“The main thing in life is not to be afraid of being human.” - Aaron Carter
For what seems like forever, brands have engaged in a one-sided, top down narrative with the people who use them. But in our new social environment, brands can
interact with people in a more intimate, personal way. So now, brands need to learn how to be more like humans. They need to share, not just tell. They need to learn, respond and find common ground. They have to act like good-faith partners. Which all sounds great, until you actually have to apply all this new thinking, technology and human activity—and at the same time, make it scalable and realistic.
“To be loved, be lovable.” - Ovid
Talk about love too much in a business context and people start looking at you funny. It’s too bad, because love is a strikingly accurate way to describe the intensely passionate and loyal feeling someone can have for another person, or for a brand. In the context of marketing, being lovable means your brand creates a unique and valued presence in its network. You attract others by sharing knowledge and making connections. You’re a cherished and influential part of the community. You speak with an interesting voice. You’re respected and respectful. Maybe even beautiful. You are authentically you, and people love you for it.
“Share your knowledge. It's a way to achieve immortality.” - Dalai Lama
What your brand does has always been apparent. But until now, who and what your brand knows has been chiefly invisible. We know that great value is derived from your brand’s usefulness:its willingness and ability to share knowledge with all those in your network. In fact, studies show that the most successful people – and brands – have the lowest homophily bias, which means they have the largest and most widespread spectrum of connections in their network. Using your influence to continually spread knowledge and ideas even to the distant people in your network creates a serendipity engine for you. And it makes your brand a powerful, trustworthy, and necessary part of your network.
“Trust men and they will be true to you:treat them greatly and they will show themselves great.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Just like great brokers, great brands create trust by being empathetic. They listen, gather information, search for pain they might be causing, and revaluate their assumptions. By adopting a posture of understanding, they’re able to see clearly what their audience really cares about. Interestingly, brands that have the courage to drop pretense – becoming more human – quickly gain more respect and loyalty than brands that don’t. It’s the power of shared trust. Our advice? Spill the secret sauce, ask more than you tell, and quit thinking of reality as the enemy.
“80 percent of success is showing up.” - Woody Allen
Have you ever noticed how a good broker will give you at least five ways to contact him? It’s because he wants to be findable. It used to be that organizations had to spend tons of money on PR or media in order to be found. Now, your brand has the opportunity to reach out and make connections in hundreds of locations to thousands of individuals daily. And, each time, your brand gets to influence the encounter, just by being available. It’s amazing, really, to be present in exactly the right place at the right time. Not only will it benefit you in the short-term, but your brand will also become intricately woven into the context and the conversations happening around it. You’ll never miss an opportunity again.