At the moment I am studying a postgraduate marketing unit as part of my quest to continue to fill my mind with knowledge, and despite my scepticism, I have really learnt a lot. Interestingly, something I have noticed along the way is many Jack in the box concepts and philosophies have resonance and relevance to some of the biggest companies in the world. A recent text book reading (author of which was the ever faithful Kotler and his marketing buddies) cemented that thought by talking about winning consumers’ hearts and minds, as the pathway to winning profits. It made me ponder how many companies truly have a distinction between winning hearts, minds and profits as part of their corporate objectives (or understand the difference).

The context of this statement in my marketing text book was about identifying competitors strengths and weaknesses. It went something along the lines of, that companies generally compete for share of market, share of mind (a logical process) and share of heart (an emotional process) (the latter two in relation to consumer orientation). It then went on to surmise that companies who strive to win hearts and minds will inevitably make gains in market share and profitability.

This relates to our own descriptions of a company’s purposes vs its objectives – where purposes may be aligned to the heart and mind, and objectives may be aligned to the market share and profits. Companies are driven by one or the other, or more commonly are ‘undecided’ and live by a strange combination of them all. It is a concept which relates to everything else – culture, product, price, positioning etc. and why it forms the starting point to all off our marketing consultancy projects – why does the company truly exist? What problem is it solving for the consumer?

In many cases the ‘market share and profit’ path cannibalises the others: a drive to save costs at every opportunity completely diminishes all traces of customer service. However, an alternative pathway is to offer superior service and a commitment to customer, where in exchange a higher price can be charged – building ‘value’ and thus winning the ‘mind’. There is of course an even bolder pathway where you adopt a ‘heart’ approach – offering a product or service that changes a customer; not only solves their problem but shows them a better way. It is reaching an unsurpassed level of loyalty, advocacy and love (yes, ‘loving’ a brand is a very real concept). Companies such as Apple, Virgin, Nike and Disney are examples of companies who have clearly won customers ‘hearts’. Think of the way today’s youth (sadly, me included) literally ‘worship’ their ipod or iphone.

So which one do you compete for? Share of market, share of mind, or share of heart?