Photo by The Next Web via Flickr
Seriously, yes. If you want to build a great brand, it's all about connecting people - in a way that's engaging and fun. Hopefully it's also meaningful - the Woodstock of its generation.
The Relationship-Based Enterprise by Roy McKenzie explains in a methodical way how to do this, although McKenzie thinks in terms of "CRM" - customer relationship management. He explains that businesses add value internally and externally by finding and serving customers in a disciplined way. This is the exact same thing as marketing.
Note that CRM is not about providing goods or services. Which is usually what people think of as the point of a business. I am here to tell you that anyone can do that.
According to McKenzie you build a relationship-based enterprise in three steps:
- Find the customers.
- Engage them in a relationship.
- Manage the relationship consistently.
Integrate what McKenzie says with the advice of Art Kleiner, who tells you that the unit of any organization is the decision. Accordingly your job, if you want to influence those decisions, is to build the kind of relationships that will affect the decisions of the "core group" of decision-makers.
In your career you can use this advice as well. I recently read an incredible post by my favorite blogger and career counselor Penelope Trunk: "New Strategies To Get A New Job." All of them except one (innovation) came down to likability and connecting with others.
And even innovation is about selling your ideas, not just generating them.
Trunk gives you free branding advice not just for your career but for your company when she states: "Personality is how you decommodify a commodity."
Exactly! Exactly! What is branding but the addition of the perception of value? If you are not branded you are merely the vendor of something that anyone can buy, anywhere, for cost plus whatever margin the vendor can get away (e.g. due to factors like scarcity.)
To get a job or build a business you have to have emotional intelligence. You have to have a likable personality. These are givens.
Yet they're still not enough. As Trunk notes, to add value today you have to do one more thing: build a community. Ideally, around a relevant idea, or your community is no more compelling than anyone else's.
In other words, to build an amazing brand, personal or organizational, you can't just have good ideas. You can't just connect with other people. You have to connect other people with each other. Through an idea that you are selling that is outside yourself.
Meaning the conversation is so important that it continues even when you're outside the room. And it's always tied back to your name.
Think about it - have a good day everyone - and good luck!