Want to Change the World? Use Marketing to Change Local Regulations

“That’s the way we’ve always done it.” More stifling, even deadly, words are hard to find. Changing the way we look after the social good can be hard. It pays to start small. You may not sway an entire country, but you can impact your community. It often starts when you change local regulations.

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The Power of Pricing: Paying for Public Infrastructure

paying for infrastructure

In their recent report card, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave US infrastructure a grade of D+.  ASCE also said bad infrastructure costs U.S. households $9 per day in higher prices, poor service, repairs, and wasted time. For just $3 per day, they say we could fix the problem. Those numbers sound small, but they add up. Multiple that household-per-day number by 125 million households and 365 days a year, and you get an annual infrastructure bill of $137 billion. Paying for infrastructure is a big decision. How to pay for things is a marketing decision regarding pricing. What are the options?

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City Design: Redesigning Failed Shopping Malls

redesigning failed shopping malls

According to Credit Suisse, up to one-quarter of U.S. malls will close by 2022. During the past 60 years, malls served as a major public commons in the U.S. The design and stewardship of commons is a crucial component of public-sector marketing. Redesigning failed shopping malls could be an huge public-sector opportunity.

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Government Investments, Not Government Subsidies

government investments

The terms we use matter when designing and promoting public and social goods. I don’t like the term “subsidy” when applied to government programs. It lacks the related themes and ideas that I think we want associated with public spending. The term has also taken on negative connotations that further hinder strengthening our communities through the marketing of social goods. I prefer to think about government investments.

I’ll illustrate my point with a personal story from my early career at Microsoft.

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City design: Redesigning failed municipal golf courses

failed municipal golf course

More golf courses have closed than opened since 2006, according to Bloomberg. Many a failed municipal golf course opened during the stock market bubble of the 1990s and the housing market bubble of the 2000s, only to suffer during the Great Recession. In 2013, 14 new courses opened in the U.S. while 157 courses closed.

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Organizational narrative: critiquing Elon Musk’s pitch for Tesla Energy

A recent article in Medium gives an informative critique of Elon Musk‘s pitch for Tesla Energy earlier this year, including five elements to include in any pitch. Two of those five elements line up with the hero’s quest and Pixar pitch that I’ve previously discussed.

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Internet access as public service: the proposed Comcast-Time Warner merger

Comcast logo 2006

For the industrial age, widespread distribution of energy was a critical commodity, so critical that it evolved into a regulated utility. For the information age, that critical commodity is widely available Internet access.

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The power of pricing: pre-paid electricity

Kassierdrehstromzaehler

Most residential energy customers in the United States pay for their power monthly and in arrears. We use power throughout a month, and sometime in the middle of the next month our utility sends us a bill. Unless we’re on an average payment plan, the amount of the bill can vary widely from month to month. This seems normal, mainly because it’s what we’re used to and often it’s our only choice. But for many, including utilities, there’s a better way: pre-paid power.

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