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Self-Disruption: Personal Innovation for Public Relevance

July 8, 2014 Comments

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I recently had the pleasure of keynoting at the PromaxBDA conference in New York City, attended by many of the entertainment industry’s top studio and network executives. This conference is a fantastic forum for leadership of all types in digital, social, and mobile marketing. Yet, I spoke about something slightly different, which is the role that each of us plays as individuals in creating a future we want for ourselves, our companies, and the world. Specifically, I focused on how to secure cultural relevance, growth opportunity, and personal impact by disrupting your current mindset in relation to social technologies.

People rise to the conversation you grow around them: If you want your company, or even yourself as an individual, to be relevant to the marketplace, then you need to recognize that the media landscape has dramatically changed in terms of public expectations. If you use social media to engage an audience at a level that is largely transactional, then they will respond accordingly and offer little engagement and only reluctantly drive sales. If however, you elevate the conversation and reach out to your audience in terms of a cultural conversation that is meaningful to their lives, they will rise to that occasion as well. By doing so, you will ensure your company and its leadership are relevant to today’s marketplace in which customers are looking for brands to bring leadership to social and cultural issues.

Shift from a broadcast mentality to one of celebration: So much technology, particularly in the entertainment world, has been disrupted, yet only the web, social media, and smart phones have really created a communication dynamic in which a broadcast mentality will no longer survive. Instead, you must truly engage your customers and community in conversation, and position yourself as the chief celebrant not celebrity of your customer community. You see this with so many CPG brands, whether its Nike with Better World, Starbucks with Shared Planet, Unilever with Sustainable Living, or Coke with Open Happiness. Each of these brands has made the conscious choice to serve their customers’ future, thus securing their own.


The greatest opportunity for your future is you:
It’s very easy to outsource your social media channels to a growing array of vendors or even those within your organization who are more familiar with these engagement tools. Yet, to truly lead and inspire effective behavior within and outside your company, you need to embrace these new dynamics by personally learning how they work. There are countless examples on time-poor CEOs, celebrities, or even YouTube stars who mastered the skills of authentic engagement and whose audience now shares their content and builds their business with them. When presented this opportunity to have personal impact within your organization or in the marketplace, the critical realization is that the greatest threat or opportunity for your future is you.

Those who embrace the shift from broadcast traditional media to dialogue-based digital and social media, have a chance to lead both their industries and better our world. If you’d like to learn how to harness the power of strategic storytelling, community architecture, and the latest social and mobile technologies from some of the world’s top marketers, join us Oct 7-8 at the 2014 We First Brand Leadership Summit.

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Simon Mainwaring

Reading Time: 1 minutesSimon Mainwaring is the founder of We First, a leading brand consultancy that provides purpose-driven strategy, content, and training that empowers companies to lead business, shape culture, and better our world.

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