We’ve developed a way for you to learn skills that are useful on a global scale. We’ve created tools that will help you communicate with others where it was previously impossible. We’ve built ways for you to share your experiences with others, and contribute to something in a meaningful way. Those statements are all empowering.
The One Laptop Per Child program was started with the goal of devising an inexpensive computer to distribute to children in developing countries so that children could improve their education, their communications abilities, and so that they could make something meaningful happen.
Critics abound. Why send laptops when you can send food? The laptop is clunky. It doesn’t solve anything. It’s not sustainable. They didn’t do it for the $100 they originally said it would cost.
Today, I’m thinking about how empowering people matters so much more than marketing to them. Sure, not every single marketing opportunity has so noble an end. If I want you to chew my company’s brand of gum versus another company’s brand of gum, I don’t see us all rallying and pumping our fists in the air for that “cause,” but sometimes, it does matter.
If you can empower with your products and services, choose that for your marketing. If you can spend dollars on things that help others, enable others, give the people who use your products and services something that allows them to do something meaningful, make that a spending priority.
And better still? If you can empower your prospective customers to help others with those things that you choose to give them, do it. A cause-based example would be Tom’s Shoes – for every pair you buy, they give a pair to a child in need. All marketing need not be caused-based, but the premise is still the same.
Can you empower more than you market? How does this apply to what you’re doing?
Photo credit OLPC