Child farming & purpose based marketing

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Child farming

Child farming is not some cynical way of getting indentured slaves, fresh organ donors or creating human batteries to power The Matrix. Instead it was used by Karen Crouse in her article Koreans learn to speak LPGA’s language (International Herald Tribune, November 2, 2008) to describe ‘cultivating successful sons and daughters confers great prestige on the parents.’ Whilst there is balance needed in everything, I think that child farming is healthier than having parents that don’t care, or don’t take an active part in the upbringing of their child.

The article discusses the way LPGA management, in particular commissioner Carolyn Bivens tried to impose American culture and values: assimilate the South Korean players into a culture starkly different from their own and to emancipate them from what she characterized as overbearing fathers.  It sounds to me like a particularly distasteful form of hubris, cultural fascism and possibly racism. It reminded me of the way indigenous children were taken from the ir parents and put in boarding schools to break them from their culture.

It would make more sense to work with the parents instead, something that Bivens seems to have an aversion to do. What’s next? US high school-type show-and-tell practice for Europeans unused to public speaking compared to their US counterparts?

Purpose based marketing

Purpose based marketing – in the words of former P&G marketer Jim Stengel purpose-based marketing is ‘defining what a company does – beyond making money – and how it can makes its customers’ lives better.’ This isn’t a new concept, P&G’s Pampers higher purpose is helping Mums bring up ‘happy, healthy babies’ rather than keeping them dry and clean. Unilever brand Surf washing powder conversely is about helping Mums having clean happy families.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that purpose based marketing will neatly align with corporate and social responsibility goals. Although I could see that these two things will get conflated at some point into a primordial soup of everything ‘doing good’.

It’s about alligning your brand with customers emotions, values and needs. Apple is a really good example of this. Kudos to The Wall Street Journal Europe – P&G Marketer sets up own shop by Suzanne Vranica (Monday November 3 2008).

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