Monthly Archives: July 2009

Moral Motivations: A Test Soon to Come to a Supermarket Near You

REUTERS/Mike Blake

REUTERS/Mike Blake

Reuters reports that a major study by scientists from the London School of Hygiene & Topical Medicine at the University of London shows organic foods have no nutritional benefit over conventional foods:

A systematic review of 162 scientific papers published in the scientific literature over the last 50 years, however, found there was no significant difference.

“A small number of differences in nutrient content were found to exist between organically and conventionally produced foodstuffs, but these are unlikely to be of any public health relevance,” said Alan Dangour, one of the report’s authors.

“Our review indicates that there is currently no evidence to support the selection of organically over conventionally produced foods on the basis of nutritional superiority.”

Now we haven’t heard anything about possible contradictions to the study, flaws in the methodology, whatever, so the scientists who produced this report might be doing a whole lot of voodoo instead of science.  (See, e.g., climate change ‘science’.)  But let us for the time being and for our purposes assume that the study is accurate and true.

What is fascinating for me is the test this scenario provides for the idea of moral motivation in consumers.  Explored in articles like this one about what motivates people in social networks, the idea is that modern consumers like to Do Good, at least when it isn’t inconvenient to do so.  People apparently will buy “green” products because they like to Do Good, and it’s easy — as simple as paying money at the counter.

Now, the organic food movement predates all of this to some extent; Whole Foods (a flagship of the organic food movement) was founded in 1978 after all at the height of the Disco Era.  The premise behind organic foods, I always thought, was that naturally grown foods is better for you.  The reason that I, as a consumer, am willing to pay two or three times the price for a gallon of milk was that organic milk — free from hormones, pesticides, whatever — was healthier for me and my family.  Over time, the organic food movement has blended with a variety of other socio-political movements like sustainability, humane kill, local foods (“locavore“), green, ecological concerns, and so on.  But I still believe that most organic food consumers — like my parents for example — buy organic foods because they believe the organic foods are good for them, not for the environment or animals or whatever.

So… whither organic foods if this study is true?  The test between 7DS Marketing and Moral Motivation Marketing is at hand.

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[7ds] Announcement: 7DS Associates Raises Second Round of Funding from JeffX

I’d like to make a major announcement that impacts the little company, 7DS Associates, which I started a couple of months ago.

The Myth, The Legend

The Myth, The Legend

We have raised a second round of funding — totaling approximately $22 and a bottle of vodka — from Jeffrey “JeffX” Corbett, formerly of ActiveRain, Ratespeed, and a half-dozen other companies.  That brings the total capital raised to date to approximately $45 and a bottle of vodka.  Chew on that, Zappos.

As part of his investment, Jeff will be joining 7DS Associates as a partner.  So when I use the word “we” from now on, it won’t be the royal we but the actual first person plural pronoun.

Now, I wasn’t really looking for investment, as our little company is already more profitable than Trulia and Zillow combined — a fact that surely influenced Jeff’s decision to invest and to join the firm.  But the new partnership means that our average height increased by 3″, and there’s a lot of research which shows that height is directly correlated to earnings.  And when Yao Ming, who wasn’t gonna be doing much anyhow, turns you down, you go for the next best thing.

What Jeff brings to 7DS is even more intelligence we can sell, of course.  For those who may not know, Jeff is the founder of TheXbroker blog, which changed the way I look at the mortgage industry.  He’s also a savvy operator, having helped ActiveRain achieve new heights of revenues and profitability in several short months.  And it doesn’t hurt that he’s one of the true experts on social media, Web 2.0, and how they interact with real estate, mortgage, and professional services.

So please welcome Jeff to the ranks of 7DS, now that we actually have ranks.


Honesty… Is Such A Lonely Word

But I don’t want some pretty face
to tell me pretty lies.
All I want is someone to believe.

– Billy Joel

I had a very interesting conversation with a realtor friend of mine today on the topic of personal branding.  She said something like:

You know what phrase I hate the most?  “To be honest with you.”  Like, what else are you gonna be?  And since you’re now going to be honest, does that mean you’ve been lying to me up until now?  I never want to tell someone I’m trustworthy; I want them to know that I am some other way.

A recent buyer’s survey I vaguely recall reading (at 2:10AM, I ain’t gonna go look) said that the number one reason why buyers selected an agent was “trustworthiness”.  It seems that consumers above all value someone they can trust to look out for their interests in the biggest financial transaction of their lives.

So why does it seem that when one thinks of real estate agents, honesty is rarely the first word that pops into one’s head?  (The same goes for, incidentally, marketers….)

Could it be because they (and we marketers) spend so much time telling people that they’re honest and trusthworthy?

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Community Generated Marketing?

Okay, so with the comic book discussion sure to be going on (who knew there were so many comics geeks in the, let me turn to something I think could be very interesting.  First, view this video:

This is a music video by the trance dance group OceanLab.  But it was edited from videos submitted by OceanLab’s fans.  From the YouTube description:

In November last year Above & Beyond launched a competition offering fans the chance to create the next OceanLab music video for “On A Good Day”. Jono, Tony & Paavo were overwhelmed with the quality and creativity of the entries and the official video has been made using the highlights from the best entries.

The resulting video is beguiling.  Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the track itself is haunting and beautiful.

Where my mind goes wandering is… is this sort of community-created marketing possible, especially in real estate?

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Top Ten Graphic Novels – A Conversation from Twitter

[This post is purely personal, and stems from a Twitter conversation I was having with @ARDELLd, @mattrathburn, @1000wattmarc, and some others.  It was also a test of Posterous. :) ]

So taking the Twitter conversation about top three graphic novels to the next level… here’s my personal list of the Desert Island Top Ten Graphic Novels.  I had to leave out so many great works, because some are actually long series, as opposed to a graphic novel.  In other cases, it’s just so hard to pick one graphic novel from an amazing series.  Anyhow, here’s my list:

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