Archives for posts with tag: engagement

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The marketing world is filled with words like fans, followers, likes, fans, loyalty, engagement, commitment, participation, community, and so on and on and on and on, giving every marketer the false hope and idea what marketing should be about.

It would be beneficial for all stakeholders (clients, agencies and customers) to start with the assumption that nobody cares about what we do. This might make us feel depressed, less important and kind of useless. Still, at least we’re starting from the right point and it helps us focus on our work in the right way.

Don’t be sad: Nobody cares what anybody does.

Nobody cares about the 500+ TV channels, the thousands of magazines and radio stations, the millions of podcasts and gazillions of websites. There’s so much stuff out there, we don’t even have a tiny chance to consume 0,0001% of it. All this media is like the Atlantic, engulfing people with content wave after wave, competing with anything else that’s interesting, useful, or entertaining. With so many temptations surrounding us, seeping out of millions of screens, we should never assume anybody will notice anything we do. Oh, and don’t even assume anybody does care. Don’t kid yourself.

It gets worse: People don’t care about brands.

As a brand, you don’t want people to think about your brand too much. A strong brand will help people make quick, easy and gut-driven purchase decisions. If you’re an Apple fanboy, you don’t think about Dell or HP. It’s going to be Apple, no matter what. Strong brands solve problems. When your favorite beer is Guiness, you don’t have a beer problem. When Acura is your car brand, you don’t have a car problem. No thinking required, no decisions. No worries about price, quality or reviews.

The myth of brand loyalists

Another marketing myth is that the ultimate goal is to create brand loyalists and permanent relationships. People might ‘like’ your brand but they ‘like’ their dog 10,000 times more. For sure, people don’t love brands. They love their favorite pillow 10 million times more than your brand. Using the language of deep human emotions for brands trivializes those feelings. Brands are desperately looking for those lovers, those special ones. If you base your brand on loyalists, you will have a small party in a studio apartment in Manhattan. Brands are built by millions of light customers who buy the brand once in a while.

It’s easy to market to people who actively seek you out and use your product/services frequently. It’s hard to market to people who don’t know you, who don’t care about you, see you frequently. And, don’t get me started with the new buzzword “audience”. An audience goes to a Coldplay concert or watches the latest Spiderman movie. Advertising doesn’t have an audience, waiting for the show to start.

It gets worse.

The vast majority of advertising produced is horrendous. Go to some sad cable channel and try to stick around for the commercial breaks. Try not to change the channel within seconds. Good luck. It’s mental and creative pollution. Another proof point for people not to care about advertising.

That’s a good starting point.

At the bottom of enmity between strangers lies indifference – Soren Kierkegaard.

It’s easy to be loved, even easier to be hated. But it’s really hard to overcome indifference. You can get 1% of potential customers engaged and create participatory communities for them. It doesn’t help you when it comes to the bottom line. The real goal should be to engage the remaining 99% and that means fighting indifference.

The majority of efforts on social platforms is now limited to activating the 1% and going to church afterwards, praying the 1% will spread and amplify the word. It’s good, but not good enough. It’ll earn you brownie points but doesn’t improve business results. Unless you’re happy talking to a minority, we need to focus mainly on the 99%.

You will be judged how you engage the indifferent masses, the ones that don’t care. It starts with answering the most important questions: Why should they care more about you than all the other gazillion options they have? What’s the point? What’s in it for them?

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You can’t predict an earthquake.

Why?

Let’s just say, we’re dealing with a lot of moving parts.

And a lot of mythology.

We’re really good at modeling and analyzing the data once the event has happened.

Working after the quake event, reactions are behind the curve.

No matter how hard you study the past, find patterns and insights – you won’t be able to predict the next event.

You can fall back on everything you know about earthquakes and create new knowledge.

But you can’t predict anything.

Marketing faces the same challenge.

It’s important to have a vast knowledge base: Research, Insights, Competition, Marketplace, Economy. No matter what you know and how much data you sift through, it won’t help you in predicting anything. Only the ability to create new knowledge, information/communication which does not yet exist can put you in charge and position you ahead of the curve to shake up an industry, a brand, category or segment.

Our industry’s obsession with data is based on the belief that the dead and lifeless data staring at us from a spreadsheet will somehow help us to determine a trend.

Problem is, we’re dealing with a lot of moving parts.

Basing your business decision on dead data is bound to end up a disaster. A small part of marketing is about digesting knowledge.

The bigger part of marketing is about engaging the future.

You can’t measure your way to a breakthrough.

You can’t analyze your way to a game-changer.

By the time you’re done studying and analyzing an earthquake, the event will be long past.

You need to create the event.

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Generally, I record my book reviews on Goodreads but this book by Tony Schwartz was so close to the core mission of BatesHook that I wanted to share it with a wier audience.

The basic premise of the book is: “The furious activity to accomplish more with less exacts a series of silent costs: less capacity for focused attention, less time for any given task, and less opportunity to think reflectively and long term.”

Below are a few of the big ideas that resonated with me:

” Rather than trying to get more out of people, organizations are better served by investing more in them and meeting their multidimensional needs in order to fuel greater engagement and more sustainable high performance.”

“We think of leaders as “chief energy officers.” The core challenge for leaders is to recruit, mobilize, inspire, focus, and regularly refuel the energy of those they lead.”

“Our core emotional need is to feel secure – to be valued and appreciated. The more we feel our value is at risk, the more energy we spend defending it and the less energy we have available to create value.”

“When we default reactively to telling negative stories, we almost invariably assign ourselves the role of victim. It feels better not to blame ourselves for disappointments, but the victim role undermines our power to influence our circumstances. The alternative is to intentionally look for where our responsibility lies in any given situation – and then take remedial action on any part of it that we’re in a position to influence.”

“The key capacities of the right hemisphere – creative and big-picture thinking, openness to learning, and empathy – are a largely untapped source of competitive advantage, both for individuals and for organizations.”

“Deeply held values define the person you aspire to be. They’re what we’re rooted in and what we stand for – an internal compass that helps us navigate the storms and the choices we all inevitably face.”

“There’s a deep disconnect between what many companies say they stand for and what they actually do. This disconnect takes a toll on employee engagement, on productivity, and ultimately on organizational success.”

“A new way of working ultimately requires an evolutionary shift in the center of gravity of our lives – from “me” to “us”.

This is a mature book, deeply rooted in research and real-life examples. It’s for anyone that feels that we’re in the middle of a transformative revolution and doesn’t have an internal blueprint how to work and live in/with this new reality. The content is not limited to workplace issues, it deals with the much bigger issue of becoming a better person and leading a fulfilling life.

Highly recommended.