I woke up early this morning to share a coffee with one of my favourite brand marketeers and overall awesome human being, Seth Godin. Unfortunately, he wasn't sitting next to me on my balcony by the beach but rather over zoom as part of a virtual marketing summit.
I was first introduced to the work of Seth by Dr Christine McDougall about four years ago during a particular stressful period where I was learning to start again in many areas of life. Christine handed me a book called ‘What to do when IT'S YOUR TURN’ (and it’s always your turn). This book has been a catalyst for many decisions including a kick butt to launch another business and the key influencer of the Finding Yellow Co wall.
Why I resonate with Seth so much is that his work is clearly based on authenticity rather than sales and hustle. Authenticity is how I have chosen to live life, build business and what I am always searching for in others in order to assist them in building their business and brands.
Today it is hard to resist the quick fix, fast sale, and polished picture approach in an attempt to gain more followers, be heard and be seen amongst the clutter but, the craziness is when you strip it all back, people always want what they want and you will likely only be successful in business if you get this. It’s not about you…it’s about them.
The one-hour zoom call was a fantastic reminder to stick to your guns if you want to build a business for longevity because if foundation is real and right there is a much better chance that you will be around years from now rather than being part of a trend.
EIGHT TOP TIPS (from Seth’s mouth to my words!)
1. BE AWARE OF THE 'FAILURE OF INACTION'
Human nature is to talk about failure in terms of actions that went ‘wrong’ but we rarely talk about the Failure of Inaction, which can have much larger impact. The things we could have done but didn’t; the chances we had to make things better for other people but didn’t; the opportunities we had to show up but didn’t; the right times to turn and face ourselves but choosing to turn the other way.
Accepting that at some point you will fail and you’ve overcome a major hurdle in business and marketing. Business and marketing are dependant on the tides of life not a spreadsheet with finite symbols but be aware of inactions too.
2. LEARN TO SURF THE WAVES
When we are in business (or relationships for that matter) we strategise a planned road map and create expectations around this of how things should 'be'. However (as 2020 has shown us in full capacity) life does not work that way and if we hang on too much we will become brittle. If we become brittle we will loose the essence of ourselves and the joy and wander that bought us into the business in the first place.
Visualise each day as a surfer; he does not go out each morning with a guarantee of exactly what wave is going to come, how big its going to be, how many seconds he'll surf it for or even if its going to be worth it BUT he shows up anyway. Learn to be comfortable in the flow and ride the tides.
3. MAKE IT PERSONAL, NOT PERSONALISED
There are so many gimmicks and hustle techniques out there with a big tendency to ‘personalise’ in order to make your product stand out but, here’s the catch. Just because you personalise it doesn’t mean theywant it. The only way you can break through the clutter is to make it ‘personal’ by giving people something they actually want.
4. FREELANCERS...RAISE YOUR EGGS
Freelancers you are blessed because you get to do the work you want, with the people you want using YOUR mind and YOUR skills. The only restriction is the type of clients you invite into your business. Trust yourself enought and respect yourself enought to raise your eggs. The best clients are not always about the money but they will respect you, pay you and most importantly tell people about you. If this is not the case, let the rotten ones go and allow space for new opportunities.
5. YOU CAN STILL BE SHY AND SUCCEED
In this social world we have somehow come to believe that unless we shout our message to the rooftops or stick our heads on a video, we will be left behind. That is rubbish. If you are great at your work and are creating something people want, it will speak for itself so breathe and put the selfie stick away!
6. CONSISTENCY BREEDS TRUST (depending on how you deliver it)
A steadfast approach where people are aware of you, understand what you do and see you are consistent with your brand and in your approach will help garner trust over time. Sometimes people need time to warm to you and if they don’t well, it just means that what you had to offer wasn't releavnt to them at that time. Be gracious. You never know when the tide could change.
If you thrash, scream and yell at people about what you’ve got long after they have virtually told you to go away, you are making it obvious that this is really all about you and not them at all. This never leads to trust and can burn some big bridges.
Sometimes you have to think beyond the now and build for longevity.
7. CREATE SOMETHING THAT PEOPLE WILL TELL OTHERS ABOUT
Asked how to brand in a heavily saturated market comes down to one thing; do your people want it? If they don’t do something else or find the people that do. Your number one job in marketing is to create something that people will tell others about.
8. DID YOU FAIL OR SUCCEED BECAUSE OF YOU OR BECAUSE YOU GOT LUCKY?
Leaving the ego behind and answering this question honestly can save a lot of mental angst.
A stand up comedian shouldn’t quit or see himself as a failure because he had one bad night. It may have nothing to do with his ability to be funny but because he lucked out on that particular crowd.
Your PR piece not making it to prime time news does not mean you are a crap PR person but that another story at that time, on that day cut your grass. You didn’t fail.
Your PR piece making it to prime news does not also mean you’re are the PR Queen.
There will be ebbs and flows, know your skills, your worth but keep it all in perspective.