status quo; I want to overthrow it - Niccolo Machiavelli.)
And on a personal note to consumer researchers who may read this I want to add my thanks for the enrichment and ideas I received at the conference - and the kind words about some of my positive disruptions. TCRs are bucking their academic status quo where social issues and social marketing are seen by many of their colleagues as not relevant to the business school environment; relegates their research to second (or third) tier marketing journals (because the first tier doesn't value or accept them - note: be sure to keep Social Marketing Quarterly in mind as a publishing option); the lucrative corporate consulting gigs aren't there; and the idea of applying their work to solving real people problems in the real world is perhaps the most daunting (and yet potentially most rewarding) BeDo of all.
I have often wondered in my years in social marketing 'where are the consumer researchers?' Well, glad to have finally met many of you and hope to have you around for many years to come! I know you will find the social marketing community, as well as some public health spaces, very open to your ideas, skills and expertise. Thank you for your courage!