171: Can We Save the Corporation with Joseph Jaffe

Joseph Jaffe, Author of Built to Suck

During this episode of “Marketing Today,” Alan Hart interviews Joseph Jaffe, co-founder at the HMS Beagle, author, consultant, keynote speaker, and thought leader on marketing and change. Jaffe’s current book, “Built to Suck: The Inevitable Demise of the Corporation…and How to Save It?” addresses the ideas behind why companies are heading towards a collision course with their demise. Jaffe provides tangible ways to address how survival is a gift to right the wrongs to achieve preservation in our capitalist system.

Jaffe talks about the failing of business models and why marketing has to get better, extremely fast. Marketing may still not be enough to save corporations, without capitalism itself evolving. Jaffe also breaks down what he feels are the four pillars of how not to suck, which are: digital disruption, talent resurrection, customer obsession, and corporate citizenship. Digital was always meant to disrupt and turn businesses on their heads.

Jaffe talks about the HMS Beagle and its mission statement to help people adapt, “when we talk about digital, and we talk about social, and we talk about innovation and start-ups, at the end of the day, if you had to try and find one common thread and line that runs right through it would be the ability to change.” Jaffe talks about how companies lose their competitive edge when they are scaling with such a huge global footprint that they struggle to adapt quickly, “‘overhead, in and of itself, has become this cement block that is kind of dragging us down to the bottom of the ocean.” He also talks about how “losing money is the enemy or at least the foil of short-term ROI,” and why meetings that are only creating more meetings without creating tangible solutions are filled with “oxygen invaders” that aren’t adding anything and are slowing down the process.

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today”:

  • Where did Joseph start, and how did he get to where he is now? (01:55)
  • Why this book and why now? (05:32)
  • Are growth and scale a strength or a weakness? (11:03)
  • What does he mean by “age,” “the nature of public ownership,” and “culture”? (18:57)
  • Joseph talks about short-term return-on-investment. (26:48)
  • What are the four pillars of not sucking? (30:24)
  • What is the survival planning canvas, and what value does it provide to companies? (37:10)
  • What should marketers do and not do these days? (43:01)
  • Is there an experience in Joseph Jaffee’s life that has defined who he is today? (48:03)
  • Do they have a Nando’s in London? (50:30)
  • What advice would he give to his younger self? (51:42)
  • What fuels Phil to keep going in his career and life? (54:32)
  • Are there brands that he thinks we should pay attention to? (57:06)
  • Where does Joseph Jaffee see the future of marketing going? (1:00:52)

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