One of the many benefits of being in my 40s is the fact that I have now been in the working world for nearly 30 years. In that time I’ve seen the price of a mixed bag of lollies go from 20 cents to $2.50, I’ve seen working hours extend to the point where there is no stopping for lunch and Sunday trading is now taken as given. I’ve seen the demise of the typewriter and the explosion of mobile devices and 24 hour connectivity. And yet the thing I still desperately wish we could attain is authenticity in our businesses.
What do I mean by that? Basically I think our brave new world requires some brave new thinking and we need to loose the 80 and 90’s consumer marketing mindset that a brand has any kind of independent equity.
A brand is quite simply the sum total of people that go into making that business. It does not exist without the people behind it, or without the people it serves, so why is it that we get consultants trying to lecture as about “brand credibility”.
I had occasion in this past week to meet, virtually, one such consultant who brought to the discussion an observation that my communication shouldn’t reference the McGrath Foundation as it would damage the Foundation’s reputation.
It was an interesting point of view and I tried to listen to it politely and with an open mind. But that becomes difficult, even for the best of us, when comments become personal and when you fundamentally don’t agree. The problem with this person voicing his opinion is that he was not aware of all of the facts and his assumptions about what had and hadn’t happened were incorrect.
What concerned me most though was that he then went on to tell a whole group of people how we got it wrong – thereby allowing no space for the potential that his opinion may be incorrect.
So for anyone who cares to know what I think of how social media works I’d offer the following;
– Social media is not a space for brands. It is a space for people.
– Social media is the ultimate super powered conversation and if approached that way it is engaging and satisfying.
– There is no point being anything other than 100% yourself in the space of social media because if you try to hide behind something you think you should be you trip over your own feet.
– Measuring a person’s worth simply by the number followers they have is so ridiculous is worries me that I even need to voice it. The simple reality is that a person with just 3 followers can overwhelm someone with 2,500 if those 3 followers happen to be Kevin Rudd, Glenn McGrath and Tracy Bevan.
– I do not support scheduled posts in any form of social media as I think that they are tantamount to advertising. I wouldn’t stop half way through a conversation with a friend to make some inane, unconnected comment and so why would I do in during my social conversations.
– In this world, where we face so many challenges, I honestly believe that the only hope for us to “get real”. Have honest conversations with those that you are in business with not as a “product” but as the people that are there. Find the common ground, agree what it is that you want to achieve and make it happen!
There is no time like right now to start creating a better world. This and the next two generations are the only hope we have. So if you like, keep interacting with people in a way that creates barriers between yourself, your business and their fundamental humanity but if, like me and the amazing people I work with, you would like to start to shape a new economy, one where we can do both good work and build a better world then be brave and open up.
You have so much to offer.