Does Your Business Have Soul?
I wrote a blog recently about coincidence and synchronicity which gained a lot of traction. Sort of. I know it’s all relative and when I say ‘a lot’ I mean over five times more than my normal post view average. Man, I was doing a jig. This was the big time! Almost.
I know it’s not all about the quantity and the numbers can be a distraction. I’m not saying ignore them, just don’t let them feed your ego is all. I believe it’s more about the quality, the depth of the interaction.
Having said that I’d still like to say a huge thank you to everyone who liked, shared and made a comment. Many of which were wonderfully inspiring. You all boosted my confidence and helped to reinforce the spirit of the blog; that life is full of signs and messages and connections and it’s up us to join the dots. And when we do the unbelievable becomes real. None of it’s by chance.
I took the idea of synchronicity and mindset into one of our Brand Story/Customer Journey training sessions. I wanted to explore how we could use the concept to find ways to emotionally connect with like-minded souls. And then once a connection had been made how to add value to both sides of the relationship.
Sounds a little ‘new age hippy’ some people said. ‘That’s not how we do business’, others chipped in. ‘It’s a numbers game, our bottom line is all about how many sales we make dumbass!’, opined the self-proclaimed experts.
I listened. ‘But wouldn’t you like to learn something new?’ I asked. ‘After all there’s more than one way to skin a cat. You don’t have to agree but you could at least be open to alternative ways of thinking. What’ve you got to loose?’
That was the game changer. There was actually nothing to loose but the time invested in listening. Admittedly, it was time taken away from Russian dash cam drunks and funny cat videos on Facebook but it wasn’t such a big ask.
So, we started at the beginning. What does like-minded really mean?
Collins Dictionary defines it as: people with similar opinions, ideas, attitudes, or interests. The definition goes on to list four keywords associated with the idea as agreeing, compatible, harmonious, in harmony.
So for a company to connect with like-minded souls we first need to determine what ideas, attitudes and interests we, the company hold. That got people to thinking and very soon the whiteboard was full of words like success, being the best, crushing the competition, taking over the island, leading the pack.
It was an insight into a mindset that still held tight to an old-fashioned (dare I say that?) way of doing business. It wasn’t about connecting at all. It was all about getting the money and running. All about ‘I’m the best. Do business with me. Me. Me. Me.’ This may have been acceptable 10 years ago, but it isn’t now.
‘OK,’ I said … and paused. ‘So how do you think our audience is going to connect to that?’
The room went quiet and filled with minds blanking out. ‘You mean we have to think about what our customers think?’
Damn right we do!
Truth is customers won’t connect to the idea of making money at the expense of morals and values and ethical conduct. They just won’t. And to be honest why should they? If that’s the message we show the world then it’s going to be a dark and lonely place to work.
Don’t get me wrong. I think people do connect with the idea of success, but not at the cost of everything else. We have to do the right thing. Be honest. Value integrity. Show love. And success will be there for us.
We need to tell a story … about us … our failures and fears as much as our hopes and success. We need to give our business ‘soul‘ to be able to connect with like-minded ones.
I recently came across an article in Forbes Magazine by Ayesha Mathews-Wadhwa entitled Getting To The Soul Of Your Brand. She asks what a brand with soul actually is. Her answer? … ‘A brand that has soul shares a passion and motivation with its customers. Instead of simply creating a corporate identity, brands with soul find ways to truly connect with consumers.’
There it was again. Connections.
So do like-minded souls find you or do you find them?
Maybe the answer lies in synchronicity on a two-way street. Right message. Right time. Right place. Here’s the thing, unless you’re prepared to step off the conveyor belt of ‘it’s always been done this way’ you’re never going to find out because the fear of change will always make it something you can do later. That is if you can find it from under the carpet you swept it under hoping it would just disappear.
I got to thinking what the implications of this could be for our business. Lawerence Fletcher suggests that the true sign a brand has soul is that it ‘goes beyond the individual and is integrated into the community. Instead of brand evangelists, where there are leaders and followers, a brand with soul has a fan base of peers. The brand is equal and parallel to consumers; it is not in the center. That’s why the idea of 360-degree marketing is a problem. It is egocentric, it puts the brand in the center of the 360.’
There was resistance to this. ‘But that’s not what we feel comfortable with,’ say the Naysayers. ‘We’ve never done business like that before. And anyway, it just won’t work!’
I smell fear. Fear of change. Even though it’s clear as day change is necessary. If we don’t embrace this we’ll fail. We’ll all fail.
Richard Branson sums this up very well. He says: ‘of course an individual can make a huge difference but it is when those individuals come together with like-minded souls that they can change the world for ever, and importantly for the better.’
So I’m asking us all to change the world in the way we do business. Change it for the better. Decide what’s really important to you and what the driving force of your business is. Identify it. Nurture it. Love it. Live it. And when it becomes the culture you operate within, shout about it, make a noise and connect with people who share those values.
Andy writes on a variety of topics related to property, real estate, the customer experience, mindset training and local/international trends for Seven Stones Indonesia. You can read some of his blogs here.
Seven Stones Indonesia is a property company headquartered in Bali, Indonesia, with a mission to help people who are interested in buying and selling residential and commercial real estate.
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