For me, what has come to be known in business as The Marketing Concept is the metaphysics of business. Everything starts with the reality that a business exists to profitably create customers. The door is left wide-open about what you do from that point on, and how you go about doing it. Human creativity and ingenuity is the only limit to how to create value through voluntary exchange.
Jesper Kunde has written an outstanding book that starts with the marketing concept and builds an argument and framework for building value through corporate brands. The goal, he says, is to create a 'corporate religion,' a belief among employees and customers around a shared vision of attitudes, values, culture and goals.
This isn't a fluffy brand book. It's both a manifesto and handbook for the strategic development of corporate purpose and the achievement of corporate greatness.
This book is required reading for anyone for whom the starting point in thinking about business is the Marketing Concept, or anyone challenged with the role of building a great brand.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Because companies are people too.May 11 2000
Julia A. J
- Published on Amazon.com
This book described how competent companies all around the world have developed a 'Corporate Religion' way of thinking, and how they have got the formula right. It shows that to produce and market successful products and services goes beyond just marketing the brand, everyone in the organization have to be able to proudly state that " we eat, sleep and drink the stuffs" too. Of course, if only it were that simple. The business world is complex enough without your having to worry about mission-critical applications and mind-boggling concepts. Nonetheless, the writer have provided a number of models, case studies and a 'timetable' to explain how to set the process in motion. Although some of the theories and concept may need to be localized to suit different companies, the case studies from major international companies ease the approach to the more theoretical part of the book. They are constructive attempt to show other more dynamic way for companies with the right attitudes - to move forward.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Creating a More Intense Connection Among PeopleSept. 18 2000
- Published on Amazon.com
Many will be offended or discouraged from reading this book because of its title. Most of us would like to get our religion from a religious institution or our spiritual practices. What is in the book did not seem to me to really relate to creating and maintaining a corporate religion, however. I found the book to be describing the benefits of having intense emotional bonds among customers, users, companies, and employees. I would rename this book, In Search of More Intense Connections. The key theme of the book is the importance of creating emotional value. 'Emotional values are replacing physical attributes as the fundamental market influence.' Mr. Kunde is the head of his own advertising agency, and his perspective is very much a psychological one. He takes that point of view, however, and effectively expands it to include a company's external positioning, internal culture, nature, mission, corporate concept, external market competition, internal relationships, and management tasks. This is one of the broadest corporate concept descriptions that I have seen, and is a helpful one. The book contains detailed examples of companies operating at various levels of effectiveness in these areas. The examples are very visible ones that should mostly be known to you. His examplars are companies like The Body Shop, Coca-Cola, McDonald's, The Walt Disney Company, Harley-Davidson, Nike, Virgin, and SAS. The book contains many beautiful color illustrations and photographs from these companies that reinforce the author's point. To him, 'corporate religion is a set of values which unite the organization around the mission and vision.' When these values are compelling enough, people who do not even use the company's products or services will wear merchandise with the brand name on it. For example, Harley-Davidson stands for freedom in the minds of most, and young women who honor that principle wear skirts with the brand name on it who have never been on a Harley. There are even Harley-Davidson cafes (I have eaten at the one in Manhattan, and I can promise you it isn't the food that brings people in. There is lots of wearable merchandise sold there and elsewhere). The book ends with a one-year plan for implementing a corporate religion, and an example of how the author applied these principles in his own advertising agency. Just a few years ago, it was unusual for a management book to address the psychological satisfactions of having an empowering purpose in one's work. Today, that theme is a fairly common one. The book rises above many of the rest by addressing more elements of creating and maintaining this empowering purpose. I encourage you to read the book and apply its lessons. When I first worked in a company after attending law school, I was pleased to find out how cooperative business is compared to how competitive law is. This book brought back that perspective and made it fresh for me again. These days, many people seek out volunteer work to gain the satisfactions that paid work does not provide. You will know you are making progress with these concepts when people tell you they feel more self-esteem from what their business work stands for than for what their volunteer work does. After you have finished reading this book, I encourage you to think about the most empowering purpose you can imagine for an organization or a company. Then ask others how they repond to that purpose. Keep refining that purpose until you find an expression of it that positively zings you and sends others into a happy orbit as well. When you can do that, you will then be well on your way to finding the ideal best practice for leadership. Be irresistible! Donald Mitchell (email@example.com)
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Reviewed by International Corporate Branding CentreApril 29 2001
Dr Jessica Backlund (MA, PhD) and Shaun Powell (Btech, AIMgt, BAHons) from the International Corporate Branding and Identity Centre
- Published on Amazon.com
Quick review : well written, easy to read with examples, and quite innovative - but the more experienced pratitioner or well read academic will probably be familiar with much of the ideas presented. Full review : This book will appeal to those who prefer the visualisation of models and concepts alongside short examples, and the format will be particularly liked by those whom have followed an MBA degree or similar training. Main stream academics looking for well researched material may be a little disappointed, for by the authors own admission this book is "a constructive attempt to show another, more dynamic way, for companies to move forward. This book is not about research results, but about attitudes". The center has received feedback from many practitioners and managers tackling live corporate branding projects whom seem to like this book, and it is a fairly easy and somewhat innovative read for non-specialists or general managers, but perhaps less so for the well practiced or academic experts in the field. The author, Jesper Kunde, is the founder of one of Scandinavia's largest and most successful advertising agencies. In this book, he outlines how it is possible to build strong brands through strong leadership and a strong vision. In explaining his holistic approach to brands and organisations, he draws on concepts from psychology and he argues that his ideas can be implemented in any organisation. The book is not a step-by-step manual as such, but rather an introduction to Kunde's way of thinking. Kunde points out that simply having a good product is not enough anymore. Consumers pay less attention to adverts and brands and look at the companies themselves. They are looking for reliable companies with sound, consistent attitudes. It is necessary for the management to secure trust and loyalty from both within the organisation and from the consumers, and it thus needs to communicate its ideas to all the company's employees and to the public. Kunde argues that if a company has a strong spirit as its foundation, it can reach a strong market position, and a strong market position is what ultimately decides a company's destiny. In order to achieve a strong market position, an organisation has to have a strong leader who can unite the entire organisation around an idea, a shared vision - a corporate religion. It is important for the leader to find out what the company really is, to be able to describe it. Kunde argues that this ability is unusual, especially in large international companies. Successful examples mentioned in the book's many short and to the point case studies are Richard Branson and Bill Gates. These charismatic leaders have strong believes, a clear vision of the future, they know how to communicate it and they are conscious of their own roles. However, Kunde points out that the challenge is to establish the corporate religion in people's minds throughout the whole organisation, so that it is not connected to just one person. The corporate religion must be able to continue even after the first charismatic leader is gone, perhaps particularly relevant based on Microsofts problems of recent months. Kunde argues that in most large, international companies half of the available energy is unused. If the management can describe the company, develop a consistent company concept, formulate an internal religion and manage the whole company accordingly, this hidden potential can be released. The employees, and consumers, need to feel that the company has a soul and that they are all fighting for a cause. The ultimate goal is to reach the stage which Kunde calls 'brand religion', when the product is a lesser part of the brand than the concepts associated with it. Harley Davidson is one of the examples Kunde mentions. Summary Kunde writes in a clear and straightforward manner, and Corporate Religion is an easy and enjoyable read. Those used to already reading ideas and approaches from scandinavian academic literature will find this general philosophy to business practice quite familiar. The concepts and ideas are well explained and further illustrated by case studies and graphic models. It is a book that some academics (used to MBA approach to learning) and most practitioners will enjoy and find useful as it provides both interesting ways of analysing organisations and of interpreting the reasons for their success, or lack of it, and practical guidelines on how to implement a corporate religion and what pitfalls to avoid. However for well-read academics or practitioners, the book may not seem that revolutionary and Kunde's ideas rather common sense, but it is still an inspirational book worth reading if you have the time.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
He gets it. But do they?May 20 2003
Bill Grant, Founder Big Bang Idea Engineering, Seattle & San Diego
- Published on Amazon.com
Jasper "gets it" because "it" is common sense really. A more believable (and thus attractive) brand is one that appears genuinely aligned internally and externally. It's 'ideal' branding. However, the problem is that most companies today have all these pressures in their head that make this nearly impossible to implement in a smooth way. It requires core thinking and consistency and teaming up with the people at the top of the company. Yet, the average lifespan of any President and CMO today is like one year. And when during their tenures, they think, "I need sales tomorrow. Not some zen master to come in and 'harmonize' my culture with my image." They further believe that the "outside agency" should stay in his/her place. "Just do the fricken ads. I don't need a corporate shrink right now." Of course, it's up to the agency team to enlighten them to the business benefits of this 'alignment' approach. For now, I've found that rather than force a company to take on an approach that makes them uncomfortable (or an approach that they feel is out of your range as an outside agency), it's best to seek out relationships with only those companies that are already doing it, just not effectively. The goal is to help them 'strengthen' their branding, with a perceptive strategic planning process and creative sensibilities that ultimately put it in to play. As we succeed on this level, the companies who didn't see its value at first, will soon follow. I suggest that Jasper's next book be about how to educate and sell in such an approach. Bg
Read this along with "Start with why"Oct. 8 2013
Michael L Irvin
- Published on Amazon.com
I read this book when it first came out. It was what I had been looking for in business but could never find. "Why" be in business? Now, some ten years later I'm reading "Start With Why" and these two books together give you everything you need to figure out the "Why" of being in business.
Jesper Kunde steps you through several case studies of successful companies that know what a corporate religion is and how important it is. When a business works from the inside out by building brand loyalty among its employees, those employees become the face of the company. When they shine people come and buy. I highly recommend reading this book and then "Start With Why". Both are amazing insights into how business should be conducted, especially now.