06/05/14

Let's Make Business-to-Business Human-to-Human



Your brand isn’t what you’re saying,
it’s what everyone else says about it.

So, why did we stop talking to each other like we’re human? 

In the 1950’s days of Mad Men, corporations had laborers and administrators. Think: General Mills. Employees would clock in, make Cheerios, take a lunch break, clock out, go home, and the next morning would eat Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. They didn’t worry about the company as much as having a job. And the company didn’t worry about them until employees starting fighting for better pay and better working conditions.

In the 1980’s, the early days of Dell and Apple, corporations started looking for ways to replace employees with robots and computers. As much as they tried, they ended up making it easier for their teams to communicate with one another. Collaboration became the key, although huge cubicle farms tended to be the way of the business world.

In the 2000’s and now, we see companies big companies Google and Facebook who think through motivation and leadership while setting up their brands. Taking every touchpoint into consideration, companies have been able to get their employees to feel like a part of the business and hire to their mission and values. Whether big or small, business has become about humans.

Your brand isn’t what you’re saying about it, it’s what everyone else says about it.

Business has gone from laborers to collaborators over the years and it will only continue to head in the direction of interactivity and humanity. We have to hire, fire, market, and sell from our values. If we don’t, we won’t stay in business. Because your brand isn’t what you’re saying about it, everyone working for you and working with you has to know how to talk about it. 

While I was on the Live Your Brand Tour, I learned the four things you have to think about  in order to live your brand. 

Experience
California Tortilla wins #1 burrito in the DC area every year. But that’s not why you go there for lunch. You go there because you know it will be a great experience every time. From the spunky cashier to the 80’s music to the fun atmosphere, you’ll walk away with a memory, not just fresh, delicious food. How does your customer experience make you better than your competitors? | READ: How a Rebrand Helped Spice Up This Cal-Mex Chain

Communication
While in Park City, Utah, I stopped by Backcountry.com’s headquarters and was wow’d by their communication. You would think that an online outdoor company would spend most of their time on their computers, but the offices were buzzing with excitement. People were collaborating in person, talking in real life, not just sitting on their computers. You could tell they loved their jobs and the brand. What does your communication style say about your company? | READ: How Two Ski Bums Successfully Branded the Online-Outdoor Industry

Environment
In Chicago, Illinois, I got a chance to interview the owner of Site Design Group, the top landscape architecture company in the area. Although I loved their work, the most intriguing part of my time with this company was on a Saturday morning finding a few employees working diligently while one was doing laundry and the boss was making brunch. Office spaces say a lot about how companies work, from utra modern to basic corporate, but it’s how each company uses the space and keeps their employees happy. What does your office environment say about your culture? | READ: How to Design Your Way Into Customers' Hearts

Sales
I got the chance to hang out in the LiveFyre offices in San Francisco, California. Although they started out as a free blog commenting system and grew to build communities for the top news agencies in the world, LiveFyre is down to earth and easygoing, knowing they need to use every person on their team to sell. And they do it without force. If you install their system on your blog, a real person will comment on a post and let you know they’re there for you. They’re not selling anything to you per say, but every experience creates connection. What does your sales technique say about you? | READ: How Building a Community Built an International Brand

As much as our brands are ours to take care of, it’s all about the Human-to-Human interaction. It’s what everyone else is saying about you. Whether you’re B2B or B2C, think H2H in every interaction and see how much further you can grow.