The Age of Ecosystem Strategy

My colleague Christian Sarkar and I have been working on a topic that is increasingly important for businesses, governments, and institutions of every kind: ecosystem strategy.


Our model (shown above) suggests that there are three main areas we need to explore:

  1. The impact of ecosystem strategy on traditional strategy

  2. The impact of ecosystem strategy on innovation

  3. The impact of ecosystem strategy on marketing

Central to all three is not only the customer, but also the market, and society itself.

Our destiny as a species, as individuals, and as businesses now depends on understanding and nurturing the common good across the natural and unnatural walls and boundaries we have built for ourselves.

Stay tuned for more.

The Kotler Collection at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida

The Philip and Nancy Kotler Glass Collection is comprised of works by many of the leading glass artists in the American and European traditions, and includes works by Nicolas Africano, Silvia Levenson, Peter Hora, and Stanislav Libensky among many others. Nancy and I donated our Studio Glass collection to The Ringling in 2012 to share our love for Studio Glass with the public.

Megaplanet 5.4  by  Josh Simpson  (1989); Glass; 8 x 8 x 8 in. (20.3 x 20.3 x 20.3 cm)

Megaplanet 5.4 by Josh Simpson (1989); Glass; 8 x 8 x 8 in. (20.3 x 20.3 x 20.3 cm)

The contemporary works of art on view belong to a lineage of creativity beginning about 2000 BCE in Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq and northern Syria) where glass was first cast in simple molds. People have long prized glass for the fact that the objects made from it are both useful and decorative. While glass artists were honored in the Ancient and Medieval worlds, glass itself became associated with utilitarianism and craft, or at best as decorative embellishment, as the centuries progressed.

In the late 1950s, Harvey K. Littleton, a ceramist on faculty at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, began to experiment with ways in which new glassblowing techniques might be employed to expand the possibilities of the material. His goal was to encourage small glassblowing studios to form across America, like those associated with Murano in Italy, where experiments could take place. In collaboration with Dominick Labino, Littleton gave two lectures in glassblowing at the Toledo Museum of Art in 1962. This is generally cited as the beginning of what would come to be known as the American Studio Glass movement. Early experimentation was hampered by a lack of technique, so by the late 1960s American glass artists sought guidance from European artists in countries such as Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic) and Italy, where traditions and techniques had remained strong.

The glass works Nancy and I donated comprise an overview of the very best in the American and European Studio Glass tradition. Unlike their predecessors, those artists associated with Studio Glass are focused on maintaining the artist as designer of unique pieces and are committed to the sharing of ideas and techniques, something that would not be possible in an industrial setting. Fifty years since its beginning, the Studio Glass movement has helped the medium to stake its rightful claim as fine art within the museum.

View the collection here >>

Imminent Fear by  Mark Bokesch-Parsons  (1998); Glass, paint; 22 1/2 x 24 x 5 in. (57.2 x 61 x 12.7 cm)

Imminent Fear by Mark Bokesch-Parsons (1998); Glass, paint; 22 1/2 x 24 x 5 in. (57.2 x 61 x 12.7 cm)

The Brand Activism Workshop

Why are leading brands turning to progressive Brand Activism?  How do brands align their values with the values of their customers, their employees, and society at large?  


We offer the workshop in two locations:

(1) in Sarasota, Florida (workshop led by Prof. Philip Kotler and Christian Sarkar)

(2) on your company's premises (workshop led by Christian Sarkar)


Senior executives responsible for company/brand strategy and direction


The workshop  introduces executives to the strategic power of Brand Activism done right.

  • What is Brand Activism?

  • How are leading companies stepping up? (NIKE, PUMA, Microsoft, Google, Unilever, Patagonia, The Body Shop, Kenneth Cole, and more)

  • The role of Trust: local, national, and global

  • What are the existing models for Brand Activism?  

  • An introduction to the Sarkar-Kotler Brand Activism Framework

  • Understanding Brand Activism strategy

  • The CEO as Brand Activist 

  • How do you find your authentic Brand Activism story?

  • What could possibly go wrong?

  • Aligning values and building movements

  • Measuring the impact of Brand Activism (Return on Trust)

  • Discussion

  • Follow-up

  • STRATEGIC TOOL: Brand Activism Mapping

  • STRATEGIC TOOL: The Brand Activism Canvas

Contact us via our ActivistBrands website >>

Brand Activism and the Future of Branding

Christian Sarkar and I have published the e-book version Brand Activism: From Purpose to Action (IDEA BITE PRESS, November 2018). The print version will be available in February, 2019 - and will include new interviews with several additional luminaries. You can get the e-book now and automatically get the updated version when it is released.

More   information   on the book >>   AVAILABLE IN:   US   UK   DE   FR   ES   IT   NL   JP   BR   CA   MX   AU   IN

More information on the book >>



“…Brand Activism will be required reading, not only in business schools and by NGOs and campaigners, but by asset managers, owners, pension funds’ trustees and senior corporate executives worldwide.”
– Hazel Henderson, founder, Ethical Markets

“Kotler and Sarkar convincingly make the case as to why values-driven marketing requires taking the right actions too. Timely, progressive and ground-breaking, their how-to brand activism framework should be the go-to guide for marketers wanting to make a bigger difference with their brands.” – Kevin Lane Keller, E.B. Osborn Professor of Marketing, Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth

“Phil (and his colleague Sarkar) is at it again, continuing to up his game. This time he is aiming at helping society and the world in which we live. Corporate and governmental trust is at a crisis. This book is an essential roadmap of steps businesses and their leaders must partake.” – David Reibstein, William Stewart Woodside Professor Professor of Marketing, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania




My Adventures in Marketing

My autobiography - My Adventures in Marketing - is available in a limited edition from IDEA BITE PRESS. The book is my view of the world – seeing the world through marketing eyes.


Here’s what you’ll find in the book:

  • Why the lack of a strong liberal education has led to so many problems in the world today, and what we need to do about it (p.18)

  • The question Professors Paul SamuelsonRobert Solow and Charles Myers asked me for my dissertation defense (p.22)

  • How I met Nancy at a  “jollyup” (p.23)

  • India and my dissertation on labor economics: how I failed to prove my hypothesis (p.28)

  • the birth of marketing decision-making – using a model-building approach (p.34)

  • the shift from economics to marketing – joining Northwestern (p.35)

  • writing Marketing Management (p.41)

  • my observations on the origin and evolution of marketing (p.45)

  • applying marketing outside the business world (p.48)

  • the emergence of social marketing (p.51)

  • criticism of marketing (p.57)

  • contributions of marketing (p.59)

  • how to market places – the story of Bilbao, Spain (p. 61)

  • the evolution of political marketing (p.64)

  • marketing museums (p.67)

  • marketing the performing arts (p.71)

  • marketing religion (p.74)

  • my meeting with Peter Drucker in Claremont (p.83)

  • board meetings – how to simulate competition (p.87)

  • marketing and fighting recessions (p.88)

  • growing in a period of slow growth – 8 strategies for growth (p.91)

  • managing non-profits (p.93)

  • improving government performance (p.98)

  • the scourge of corruption (p.103)

  • the rise of Corporate Social Responsibility CSR (p.106)

  • conscious capitalism (p.110)

  • the curse of poverty (p.114)

  • fighting the rise of income inequality (p.117)

  • how to handle national disillusionment in an age of demagogues (p.119)

  • the principles of demarketing (p.124)

  • launching the World Marketing Summit (p.128)

  • Japan: decision-making the Japanese way (p.132)

  • My experiences in Japan (p.136)

  • How I started collecting glass art (p.145)

  • My love affair with Sweden (p.151)

  • Indonesia and building the new Museum of Marketing (p.155)

  • Thailand and The Marketing of Nations (p.162)

  • Brazil: the 5 S’s (p.165)

  • Mexico and the creation of Kidzania (p.169)

  • Italy and the “flowering of human excellence” (p.173)

  • Economics and Art of Nation Building (p.177)

  • The promise and opportunity of Mega-Cities (p.179)

  • Chautauqua, NY: a cultural oasis (p.182)

  • Paradise found: Longboat Key, Florida (p.186)

  • Marketing celebrityfame and visibility (p.190)

  • Innovation and disruption: how to win in the Digital Age (p.196)

  • The future is digital (p.200)

  • The 4 failings of Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) (p.202)

  • Brand Activism: the next stage of branding (p.203)

  • How I returned to Economics and the role of Capitalism (p.212)

  • The 14 shortcomings of Capitalism (p.213)

  • The Decline of Democracy (p.216)

  • Can American Democracy survive Trump? (p.221)

  • Saving Healthcare: It’s time for Single-Payer System (p.225)

  • How to Market Peace (p.238)

  • What would really Make America Great Again? (p.241)

  • Learning from the Marketing Associations (p.246)

  • The Future of Marketing (p.255)

  • Many friends and mentors (p.270)

  • Nancy and me (p.279)


A list of Philip Kotler-related websites

Some of you have asked me for more information on the various websites that I participate in regularly, so I’ve made a list:

The first Philip Kotler Presidential Award

The World Marketing Summit (WMS) just presented India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the first Philip Kotler Presidential Leadership Award.  The concept underlying the award is to honor a major public leader who has given new life to democracy and economic growth in that nation. 

Here is a letter I sent the Prime Minister to thank him for accepting the award:


I discuss the thinking behind this award in my interview with The Marketing Journal.

Kotler Will Travel and Teach in Europe 2018

Kotler Will Travel and Teach in Europe 2018

I will be giving talks on marketing in Vienna, Bologna, Milan, Rome and Istanbul this November-December.

I speak at the 10th Anniversary Drucker Forum November 27-30 on “Should Managers be Activists.”  The Drucker Forum features a large number of European and North American business experts and is worth attending.

My talks in Bologna, Milan and Rome will describe “The New Marketing.”  In Rome, Sapienza University is awarding me an honorary degree, my 22nd honorary degree. Sapienza was founded in 1303 A.D.  It is the largest university in Europe, supporting over 115,000 students, including 5,500 international students, and almost 4,000 academic staff.

I will then fly to Istanbul, give my talk "The New Marketing" and return to the U.S.


Welcome to My New Website

Everyone’s website gets ancient after a while.  Mine suffered from old age.  I invited my granddaughter singer song writer Olivia Frances, a whiz at social media, to help me construct a lively website.  We used Square Space as the engine for developing the website.  We found it easy to use.  Please take a look at the various components on the Kotler website.  Your comments are always welcome.


Another summer at the Chautauqua Institution

Nancy and I spent a wonderful nine weeks at this utopian institution.  Each week featured speakers on a different theme.  Among the most interesting weel-long themes were The Ethics of Dissent, The Changing Nature of Work, The Arts of Yo-Yo Ma, and Russia.  Our granddaughter Olivia spent a week with us and we enjoyed listening to her songs at the Café.  Our nephew Jonathan Kotler came the same week and we listened with excitement to his new overture.  Even Beethoven would be impressed.


My New Book on Activists and Reformers, Strategies for Advancing the Common Good

All of us take positions on hot political issues.  Are we for or against gun control?  Are we pro-choice or pro-life on abortion?  Are we for more immigrants or fewer immigrants coming into the U.S.?  For each position on an issue, we can ask whether your position advances or sets back the Common Good.  You can bet that each side is ready to make the case that their side advances the Common Good.

Jeremy Bentham, the great English lawyer and philosopher, argued that judgment should be based on how much pleasure and pain would be caused by taking a particular position.  Consider this action.  A city government agency wants to confiscate some land to build a new performing arts center. It will compensate the landowner to mitigate their pain. If the performing art center generates a great amount of pleasure for city residents and only a relatively small amount of pain, this act would have increased the Common Good.  For Bentham, the measure is “the greatest good for the greatest number.”

I explore the meaning and measurement of the Common Good and how it is affected by different social movements such as the peace movement, the environmental movement, the women’s movement, the civil rights movement, the labor movement and other movements.  I also examine the tools, tactics and strategies that activists and reformers can use to advance their cause.

I am now in the process of choosing a publisher for this book that will run around 150 pages.