Is your small business driven by values…or do you only respond to external pressure?
In 2015, I wrote about Tim Hortons, a Canadian coffee franchise (which is huge in Canada, but struggling in the U.S.).
For about three weeks, 1,500 Tim Hortons locations had been airing ads from Enbridge (a Calgary-based energy company) on their TV screens during customers’ morning coffee.
The ads were designed to sell the Canadian public on a controversial $7.9 billion oil project known as the Northern Gateway pipeline. Once completed, the pipeline would ship oilsands bitumen from Alberta to the west coast.
Customers objected…so they “pressured” Tim Hortons to stop running ads promoting the oil pipeline project.
An activist group called SumOfUs launched an online petition, urging the franchise to stop running the ads.
Responding to this feedback, Tim Hortons announced it would stop running the ads.
SumOfUs called that “a victory.”
What I found most interesting about this story was that Tim Hortons didn’t stop running the ads based on their values, nor did they do something “good” for the environment… they only stopped in response to external pressure.
They essentially showed the world that whoever applies the most pressure on them will determine the company’s decisions.
If no pressure had been applied on them, would they have stopped the ads? Probably not.
Let Your Values Drive All Your Decisions & Actions!
Being pushed around by external pressure is contrary to the anti-marketing philosophy.
Anti-marketing is all about being true to yourself and sticking to your values no matter what…while motivating, educating, and inspiring (MEI’ing) people.
We could all benefit from deciding in advance what type of company we want to run…what types of advertising we’ll get involved with…and what kind of “stand” we’ll take in the world.
Some people are lucky enough to know all this stuff right off that bat…others will have to spend a few years, or even decades, figuring this stuff out. (Some never do.)
But it’s worth figuring out.
For the anti-marketer, your values are what drive your actions and decisions, above all else.
When you draw the line ahead of time, you’re not at the mercy of external pressure. You can use your principles as an unmovable rock, an anchor, a strong place from which to make decisions and take action.
That’s a much more powerful place to operate from — compared to letting the pressures of life (and people) push you in one direction or another.
* Update: the Northern Gateway pipeline project was later rejected in 2016.
Here’s an interesting CNN video (Aug 2019) on why Tim Hortons is widely successful in Canada, but struggles to gain a presence in the U.S. You can tell they’ve never heard of anti-marketing: