Real collaboration to me is where there's no need to know who's up front. Everyone is working side by side. Given the fact that we are creatures of imitation, it helps when the tone is set from the highest levels - what do you want to change in the world? Change happens whether we like it or not. It happened in the last several years. We did not like it, today.
What are we going to do about it?
With collaboration we can make that change more expansive and at the same time better focused; more responsive and less cumbersome. Collaboration also leads to community. To build a community we need to be willing to educate and connect individuals, and have the desire to take action at the appropriate times.
Marketing needs a serious reboot. In its current form it's a broken, bankrupt nuisance afflicted with the myopia of the perennial short term gratification and now starving because of it. There is no sustainability in that - it's a bubble waiting to burst, and your brand with it.
Real collaboration needs contribution, commitment and championing. To be sustainable, it needs to be embedded in the core principles that move us to action. I was reading a well-written post by Joel Makower where he is pondering the sustainable consumption conundrum and wanted to highlight a couple of points he makes about the WBCSD's newest report with my annotations:
- Innovation — "Business processes for the development of new and improved products, services, and business models are shifting to incorporate provisions for delivering maximum societal value at minimum environmental cost," says the report. We are indeed beginning to see a less packaged, more efficient world.
- Choice Influencing — this is where it gets interesting. Creating sustainable marketing practices and business models by working in partnership with consumers and other key stakeholders. The goal is to demonstrate that these practices can deliver deliver superior results at the best prices, and to use marketing communications to make that connection with choice and behavior.
- Choice Editing — Eliminating unsustainable practices, tactics, processes, and business models in partnership with other actors, such as media channels. The challenge I see immediately with this point is that of scale. Can there be mass collaboration? Only when each individual self-interest is served through making that very same choice.
Marketing is about understanding what customers want and helping deliver it. But delivering the relevant response might involve having to make fundamental changes in the way the business works. Often marketing does not have real influence inside a business - especially if that happens to be a B2B. So much so, that you'd have to break the glass in case of marketing.
Can real collaboration help with delivering better insights, better products, services and experiences? Real collaboration requires more of us. Are we willing to do things differently to test that? If you have done it, feel free to borrow that seal but only if the credit goes to the whole team and especially if that team goes across departments to start.