Not since the digital revolution in the early 90′s has technology placed such a comprehensive burden on business, employees and individuals to reinvent their business plans, services and products, and themselves to keep pace with the changing marketplace. The way customers relate to brands and how profit is generated has changed so dramtically almost every professional is being challenged to reconsider what they do in order to stay relevant.
That’s why I’m excited about the new book, Career Transition – Make the Shift by Deborah Shane. Her book include the essential 5 steps she took to reinvent herself and a series of powerful case studies that you can use as reference to your own situation.
The book and the 5 steps help people discover their career passion, uncover the key skills and qualities they possess, reinvent and adapt those skills to a new career path, rebrand a fresh new version of themselves and help them re-birth themselves through both in person and online activities to market and promote themselves.
It also offers resources including websites, blogs and books from some well-known top business and career experts. Shane has also included a free 30 page Career Action Book that is a companion journal full of exercises and questions that will help her readers identify their passion and inspire them to their next career move.
As sometone who reinvented his own career path over the last several years and gone through the process of defining my own brand, I know only too well how important such a transition is and how helpful Shane’s book can be.
You can order Career Transition here and follow her @deborahshane.
This week I’ve been exploring how brands are bringing their marketing savvy, creativity and heart to bear on pressing social issues. One exciting new example is the annoucement by Buick and General Motors Foundation of the 1100 Buick Achievers Scholarship Program, including 100 outstanding students from across the U.S. who will each receive a scholarship of up to $25,000 that is renewable for up to four years.
The focus of the initiative addresses one of the most pressing issues in the U.S. today – the need to help more students reach college to realize their potential. Obviously such efforts have enormous benefits for the reputation of a brand improving the likelihood of more customers choosing the Buick brand over others. As the Edelman 2010 goodpurpose® Study revealed, 86% of global consumers believe that business needs to place at least equal weight on society’s interests as on business’ interests.
Yet the benefits to the brand are multifaceted. “One of the aims of the Buick Achievers Scholarship program is to strongly encourage today’s brightest young minds to pursue fields of study that will prepare them for careers in manufacturing industries,” explains Bob Ferguson of the GM Foundation. “By doing so, we will help improve our nation’s global competitiveness in fields that are driving economic growth in the 21st century.”
What’s more, such scholarships transform the lives of the recipients. Many of the recipients had already overcome enormous obstacles in their lives and nearly half of the scholarship recipients are the first in their families to attend college.
My hope this week was to dramatize the creativity that brands can bring to their purposeful engagement with their customer community. Whether it’s education, the environment or homelessness, customers are looking for brands to add meaning to their lives and such efforts resonate deeply. As such, the core values of a brand are more powerful marketing tools than ever as they enable a brand to make an emotional connection with their customers using social media. Each of these efforts should be celebrated as permission slips for other brands to do the same, and by working togther the private sector can have a dramatic impact on the lives of millions of people and the well being of society at large.
What other brand initiatives have changed the way you think about a brand? what would you like to see more of from brands?
I wanted to share a new app which I think makes a powerful statement about where the emphasis needs to be in the social business marketplace. It’s called We&Co and launched in Atlanta this week. Building on Foursquare’s API, We&Co shifts the emphasis from place to people by simply enabling people to say “thank you.”
What’s so powerful about this idea is that it starts to quantify human capital. How much do you as a consumer value a positive experience with a brand or its customer service department? How willing are you to share that with your friends? How inclined are you to let that person know that you’re interaction with them was positive?
As GOOD Magazine points out, this also becomes leverage for employees who are adding value to a brand through the good work that they do. An app such as We&Co enables an employee to quantify their value to their employee, especially if they deal with customers face to face.
What I like about this app is that it’s starting to add metrics to the emotional currency that drives social media. The simple act of saying “thank you” is a demonstration of gratitude in response to an experience that was meaningful to a customer or citizen. When a positive exchange between a brand and customers becomes quantifiable metrics, it encourages brand to provide better service, customer service to do a better job, and consumers to actively show their gratitude.
I say this in the context of my belief that technology is teaching us to be human again. Through simple apps such as We&Co, we’re starting to demonstrate the fact that we value positive experiences. By making them measurable, it also opens the door for companies to reward their employees on a performance basis as well as connecting with customers who took the time to say thank your.
In this distrustful consumer environment, as evidenced by Edelman’s Trust Barometer of 2011, the more a brand can do to demonstrate its commitment to its customers, and the easier it is for customers to reward them, the faster we can build positive and lasting relationships between brands and their customers around positive and meaningful exchanges.
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