Working in Marketing sometimes makes me feel like I am a criminal. People ask me: “Why do you ever work in Marketing? How do you like to cheat and lie to people?” Well, you can read the truthful answer – why someone might even love to work in Marketing – beautifully written here (seriously, read it. It will change your perspective about Marketing).
But people’s questions don’t stop there. When they find out that I work at TÜV Rheinland, they immediately want to know: “What do you do there? Why would someone even need to sell safety?” That one is a lot harder to answer.
The world is a huge playground
When I took up my Marketing job at TÜV Rheinland, I knew I was going to make this world a safer place (an arms dealer may claim to do same the same thing, but you know what I mean, right?). After working here for a while, I started to look at myself differently: I am not selling product safety certification to huge, greedy, irresponsible manufacturers; I am helping billions of children play safely on a huge playground.
Seriously, not all corporations are the instruments of evil as often depicted in movies or by the media. One of my favorite companies is geobra Brandstätter, which produces the “Playmobil” figures. The company actually sincerely cares about consumer safety.
So it was not a coincidence that we took Playmobil figures as our company “mascots”. Our work is not about hunting down evil companies, it is about educating people – and sometimes protecting them from themselves.
May the force be with safety
If you visit a production plant or factory or construction site in a developing country (which I got to visit on a regular basis in the past), you will probably see that the employers need to force their workers to wear their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during work.
Let that sink in. You need to force someone to be safe? Where is the logic in that? Isn’t personal safety like one of the most self-interested things?
Carelessness vs. sustainability
Imagine a group of people that need to be force-fed with veggies so they won’t suffer from malnutrition. What does that remind you of? Exactly. Children.
Like children, consumers can make a lot of noise, too, and sometimes the wrong kind of noise: “I want a wireless device so I won’t need to untangle the cables all the time – I don’t care about batteries”, “I don’t want to spend more than $12 for a piece of clothing. It is just cotton. It literally grows on trees”, “I want a big car, it makes me look better. Doesn’t matter if it consumes more fuel – I can pay for the gasoline”.
Those are some common consumer rants. But why don’t they (or we) demand this instead: “I want a <name device here> that is energy efficient, doesn’t harm me and doesn’t pollute the environment.”
Education is king
Of course this doesn’t mean that all consumers are hopelessly helpless like two-year children playing with matchsticks. I often see two things in people: they take safety for granted, and they are uninformed (No, I don’t mean ‘wearing a uniform’, but ‘not being informed’. English. Sheesh.).
When we wear our blue work uniform, we keep in mind that we are here to uniformly inform the uninformed consumers (Sorry, I cannot resist pun).
Let them make mistakes …
If you ask me to what extend I carry out my work, I must tell you: all the time. Outside the office, when I see strangers knowingly doing stupid things, I will sit back, grab popcorn, and tell myself, “If he dies, he dies.”
No, I’m not being a hypocrite, I’m merely carrying out my duty.
If you want to help people become proper adults, you have got to let them learn the lesson of consequences. People who don’t care about safety sometimes need to learn it the hard way.
You will do the same once you realize that the world is full of Jon Snows and Jane Snows (Yep. Game of Thrones reference. If you don’t know it, just take it that you are in Team Snow). Don’t join Team Snow, because *SPOILER ALERT* we all hated it when Jon Snow died.
That was the long answer to satisfy the short question
“Why do you need to market safety?”
The short answer is:
“So this world can be a better and safer place to play on.”
I hope you are sold on the idea of personal safety by reading this. You too can help this world to be a safer playground by spreading the word.