Recently, I had the pleasure of working behind the scenes at the ANA Masters of Marketing, an annual conference our agency CooperKatz & Company, Inc. has helped produce for more than 20 years. I was there to work backstage, yes – but also to be inspired. Rarely do you get to meet some of the most influential marketers in the world from P&G, McDonalds and Mastercard to name a few.
Closely following the conversation on Twitter, I was not the only one enamored by one particular presenter, Norman de Greve, the Chief Marketing Officer of CVS Health. In a very personal and moving account, de Greve shared about his relationship with his son, and how it drove him to make one of the most important decisions of his professional career: to stop selling cigarettes in CVS stores.
This business move can be called by many names. Risky. Crazy. Bold. In fact, CVS approached it knowing they could lose an estimated $2 billion. But it was a single, great act to support CVS’s mission: help people on their path to better health. To de Greve, this was what was important. To the American public, it became the platform for which CVS would be known.
Traditional and social media impressions skyrocketed. Minute Clinic smoking cessation doubled. And total sales of cigarettes dropped by 1% across all retailers.
By removing cigarettes from all stores, CVS Health’s primary message was to be purpose-driven. But it left me with another takeaway. In 2017, let’s be bold.
In today’s environment, only the strongest ideas survive. We digest information in bite-sized forms. We are saturated with the ever-surprising election. We hardly sit down and read a full article anymore, much less the New York Times from cover to cover, opting for 140 characters on Twitter instead.
We self-select, only consuming what matters to us in the moment. We’re so caught up in the clutter that the only boldest, biggest, news breaks through.
Yes, much of what we care about is purpose-driven; which is a topic for another day. But sometimes a bold move can be business-driven, or even consumer-driven.
Being bold is REI shutting down its stores on Black Friday.
Being bold is Tesla designing the first solar roof.
Being bold is Mattel finally adding diversity to Barbie.
How - as marketers, entrepreneurs, PR professionals and business leaders – do we challenge ourselves to be bold in every decision we make? How do we innovate, create and make a difference?
For the next two months, as we sit in boardrooms, conference calls, web chats, trains and planes planning for 2017, let’s ask ourselves what we want to be known for, and what will make our clients or customers’ lives better.
Let’s ask ourselves how we can be BOLD.
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