Telling stories, manifestos, a real guarantee, and the unsocial web but social business

I stumbled upon The Stories We Construct with Are you ready to Succeed by Srikumar Rao fresh in my mind. Rao talks about the mental models we construct to create our reality – but that is not THE reality. And this presentation walks you through how the narratives we tell ourselves frame how we see our past as well as the future, guiding our behavior. Stories govern how we spend our time, what we buy and the decisions we make. These are powerful concepts that can help marketers create relevant stories for their audiences as well as help you see how your own stories influence your behaviors and choices. I would certainly encourage marketers to use this information for social good rather than to deceive and manipulate. Ultimately you’ll be found out and that’s hardly the way to build a loyal following.

We often get stuck in our daily routines and can use a quick jolt of sharp thinking to awaken our senses. That makes these five manifestos worth your time. From Frank Lloyd Wright to Seth Godin, John Maeda at RISD, Leo Tolstoy and Apple, there’s some serious wisdom to kick start your day if you are indeed stuck. And if you’re not, it doesn’t hurt to think about how these might influence your decision making and goal setting. I’ve grabbed one from each of the five here and encourage you to read on for more. Think, too, about creating your own.

  • Instinctive Cooperation
  • There really isn’t much of a ‘short run’. It quickly becomes yesterday. The long run, on the other hand, sticks around for quite a while.
  • Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious, and adding the meaningful.
  • Always live less expensively than you might.
  • Have the self-honesty to admit when you’re wrong and the courage to change.

I tend to believe that if more companies invested in true customer service in every sense of the word, they’d need to spend less on marketing to bring in new customers. So many companies place front line customer service in the most drab locations, push them to get customers off the phone as quickly as possible and pay them very little. No wonder they’re cranky when you call. You would be too if you had to talk to cranky customers all day while not being empowered to think for yourself or actually HELP a customer. Check out Zingerman’s customer service guarantee. How powerful is it that they guarantee no hassles no exclusions and no statute of limitations? This is powerful marketing at the root level of a company. Can your company do this? Why not?

Mitch Joel talks about how the fact we have our own RSS feeds in our browsers featuring our Facebook and Twitter feeds, we’re actually narrowing our world because on average we have only 120 friends so see just what they’re posting. We curate our own lives in a very narcissistic way. His key point then is that the web is becoming less social rather than more. Provocative thinking if the ability to be more social on the web makes us less so. And then we have this report on what Wedbush calls the second internet in which companies become more social, open their platforms and create personal experiences for each customer. And customers have the ability to contribute to the experience. Based on Mitch’s line of thinking, this takes us further down the path being less social as we tailor the experience to what we think and who we connect too eliminating opportunity for serendipity. 

There’s much hype about content being king and all that but Olivier says not so fast. Yes, it’s absolutely important but he encourages – no urges – marketers to look beyond content and embed social media into every part of the business. And to not think about social media as marketing channels – which so many do because that’s what they know. He also lists several business areas that don’t rely on content to be social like digital customer service and business intelligence. This thinking requires that you as a marketer look beyond your domain and seek to break down the silos across your company. It’s about building what Dachis Group calls the social business.  This is long read but you have the weekend to digest in order to hit the ground running on Monday!

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