Growing up many of us were taught the golden rule, “treat others as you would want to be treated.” It’s a great rule to live by and implement into your business as well. But, moving into a new age in business, there are old ideas and thought patterns that have lived out their prime and there are new ideas taking their place. The big question is, do you have what it takes to survive. But, it’s not just about your business surviving, it’s about thriving in the new day.
This new digital world we’re living in has created a generation gap that at times seems wider than ever. Younger consumers have a unique way of discovering what they want and a new set of reasons why they open their wallets and swipe their card. Older business owners have stuck to their guns and refused to change even in a world where their reach is diminishing and sales are declining. This generation is craving what some older businesses owners have yet to consider. And it lies within something that is likely a strength… your story.
Start by sharing your story. A cool product or nice service used to be enough. This generation is hungry for something greater. They want an experience, they want to see the wizard behind the screen.
If you have ignored or failed to connect with the “millennials,” then we implore you to try something new. Replace business pride with a marketing message of genuine humility. Don’t think of yourself as greater than your customer, they really want to be able to connect with you, now, give them a reason to do just that.
Take a moment in your day and share a humbling, relatable, relevant moment with your audience. Many people, because of what was taught by the generations before, learned that exposing your flaws, especially in business, was a weakness or a faux pas; but the greater truth is that thought-filled, humble sharing simultaneously emits strength and wins you the opportunity to builds a connection.
You want to know why connection wins? Because of the relational vacuum. Within this new generation living in a world of digital noise, most of which is meaningless, they have been left craving real and meaningful connection, even in the social media realm. The vacuum is only growing bigger every day that Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter continue to grow. The demand for genuine connection is great, the supply is dangerously low.
Not everyone is willing to lay down their veneer for vulnerability. Perhaps you’ve wanted to avoid the possibility of being judged? Perhaps you want to avoid rejection or appearing weak? Perhaps you were told that professional business persons don’t get personal. Well, it’s 2018; and the market is showing that if you can’t become approachable and build authentic connection; the long-term vision you hold for your business could be at serious risk.
Social media has provided a tool where everyone is out to portray a fantasy life. We are becoming consumed with the highlight reel of everyone’s life where we share only the good and presentable pieces of our lives, rather than a more full and accurate storytelling. Who will share some of the grind? The process? Reality?
We’re not suggesting you forget styling your business with your audience on social media, but we encourage all our clients to let their audience into what is authentic. Let connection grow. Because when that connection blooms, it is the most mutual fulfilling experience a business owner and a client or customer can have.
These are small mindset shifts with the potential to unlock a new day for your brand and business. You will begin attracting an influx of business, organically. Think about the big game. Younger generations are hungry for connection, to know the face behind the brand, to see someone who generally cares about others, over themselves.
All of this has a direct effect on how you grow and develop your brand identity. Instead of seeing everyone as a target market or a new follower, we implore you to consider what value you have to offer that person.
Can it be scary to open up? To be vulnerable? Sure it can. Especially if you grew up in a home or community that encouraged you to keep everything orderly, neat, and shiny. But guess what? The generation that benefited from growing up with face to face contact, and didn’t have to compete with social media, is moving on. The one coming up behind them has become so disconnected from real relationships that there is now a very large and very real vacuum among them.
Their value of professionalism is being re-defined, not just by what it looks like on the outside, but by what they experience on the inside. They crave relationships that work. And yes, that extends to businesses. Real, honest, humble connection. They receive value, not from the sale that you run, but by being seen and heard. When you can adjust your shift your thinking from the bottom line and onto how is our business and brand adding value and affecting others in a positive way; that is where the great shift begins.
Our post is designed to make you think, to educate you on the undercurrent of today’s market. The importance of sharing your heart with your audience is becoming vital. But, diving in and cleaning out the old day, making room for the new, will be mutually beneficial. You get to be you, and your audience gets the connection they desire most.
You may be asking, Where do I start? How do you clean out this space of old thought patterns and marketing relics that have been collecting dust for years? Sometimes you just need a friend to help you throw out the rubbish. Time to throw out the gimmicky business slogans, the old strategies, and the dated plastic image of professionalism that you got a trophy over a decade ago; and it’s time to make room for the answers to some great questions. Take a deep breath and let’s start with YOU.
Start by reflecting on your story. Dig into the things that matter. Your passion, your purpose, why you got started, your sphere of influence.
Who are you talking to? Who is your tribe? What story are you telling them, and why?
These answers can help to settle you into your brand’s identity.
What is your brand’s promise? What is your mission? What value are you delivering to your customers? Why should they trust you? Why not go with a competitor of yours?
The answers matter.
By taking the time to answer these questions, you will be on your way to defining your brand presence that can become an organic magnet of connection for the people in your sphere of influence. And the best part is, selling becomes simple. You are no longer consumed by product pushing and you will be more fulfilled when a sale happens from a place of connection and adding value to others.
These are the new golden rules for your business and pretty good life rules in general if we say so ourselves. Lead with humility. Share with depth and create an authentic connection. Pour value into others. Humility. Authenticity. Connection. Story. Value. These traits create opportunities, an experience, a path… that makes a relationship possible.
Your story happened on purpose, for a greater purpose. So clean the windows, throw back the curtains and let the light of the new day in; with new friends, new connection, and a business model that is more fulfilling in every way and with each passing year.
We would love to hear more about your thoughts on this topic. Does this resonate with you? What generation you are part of and what tactics work best for your target market?