Last Wednesday, September 14th, 2010, I went to Kent Country Club in Grand Rapids, Michigan to hear August Turak speak for the American Marketing Association (AMA) West Michigan.  I went because he was speaking about his recently published Business Secrets of the Trappists in This four-part series topped the charts as Forbes’ most highly rated article.  August draws on his experience as the protégé of the man who founded the IBM Executive School, 14 years working alongside the Trappist monks of Mepkin Abbey, and over 30 years of business experience.  I had to hear this guy.

August Turak and The Trappist Monks

August delivered a metaphorical message about transformation as it relates to movies, marketing, business and life.  I found the message compelling.  Do you know that a MegaTrends 2010 is spirituality?  August spent a lot of time developing our attraction to movies like Avatar.  He discussed Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero with a Thousand Faces, which lays out the spiritually transformational journey of life.  It is the journey from selfishness to selflessness.  It is this fundamental human condition – reflected in the movies and books that we love – that is the longing for transformation.  August Turak says:

“It’s in our own self-interest to forget our self-interest.”

Then came the tie to business and marketing.  There are 3 transformations in life, marketing or business – a change of:

  1. Condition
  2. Circumstance
  3. Being

Pepsi’s marketing hit the change of condition with “refreshing,” then hit circumstance with “think young.”  Coke nailed it with their successful commercial – some of you may not recall – 4 decades ago, “I want to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony …” – sung on the mountaintops of life.  A lofty goal suggesting a change of being.  I saw that commercial, with our family, 15 years ago at the World of Coca-Cola tour on the way to Florida.   Wow, did that bring back memories.

And what do you deliver to your customers?  Do you deliver a change of condition, circumstance or being?  The question I have is: 

“How do we convey that we do more than fix or improve – we fix and improve life or business?

August’s message reminded me of the book, The Go Giver.   How do we move from selfishness to selflessness?  How do we convey the selfless transformational overarching mission that includes a culture of excellence, integrity, faith, trust and performance?  Suggestions, ideas, comments?   Bring them on.

That, it appears to me, is the challenge of life, business and marketing.

Michael Ritsema
i3 Business Solutions, llc

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