Stockholders or Stakeholders?
Ever heard of a guy named Milton Friedman?
Probably depends on if you slept through your Econ 101 classes. Milton was an influential Chicago economist who inspired an economic worldview called ‘Neo-Liberalism’. It prioritized the needs of stockholders over those of ‘stakeholders’: government, employees, and sometimes even consumers. Taking hold in the early 80’s, it was hard medicine. Out went union power, pensions and many regulations. But it also curbed inflation and led to the expansion of Wall Street, creating an investment feedback loop that restarted the economy, at least in the short run. Asleep yet? No? Cool, let me show you how this applies to your marketing. If you own or work for a company then you are essentially participating in a micro-marketing economy that exists within the macro economy. Your stockholders are those that are held accountable to a bottom line: Bosses, CFOs, etc. The primary stakeholders are your consumers. From there your position tends to be dictated by your company’s goals. Are they short-term and inward-facing (for your stockholders) or long-term and consumer-facing (for your stakeholders)? There are arguments for both, but as I’m sure you know, the digital revolution has put a lot of power into the hands of consumers. Without their loyalty, it will be difficult for your brand to withstand any headwinds. And it’s not like your stockholders aren’t still watching. At Vorx, we believe there’s a middle path where both stockholders and stakeholders can be happy. Where a healthy brand and the bottom line can support each other, making both your marketing and your company resilient in the present and possible futures. For instance, we create quality branded content that is still accountable. Our data-driven media strategy can help reach both wider audiences and highly-focused targets, all optimized by consumer response. Whether it’s linear TV, streaming TV, digital video or audio, we go where the reach is and the results lead us. This balance between you, the stockholder, and your consumer stakeholders is hard to maintain, but it defines our purpose. In the long run, we think even Milton would approve. And by the way, it’s not just us. Here’s an article from the World Economic Forum exploring a similar topic.