Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Strategic Purpose, Marketing and Beyond Green

Kim Novick of Creative Brand and Experience Design presented a provocative set of ideas and recommendations in his presentation on “Strategic Purpose, Marketing and Beyond Green” at our monthly breakfast networking meeting. Kim has had a broad ranging career, including studies with Lee Strasberg and Elia Kazan at The Actors Studio (Psst! He’s actually only one degree of separation from Kevin Bacon!), work on numerous award-winning projects with the Second Stage, and with Lyn Austin’s Music Theater Group. Major tours include the National Black Touring Circuit, and Jennifer Mueller and the Works.

In the late 80’s Kim began producing “industrials” and large-scale events. Touchstone projects include half-time shows for the NBA, Coca-Cola’s Centennial Celebration, and Major League Baseball’s first FanFest. He moved to the Boston area in 1992 to work for Jack Morton Productions, and in ‘95 founded Intermedia Services, a full-service production company. Other engagements include a Senior Consulting post to IBM on worldwide event strategies, membership of the seminal team at BzzAgent, a start-up Word-of Mouth marketing agency and brand strategy work for Captains of Industry.

During this decade, Kim’s attention and intention has turned toward the strategic importance of thinking and acting green. There is a powerful difference between leadership that “signals” green (e.g., by driving a Prius or personal recycling) and that which has green embedded in its “DNA.” Novick raised the intriguing prospect that multinational corporations like GE with its ecomagination campaign will sign on to their own version of a Kyoto accord, and he asserted that it was through the lasting impact of the Sullivan Principles that Siemens decided to abandon its interests in Sudan.

An attendee, Jeanne LaFrance of the competitive intelligence firm, Fuld & Company, spoke of the connections between Kim’s perspective and that developed by R. Buckminster Fuller and his school via the World Game, which poses modeling how to achieve peace as an alternative to war gaming.

Ultimately, Novick’s talk posed some profound questions to strategists of all stripes: What is it really going to mean to the branding of companies, products and lifestyles to live in a greener and greener world? Is there really any choice but to embrace the tension wrapped up in this question? If the day of the Cultural Creative (i.e., the minority of something like 500,000,000 of the world’s residents) as world leaders is actually at hand are you ready for it?

For more on the connections between art, design and business, click here.

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