How to become a social business

Tom Asacker

There's a huge dynamic underway, a cultural shift in the world of business accelerated by the rapid adoption of social technologies. This new worldview is about being human, as much as about being in business. It's about tuning in to your audience's new frequency. Turning on your inherent sense of curiosity and empathy. And ultimately, it's about being open and standing out in a marketplace that's bursting at the seams with self-centered, look-alike products, services and salespeople.

A successful transition to this new model requires 10 fundamental changes in mindset and behavior:

1.From Real Goods to Feel Goods

In an oversupplied market with an incomprehensible amount of information, rational decision-making is a myth. Today we base our choices on what feels good to us. So forget about Unique Selling Proposition and start thinking Unique Feelings Proposition. I describe precisely how to approach this challenge in my latest book.

2.From Facts to Truth

Today's highly skeptical and connected marketplace demands that you let go of the language of logic and arguments (the facts), and become proficient at the language of feelings and beliefs (the truth). Every decision is driven by what is inside someone - memories, images, and shared experiences - not what's on the outside.

3.From Capture to Attract

How can anyone treat customers like friends when they're consistently referred to as targets to be captured ? How can you expect initiative taking, when managers are busy ordering the troops around? Stop trying to force fit today's complex market environment into the outdated models of yesterday's much simpler time. Stay tuned in to people's changing preferences, and be turned on to engage with them and to seduce them with emotion, passion, and creativity.

4.From Interesting to Interested

If you want people to pay attention to you, you must tune into their frequency. Their current situation. Their anxieties, desires and fears. Establish an emotional bond based on your audience's feeling of finally having been understood by someone. Because if people feel that you are open and genuinely interested in them, they'll be much more likely to open up and give you the information and support that you need.

5.From Branding to Bonding

Does a well-known brand equal a strong brand? Not any longer. The rise of the global economy and the rapid adoption of the Internet have ignited commercial innovation and put an end to those days forever (rewind a half dozen years and there were no brands called Facebook, Groupon, or Twitter). Today, the strength of a brand lies in the bond with its audience. So make your brand about value, not image. Feeling, not familiarity. Make it about shared beliefs and trust. And make it about honesty, vulnerability and sharing.

6.From Fact Telling to Storytelling

Facts don't persuade, feelings do. And stories are the best way to get at those feelings. A brand is a story: an engaging, authentic story that everyone in a company lives and tells. Stop and ask yourself: What story does my audience conjure up in its imagination about itself when purchasing or experiencing my company or products? Make sure to complement and enhance that story in every single thing that you say and do.

7.From Doing To to Doing With (and For)

This is a moment in time that holds more possibilities for you than any period in the history of humankind. And the only thing standing between you and the results you truly want is you - and your need to control it. Enlightened leaders give up the need to control, come to terms with their own egos, and dedicate themselves to helping others. They inspire. They embrace change. They accept the uncertainty of the future. They trust people and help them live their dreams.

8.From Professional to Amateur

What the business world needs now is a return to the idea of amateur spirit. Amateur used to be a positive, noble tag to apply to someone (the Latin root for amateur is "amator," lover). An amateur pursuit was one you did for love, with a spirit of passion and authenticity. Thomas Jefferson was an amateur writer and philosopher when he drafted the Declaration of Independence. Organizations must recapture this amateur spirit. Not because it is morally right, but because it's the only way to succeed in a transparent world stunned by scandals and greed-is-good ideology.

9.From Knowledge to Wisdom

Knowledge speaks. Wisdom listens. Knowledge tries to win. To out-reason, to conquer. Knowledge is one sided. Wisdom works reciprocally. Knowledge is about getting the deal done. Wisdom understands that the purpose of each interaction is to grow the strength of the relationship. Don't judge. Don't give advice. Listen and question. Let your audience stay in charge of themselves and their situations. Its not an intellectual challenge; it's an emotional one. See, hear and feel with your heart. Connect with your audience's feelings and reassure those feelings. Solve problems together. Get at the truth together.

10.From Rah-Rah! to Ah-Ha!

To flourish in a rapidly changing world you need the ah-has! and not simply the rah-rahs! Success is a by-product of childlike inquisitiveness and rapid experimentation. It comes from a culture of curiosity and caring, not from a head down, plow ahead mentality. Remember, feelings are the only value proposition left in our developed economy. So rediscover your unbridled imagination and idealistic hopes and tap into that proposition and create new and preemptive benefits. Shatter what conventional wisdom tells you that your audience needs. Try wild ideas. Go for the extremes. Stay passionate!

P.S. These principles are not new (I wrote them over 7 years ago). I am happy, however, to find many people finally catching on, or perhaps empowered to speak up, aided by the recent advancements in social technologies. Please keep it up! The establishment needs your 21st century, tuned-in perspective.

Tom Asacker, author of A Little Less Conversation
Copyright 2011, author retains ownership. All Rights Reserved.

Category: Work-Life, Balance
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