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15 June 2012

The House of Marketing: No space for sheep

If you put fences around people, you get sheep. This quote motivated Jef Staes to write his book Ik was een schaap. He explains the Switch 3D from the predictable 2D period of permanent improvement to the turbulent 3D era of sustainable innovation through passion and talent. Did Staes perhaps find his inspiration at The House of Marketing?

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The House of Marketing, a 3D organization

Jef Staes is convinced that passion has become a necessity to outshine in what you can and what you do. Do we detect a similarity with THoM’s baseline Realize your full potential thru excellence and passion for marketing?

According to the author, the real value of an employee (Persoonlijk Menselijk Kapitaal) is created via social validation. At The House of Marketing we stopped a long time ago talking about Human Resources. THoM’s Human Capital indicates the importance attached to the employees and their passion and talent. Just like Staes’ first regulation, THoM has an autonomous process that encourages colleagues to show their talents, passions and competences. Our regular Passion Night is our way towards social validation.

The traditional evaluation, the so called climax of thinking in functions, has been replaced by a career development plan where employees can indicate their motivational criteria and interests and how they want to obtain the new competences.

 A 3D organization is characterized by the interactive learn-from-each-other-process of Smarting. Passionate talents enjoy sharing knowledge. The learning experience from interaction and the enrichment of open-mindedness towards different backgrounds cultivate important THoM values. The House of Marketing is testing, challenging and consulting the marketing community for more than 15 years. An extraordinary example of open innovation, if we apply Staes’ definition.

THoM’er, a synonym of 3D Smart

Smarting is all about crossing 3D Smarts, being passionate talents with a personal innovation ability and access to information that can satisfy their learning needs. The qualities of a 3D Smart are summarized by Staes with the key words selective, proactive and eager to learn and can easily be applied to the definition of a THoM’er.

THoM’ers are equilibrists, who balance between conflicting skills. They embody the 4 agility competences of self-leadership, self-casting, self-informing and self-empowerment. But next to these, they are also business driven. They possess at the same time hard and soft skills to become creative and entrepreneurial marketing experts with guts.

Temporary loyaltyis Staes’ second 3D regulation towards more working in roles and is a typical characteristic of consultancy. Variety makes life interesting. At The House of Marketing employees work on different assignments in new environments. In these different roles, they move slowly from one dune to the next, to use Staes’ metaphor. THoM’ers, as 3D Smarts, are attracted to roles which stimulate their marketing passion. But, as Jef Staes observes, this need for change has to be compensated by a temporary loyalty towards the concerning project. Indeed, after every assignment the degree of loyalty to the client should determine the personal human capital of the THoM’er.

Stop bleating!

2D education would be the reason for school tiredness, according to the author. Though I believe this general development is still necessary. A THoM’er also needs to be a generalist. He works in different industries (FMCG, healthcare, …) and needs to have a helicopter view on what is happening in our society.

Moreover sometimes we need to do things we don’t like, to reach our ultimate goals or to get to know and appreciate more the things we do adore. The marketing strategy for example has to be aligned with the company strategy. There is not only our passion for marketing, but we have to be conscious of the fact that overall company objectives and profit need to be obtained. As The House of Marketing states, only with great responsibility we can exceed expectations.

We are living in a transitional phase of 2D to 3D. Therefore I believe we sometimes need to be sheep. Can a car freak ignore traffic rules, just because he is passionate about speed? Next to being convinced of what the market needs, a marketer has to follow the company processes and respect project deadlines. Taking a step back, being humble and following a paved path can also produce new insights.

We can also learn from sheep. Don’t we need a variety of people and lifestyles? Don’t we sometimes want role models? Is the original always better than the copy? It is all about what we do with our examples. If we want to be as innovative as Steve Jobs, we don’t necessarily create a smartphone.

Finally, at university I’ve chosen my study subject, languages, out of passion. But marketing became a new passion. Without my degree in marketing, I don’t think social validation would have been enough. The House of Marketing needs to take into account all his stakeholders. A lot of companies still prefer the 2D era. I don’t think nowadays our clients are already waiting for a social validation instead of a 2D CV. Besides, isn’t social validation also a form of judgment by thirds? Despite the fact that my point of view follows the 2D structure of beginning-middle-end, I hope it establishes a starting point to make of Ik was een schaap a 3D growth book. This would certainly not be an unintentional consequence …

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