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New General Market: Mack emphasizes need for high-level engagement

What is capturing the New General Market, the focus of a recent one-day summit hosted by Mack Elevation and Drug Store News, all about?

“It’s about purpose,” said Dan Mack, president of Chicago-based Mack Elevation. “It’s about soul. A soul of a company is very unique. You can’t define it, but you certainly can feel it. You can feel organizations and leaders who have soul.”

The New General Market Purpose-Driven Summit, held in Hoboken, N.J., in the shadows of Manhattan’s towering skyscrapers, attracted an audience of more than 100 retailers, distributors and suppliers. Attendees were treated to six presentations, featuring four retail executives and three panels discussions.

Mack’s opening statements were designed to set the stage for a thought-provoking day of seminars and presentations, all created to get the participants and members of the audience to think outside the box and look at issues from different angles. “I’m really hoping today we can dig a little bit deeper and create an atmosphere for everybody to reflect deeply on their business and leadership philosophy,” Mack said at the beginning of the event.

He quickly added that the agenda for the day was to get all attendees to engage at a higher level and to determine what works and what does not work for them. “So, as you think about today, I want you to think about how you engage at a higher level,” he said. “How do you be really honest about what’s working, what’s not working, and be honest about that discovery.”

Mack stressed that attendees search for each other’s commonalities. “We want to talk about what are we learning from each other,” he said. “What are you learning from other companies who have similar visions and have experienced similar challenges? Is there somebody in here you want to connect with personally because their culture, brands and ideals are part of your tribe? That’s something you don’t want to minimize, because your competitors may be your best allies. We’ve got to start exploring other companies stories.”

Furthermore, Mack stressed that the companies and brands that look at marketing from a different angle will prosper the most. “It is about humanity,” he said. “Brands can make a difference and brands can really screw it up, too. But brands have a voice. Again we’re going to hear stories today of companies that are doing some really cool stuff and touching people maybe in a way government can’t. It’s thought-provoking. About 57% now buy or boycott a brand based on its position or social or political issues. That’s one of two. Almost three-quarters say they bought a brand because it took a position on a controversial issue.”

In the end, Mack emphasized that the entire retail community needs to develop strategies that keep them ahead of the ever-changing curve. Accomplish this task and you have an excellent chance of winning the game. Falling behind here can lead to major difficulties.

“Are you creating an adaptive, resilient team that will create a new scorecard based on the practices of today’s winning brands?” he asked attendees. “And do truly understand the mindset and culture of today’s most disruptive organizations?”

This story is part of a Special Report on the New General Market Purpose-Driven Summit — to read more insights, click here
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