Having been on a six-month city-to-city journey had tired me immensely. I definitely needed time away from airplanes, hotels, traffic, skyscrapers, noise, pollution, and all the other hassles city life repeatedly places in front of you. While in Buenos Aires, Argentina, I decided to take some time off from my project and just head nowhere, with no schedule,map, or place to be or see the next morning… As I sat on the bus I spotted a native-looking young man, looking very worried, carrying a paper bag like his life depended on it. I gave him some time to get comfortable with the journey (I knew the bus wouldn’t stop for the first three hours), but my curiosity was building up and I had to go satisfy it.
Tattu, that was his name, was on the bus goingback to his village carrying medicine for his mother and sister. A disease that was spreading around the village had struck the women, and their traditional medicines weren’t being able to treat it. They were an extremely closed community and Tattu had to run away in order to get the medicine. Their situation was so severe that he had to hitchhike his way to a small town, steel the medicine and begfor cash for the bus ticket to go back.
I knew that donating money was not an option. I was intrigued by the situation and wanted to find a way to help Tattu’s community.
I asked him to tell me everything about his village so I could think of some possible way to help them. As he spoke, I realized that they had an enormous potential. They just didn’t know how to use it… Tattu told me they had awater supply as well as they grew their own vegetables, fruits and, cereals (usually in a larger quantity than what they needed). They were settled in a very large area where they had never struggled for survival for centuries, and most of all, they had a lot of men sitting around desperate to find a way to treat their slow-dying mothers, wives, and daughters. When Tattu finished talking, I wasoverwhelmed with ideas and asked if I could join him back to his village, in order to talk to the village chief to see how willing he would be to try some of my ideas.
Everyone in the village had a sad face on. The depressing recent years, watching their women die, had taken a toll on the man. You couldn’t hear children playing, or see anyone smile… I was promptly introduced to the village chiefwho was desperate to turn around the destiny of his village. He briefed me on everything Tattu had already told me and something suddenly came to my mind: “Sir, I believe you can brand your way out of extinction”.
The chief had no idea what I meant, but he was willing to listen and try anything…
I started to explain to him the basics of Marketing and how he could use it as a tool to save thevillage without having to evolve to be a modern consuming society. “Marketing is the Art everybody has to be able to perform in order to be able to sell and create value,” I said, as I kept showing him how marketing is the set of tools used to communicate the value of a product or service to customers. I then told him that since marketing encompasses the entire business seen from the customer’spoint of view. If he put in practice a good enough marketing strategy, he would be able to create a brand strong enough to save them from extinction, and transform them in a self-sufficient community with the necessary means to progress, without abandoning their roots and way of life. All he had to do was to use all the resources that he and Tattu had previously told me about.
Since time was of theessence, I then started to show him how he could lead his people to change improve their lives and change their fate.
Since they were in a desperate situation, they would have to sell products at a larger scale that they wanted to, in order to raise enough funds to fight the disease, and they urgently needed a way to distribute their products.
Tattu came up with an idea that could solve the...