Some just don’t buy organic food. They usually claim the reason to be the price. I respect that, most of us has a budget to stick to. But my personal experience from years of retail marketing tells me something else. Special price or discounts do not affect sales of ethically produced food at all. On the contrary, the sales often decrease during a sales activating campaign. I thought I had found something revolutionary but then I realized that was not the case. At all. This has been well-known to the Catholic Church since they started off.

Martin Luther, contrary to popular Swedish thinking, was a pretty bold gentleman who was fond of the good in life – wine, his woman and music. His main issue was more focused on the fact that the rich could buy themselves free from sin. What he pointed out was the Catholic Church’s trade in letter of indulgence. However, that behavior did not disappear with the birth of the Lutheran Church, it just moved to another market. Our willingness to buy us a clear conscience is what drives the growth in grocery stores.

In most human cultures the apocalypse is imminent (except in the middle of a flaming war). Our fear of dying govern our lives in everything we do (especially when we challenge that fear). In the 14th century almost everyone believed that the Black Death was the Lord’s punishment for the way we lived at the time, today the climate change is Mother Earth’s punishment for our current way of life. And just as then, we buy us free from sin. Those letters of indulgence has been replaced with carbon offsetting, organic food, and various forms of ethic labelling (even though none of these action actually help Mother Earth with the rising temperature).

The point is to afford to take action. Being the one saying to oneself and others – “I buy organic as much as I can get my hands on it.” Or “I always choose local produce” or “I always tick that box for carbon offsetting when buying air line tickets.” Without our pack to reflect us, stand out from or be similar to … we do not exist. And not to exist, is the worst thing that can happen to us. This also explains why some people consistently reject organically grown vegetables, wine or meat even though they can afford it. Everyone wants to be special but still be part of the crowd.

Thus, it is currently quite pointless to put a special price or discount on organic, locally grown, fair trade and other excellent initiatives. The bargain takes away the whole point – to buy me free from sin. The letters of indulgence, crusades and church-building did not come cheap for the donors and that is what made them feel good. It is the same thing with organic, local, fair trade, et cetera. If it doesn’t dig a little whole in your wallet, it doesn’t build you up inside.

A good conscience never come cheap. The pope has known this forever.

Internet wall LugnetFor a little more than 15 years ago the Internet became available for the general public. A combination of technical development and a standardization of communication between computers set it all off. ¬†Also, not to neglect Cern‘s need to display their spending and progress towards their stakeholders and sponsors.

At that point of time the Secretary of Communications in Sweden, Ines Uusmann were quoted incorrectly by saying that the “Internet is just a hype”. It would become her Famous Last Words. What she actually said was that the general surfing on different home pages would end and a more focused behavior would follow. She was right. Just as she was when she initiated a fast development of broadband, covering most of Sweden.

Thne the Internet boom arrived. Followed by the IT-bubble that bursted into nothing. Many sites like¬† were just launched too early. The customers weren’t ready to shop their clothes on the web. Yet. It takes about 10 years to make money on a new invention or behavior. At least if it costs money. For freebies the change goes much faster, ask Mark Zuckerberg about it.

So far it has been said the the Internet doesn’t work for brand building communication. Many have tried but actually none of the brand building campaigns placed on advertising space on any website has produced any ROI. It has been explained that the users are different to the viewers. That we sit in a different position in from of our computer compared to what we do in front of the TV. Actually I think that neither the clients or the agencies has been knowing how o face the challenge. Because it has been several successful brand campaigns on the internet, but they have all been viral.

One excellent example is the interactive¬† YouTube-campaign for Tipp-Ex where you as the user can change the end of a film clip. ¬†Another one is the splendid films from¬†BlendTec that are claimed to given the company’s sales a boost with over 700% (and why would they lie about it??).

But…the campaign that changed the course of branding history is probably the¬†Old Spice campaign “What you’re man could smell like”. It has¬†actually converted Procter & Gamble from ¬†on-line marketing and branding-in-traditional-media-kind-of-corporation to what they call digital branding. ¬†Or as P&Gs head of global marketing ¬†Mark Pritchard echoed: ‚ÄĚDigital marketing is the past. Brand building in the digital world is the future‚ÄĚ.