Eight ways leaders and entrepreneurs can help humanise their business brand
Don’t be some faceless person hidden away in the shadows of the boardroom. Stand up, stand out and get involved in public conversations!
G’day, my name is Trevor Young and this is my newsletter about positioning ourselves to take advantage of the opportunities that come with being an active participant in today’s ‘Reputation Economy’. You can subscribe by clicking on this button:
Marketing in 2022 and beyond is not be about the number of Twitter followers or Facebook likes you have, or the YouTube video you produce in the hope it will “go viral”.
Of course, these are tangible ways to show off your business, but they’re merely the sideshow.
The main game is about staying fresh, vital, relevant, visible and respected in a hyperconnected marketplace that’s increasingly being driven by the empowered many, at the expense of the privileged few.
Today’s digitally-savvy consumer prefers peer opinion over media commentary, and values user-generated content ahead of advertising messages.
They don’t like your hype and they care even less for your spin.
They want companies to be open and active participants in the community and on the social web – not the closed impenetrable beasts they have traditionally been.
Depth of connection
Building your brand today increasingly hinges on the depth of connection you have with the people who matter the most to the success of your business (or cause, or issue, if you’re a non-profit).
It’s easy to say, but difficult to do.
True connection with consumers and market influencers can’t be bought. It needs to be earned. And earning people’s respect and trust requires genuine, sustained effort – in particular it needs to be driven by the leaders of a business.
And it cannot be achieved without showing your face, without being front and centre as real human beings, adding value, being useful, being interesting and interested in others.
Sorry, but commissioning an expensive whizz-bang ad campaign won’t cut it.
So what can business owners and leaders do?
You can start by standing up and leading the way by embracing social technologies that help tear down the walls that exist between the company and the public, to actively foster genuine human interaction with people, your constituents: clients and customers, employees, partners, and the people who influence them.
HERE ARE 8 THINGS BUSINESS OWNERS AND LEADERS CAN DO TO HELP MAKE THEIR COMPANY MORE PUBLICLY VISIBLE AND ACCESSIBLE:
WRITE regular blog posts (without any hint of jargon or gobbledygook language) that humanise the business and appeal to a real external audience, not geared towards your fellow executives internally (if you run a large organisation).
LEVERAGE smartphone video live-streaming functions (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook etc) to document what’s happening behind the scenes in the company. What exciting things are you doing that you can tell the world about? Where is the business heading? What are the trends you’re seeing out in the marketplace?
INSTIGATE the development of a company-produced podcast series (or video webcast) and then participate in it on a (semi) regular basis.
CHALLENGE the marketing team to create a series of downloadable free PDF ebooks that help solve the most crucial pain-points experienced by your customers.
CREATE a think-tank with competitors to address a particular issue confronting your industry (and then document the outcome in a blog post); alternatively, hold a LinkedIn live-streamed virtual roundtable, incorporating two-way social interaction with the audience and invite people within the industry to join in.
PARTICIPATE in a webinar that delivers value to the audience and demonstrates your company’s expertise on a particular (relevant) topic. Give your knowledge away freely, record the event and distribute it to those who were unable to attend.
SIT DOWN and chat over coffee with bloggers, podcasters and ‘power tweeters’ who have a particular interest in your product or industry.
IDENTIFY the experts within your business and give them the imprimatur (and the tools and training) to tell their story and share their ideas, knowledge and expertise with the broader marketplace using the plethora of social media tools available.
Throw down the gauntlet!
All of these activities require real people to participate.
Don’t be some faceless person hidden away in the shadows of the boardroom.
Get out and involved! Ignite discussion with your senior colleagues. Empower junior staff to get involved.
Throw down the gauntlet to the marketing and PR teams (internal if you lead a big organisation, or external agencies if everything is outsourced). Challenge your people to come up with creative ideas using social technologies and online publishing platforms that will help incrementally connect your brand with the marketplace in a useful and respectful way.
In 2022 and beyond, the companies that open up like never before, that provide genuine value over and above their products and services, and super-importantly, add a human dimension to their external communications, are the brands that will get noticed and be talked about in a positive way.
Who knows? Your story might start attracting back – and resonating with – the very same people who have increasingly been ignoring your business over the years.
Oh, and if your company is engaged in the war for talent (and let’s face it, who isn’t?), then current and potential employees will be rapt to see the boss leading from the front in online channels.
Food for thought!
SIDENOTE: If you want to see a completely over-the-top (but thoroughly awesome) example of what I’m talking about, check out former T-Mobile CEO, John Legere in action (above) - for many years, Legere ran a series of Facebook Live videos called ‘Slow Cooker Sundays’ and in doing so, grew a massive audience which in turn gave him a terrific channel through which to promote his company’s brand to the masses «
Oh, before you go … I have a little something percolating … just a heads-up that a launch announcement is imminent 😃
It's called the Credible Authority Academy, through which I will be teaching, guiding and supporting genuine leaders, entrepreneurs and experts to become influential thought-leading voices in their industry.
If you'd like to a heads-up as to when the Academy launches, please register here and I shall keep you posted. No obligation, of course 👊