The Socializers
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Archive for the ‘ culture change ’ Category

To face a real demon, you must first look inwards and conquer your own darkness. ~Luis Marques

Humans have brought two distinct digital worlds into being during the last 10 years: an “exterior” world of websites & apps and an “interior” world of emails, texts & private messages. The veil between these worlds is growing very thin.

A significant layer of privacy is being quietly withdrawn: your Google & Facebook searches are already public information. Soon your emails, texts & private messages will also be searchable, first by marketers and then by anyone.

But have no fear. Transparency foments evolution — to see “everything” creates more choices and opportunities. We are a species that can hold the occult with compassion — the hidden material of life can be met with grace. Your attitude towards this change is an important deciding factor in how you will be affected by the cultural shift of opinion regarding transparency.

So, ask yourself now, will you still love your best friend, your spouse, your community, when you can discover their Facebook searches, when you can read their emails & texts, when you can listen to their phone calls? Will the private opinions of others cause you to boil with rage & jealousy, or will you surrender to the freedom of “truth”?

Certainly, a massive period of resistance to the invisible is currently occurring. This is because everyone knows how powerful the hidden realm is. What you cannot see is currently animating what you see. Leaders with high stakes and numerous other special interests groups are the only obstacle to a totally clarified eco-system of data. And, as we have seen through Assange and Snowden, this is changing — the “truth” is coming out.

Transparency can potentially be used by the collective to quickly resolve serious issues affecting our survival. The truth really can set you free…and a culture where this freedom reigns already exists on this planet. This new culture is similar to the free love generation of the 60′s: people who are comfortable being “naked” in the digital sense (and probably in all other senses) and who are compassionate with the shadow material of others.

So what will it be, my friend? Will you continue to worship the cabal, to bow to the coven, to respect “privacy”? Or will you open the invisible, display the full archive of secrecy, grow comfortable with the next layer of “truth”, of “reality”.

It is easy to bring shadow to the forefront and call upon the hangman, the man with the axe. This is even banal. It is not so easy to open a book of “Deep Transparency” and be compassionate.

The world is about to discover whether it can forgive its devils or whether it will perpetuate a culture of war.

As a person who daily analyzes and studies signals in social networks, I advise you to practice opening your kimono completely with those you trust. Test your ability to have grace on yourself and others in such a circumstance. As a culture, we must be ready to stand naked before one another and come to this process with humor, grace and, above all, deep compassion. This is our only path away from total destruction by the cabals, the covens and the secret societies that continue to rule our human domain.

Many of us signed up for this social media experiment in order to know one another and ourselves more deeply. And many of us began to share the goal of working together on a massive scale to fix the world. The large organizations that understand this, and work with us, will win our favor and loyalty.

You know, a lot of people have asked me how and why I founded The Socializers. It’s really a love story. And this love story has swept me into the world for years now. And I’m grateful beyond words for the experiences, relationships and friends I’ve made along the way. I’m also grateful for the lessons learned (not always easy ones).

One lesson I’d like to pass on is that the fervent love story driving your personal war is the most important of all. Try to pay more attention to that love story, to really get into the depth of the relationships that are most important to you. Because it is through the experience of these relationships that your life will blossom.

Another lesson I’d like to pass on is that it is always worth the risk to throw oneself into one’s passion. The abundance awaiting you within the pursuit of a passion far exceeds the tired drudgery of a specific cultural duty or a situation that has sapped you of all your reserves. When you see an image that catches your eye, it is time to make that image real…to experience it in the flesh.

A lot of people have asked me how I did that, how I made images into flesh and how I “realized” my dreams. The deepest drink I took of my dreams always resulted from me taking a massive risk. Every time I decided to “have” an image as flesh, I had to really apply a singular focus on what I wanted. And I had to follow the “genius” of that focus…it is a bodily experience. I could really feel in my body when to do something, when to act on something. It was in my fingers, my toes, my stomach, my chest and throat and the top of my head. And when I felt my image, my passion, like this, then I knew to take the action…to make the move.

I’ve been asked how to know if something is right, how to discover the truth of a situation. To do this, I remember the times when I saw truth clearly. And I put myself in a similar situation in order to produce insight. When I replicate the moments I had before epiphanies of the past, I often am able to see clearly in the present. So it is really about finding that personal formula for success in anything and repeating it: over and over again. It has been said that happiness is the desire to do something over and over again. And I agree.

One of the challenges I’ve noticed people facing throughout the world is feeling stuck in something. Well, I surmounted such stuck-ness simply by taking action. I didn’t allow myself to sit depressed. I made sure to plan a full and varied day as much as possible, where I would experience every bit of what it means to be a human. And I learned this from the Southern Europeans who traditionally divide their days into different experiences. Siesta in the middle of the day was probably one of the biggest revolutions for me in getting “unstuck”. Simply stopping for two hours to love another and to sleep. That’s what Siesta is about. And that’s a revolution in today’s society.

I also learned how to get un-stuck in Australia through studying breath work with a master breath worker. She led me through 35 days of continuous breath work, four hours per day. And I was able to keep this practice in my life ever since. It is truly amazing how a situation that seems insurmountable can be transformed in the moment through simply breathing…and only breathing. The experience can be compared to a tide advancing upon a beach and covering endless acres of sand in a short amount of time. Breathing is like drinking water, like loving yourself in the most elemental way. And when you feel this, you blossom and creativity arrives pretty quickly.

Specific feelings have no barriers when it comes to honesty. Lara Fabian, my favorite singer, said this in an interview. And I agree. We live in a culture that often diminishes emotion, calling it temporary or undependable. But in my experience, emotion is like the oceans of our planet…which take up nearly 70% of our planetary mass. And the psyche and society are like this in relation to emotion. So we really have to pay attention to emotion. We really have to let our emotion have its reign within and find ways to fully express these inner forces. This is why sexuality is so important and why love is such a sought after action. Everyone wants to express their love, wants to show friendship, to show care and to also make love with another. And this has to be honored and placed at a higher level in our culture. Emotion, after all, is what drives markets.

If you are fighting a personal war right now, I encourage you to discover the fervent love story underneath that war. Because, as we all know, armies go to war to protect the interest and, ultimately, love of the kingdom. And this is why you are fighting right now. You are fighting because you found love at last. And you are fighting to keep that love, to hold on to that love and to hold on to the experience of giving your love to someone. But it is better to orient yourself to the fervent love and take action in that context…in the context of the love. Because love-bound warriors will always conquer warriors who forgot the love story driving the war. When a warrior is really in love, he’s going to fight harder and deeper…simply because he looks forward to the arms of his beloved.

So that’s really why I started The Socializers (and many, many other ventures). It was because of love. And I always have to remind myself to keep breathing, to keep taking risks and to keep loving.

Aren’t you tired of being told what to do?

Take my advice: use your mobile device and the social networks as vehicles into a physical experience that you deeply desire and need in 2014. And stop letting temporal realities such as identity, authority and time get in your way. You are more than your perceived identity, you are more than the roles that authority figures have placed you within, and you are certainly an infinite being. Choose Love and Grace as your values this year and apply these values in the context of mobile apps to whisk your spirit into the land of your wildest dreams.

…………………

“I never want to be ruled by anyone,” she said to him as the whistles and drums ushered in 2014.

“The current generation has been handed a portable means to self-governed transport. The mobile phone laden with apps is like a magic carpet for the individual…a means to discovering a personal hall of mirrors…an exit portal for one’s own private island,” he thought to himself.

“But I call this era ‘Me, the Selfie and I’,” she urgently whispered into his ear, with a kind of spiteful, angry tone (almost as if she’d heard his thoughts). And yet, he sensed a question underneath the urgency, a seeking.

“Even Mother Teresa and Gandhi received something from their selfless acts, my dear,” he replied. He went on, “I see these photos they are taking of themselves as explorations, an opening of an inner onion of sorts. They are texting and photographing themselves into being. The selfie is a vehicle to self-realization, a kind of Western darshan, whereby the deity is seen eye-to-eye.”

“But what are you talking about,” she said, in a kind of mournful tone. “What about making a real contribution, where they are paid…where they make something of themselves?”

“Don’t you think money and time are less efficient means to spiritual realization and enlightenment than love and grace?” he replied, looking askance in the strobe-lit room at her wild red eyes and thick, mango-glossed lips. “Don’t you think this generation is simply tired of faking it and being ruled by others? This generation is using mobile phones to dive through their own faces into a kind of experience of eternal moments, infinite self-regard, that profoundly flouts authority, starkly undermines the hierarchy…and yields a freedom, a dip in one’s own nectar, a quick route to deep self-acceptance and an awakening to one’s love-ability. These mobile phones are magic carpets hands down!”

“Yes, but it’s so self-focused!” she exclaimed, her jet black hair splaying against the neon air.

“Exactly,” he said, coyly smiling at her. “And it is via this self-focus that an entire generation is transcending rulership by another, finding its own deification, its own personal sense of royalty… and, in many cases, entering a rich inner life as a result. They are literally texting and photo-chatting themselves into being!”

“Well, I simply don’t want everyone knowing everything about me!” she whispered in a kind of hoarse urgent moan. “I want some privacy too, you know!”

“Really, my dear,” he said, looking straight into her eyes. “Do you think if you post a thousand images of yourself online, tell a hundred thousand tales of your life publicly…do you really think this is more than the tip of the iceberg…more than the lobby of your 100 room mansion? You are an infinite soul, made up of as many identity possibilities, as many layers of expression as this multi-dimensional universe full of galaxies we now spin through! It doesn’t matter how much others discover about you…there’s still so much more of you, isn’t there? These online identities, after all, no matter how robust, are really just fictions…almost as short as spontaneous haikus scrawled on the discotheque bathroom wall!”

“Let’s get out of here,” she breathed heavily.

………………….

Again, take my advice: use your mobile device and the social networks as vehicles into physical experiences that you deeply desire and need in 2014. And stop letting temporal realities such as identity, authority and time get in your way. You are more than your perceived identity, you are more than the roles that authority figures have placed you within, and you are certainly an infinite being. Choose Love and Grace as your values this year and apply these values in the context of mobile apps to whisk your spirit once again into the land of dreams.

The rewards of social network activity are often realized within the human psyche — in the emotional and spiritual realms. One need only observe the delighted faces of fellow travelers in an airport or train station looking into glowing tablets and mobiles.

The people of Greece were always telling stories. And these stories were everywhere – on TV, in cafes, in magazines, in books, in schools, in offices, on the Internet. As usual, the country was going through heavy political and economic turmoil. Strange groups called the Fire Nuclei and Golden Dawn were at war, while people from all nations watched the center of Athens become a crucible of fire and smoke and the smashing of marble slabs by hammer and fist. The sophisticated members of Athenian society were increasingly moving their money, homes and families to London, Vancouver, New York, Dubai and further afield. The middle class was shrinking and the poor were out in the streets. Even as the violence found momentum amidst global market upheaval, a core group of committed storytellers in the universities and cafes found their legs. They began experimenting with the effect of story upon society. Some even became interested in trying their hand at changing events through the application of storytelling techniques.

The concept that set the imagination of these storytellers on fire was a simple term: context. The storytellers realized they could place stories in specific contexts and drastically change the participants within that context in short periods of time. Through simple A-B testing, the storytellers tried various methods of influencing perception of groups within Athenian society simply with well-wrought digital stories. Word spread amongst Masters level and even University level students as to the potency of story in changing the day-to-day headlines and events in the city of Athens. A network of storytelling “cabals” arose quickly in the Athenian underground. Each had its goal, its desired outcome. Every group had its specific root or history and its specific parea to exert an effect upon. Wild excitement grew amongst these storytellers upon seeing the power of their tales. All over Athens, in the cafes, universities, workplaces, the youth and young workers were increasingly active online and offline and telling one another fantastic tales. The wave of storytelling reached a fever pitch.

The storytellers were also interested in finding a way to make money and build lives from their stories alone. And this began with education. It became not only fashionable but downright normal and a convention that the youth trained in digital storytelling as a basis of communication. The types of media involved in digital storytelling – graphic, motion graphic, video, animation, text, photo, and audio – became incredibly popular courses of study. The universities and media agencies of Athens all began selling courses and extra-curricular courses in this area. From the heads of Communications Departments to the managers of television stations, the trend grew. Vendors of software related to the types of media used in digital storytelling offered cut-rate deals to students and the sale of computers and software skyrocketed. In addition, many start-ups were founded in Athens related to the various types of media used in digital storytelling. When people around the world talked about the power of digital storytelling to change a society, they always referred to the Athens example from 2013-2017.

Now there were two types of schools of thought related to digital storytelling in Athens. One focused on recording events and putting an emphasis upon these events. And the other was focused on live interaction with physical events. But it was a third school of thought that really captured the imagination of Athenian youth: fiction that creates new realities. In this third school of thought, the storytellers would think up a story that showed what they wanted to happen and then they would design a timeline of content AND context in order to bring this story to life in the physical realm. Although traditional news had focused on reporting real-time events and interpreting these events in light of specific political and philosophical ideologies, this new approach openly celebrated the power of story to shape events. The idea was criticized heavily and then accepted universally as repeated good results were shown.

This third approach to communications had a simple mechanism or function: a digital storyteller would write a story and create an editorial calendar for posting snippets of the story into specific contexts. The goal was to take control of that context through the various elements used AND the personalities conscripted to participate. In every case, a very clear outcome was written in an executive summary. The stories always had alternative paths built into the mechanism in anticipation of specific reactions by members of specific contexts. The approach had such an effective outcome for the students and staff working together that the form took off like wildfire in Athens. The model is what we formally call Dynamic/Active in formal digital storytelling, where user action foments additional dynamic content action.

As a result of this bias towards Dynamic/Active action in digital storytelling circles, storytellers became highly interested in psychology. Gaining an understanding of the psychologies of specific Athenian contexts, i.e.- pareas, became a major focus on the digital storytelling curriculum in Athens. A group of researchers mapped the current “ethos” of every known parea, small and large, in Athens, along with every sub-culture in the city. The map grew into a living infographic, which digital storytellers attempted to alter through their tales. It was this living infographic that caught the attention of the global media establishment and the world at large. And it is this living infographic that is really the starting point of our unique story.

The following post was inspired by a recent day of meetings at a major FMCG (Fast-Moving Consumer Goods) retailer in the United States. The post focuses on the use of market-related insights to deliver action-inducing stories to brand leadership and technical staff within the corporation.

THE “DEEP” ANALYST – A DEFINITION: A “deep” analyst chooses a psychological theme for analyzing a massive amount of data. For example, a “deep” analyst could apply an understanding of Jungian psychology to his/her analysis, focusing on classical Jungian therapeutic definitions as a guide for data segmentation. Such an analyst would seek to answer classical Jungian questions about an individual or group through his/her work with the data — for example, what “shadow” or unconscious elements of our corporation now animate our workforce? A corporate leader would want to know about these “hidden” animators of daily workforce behavior to better align manager actions and gain more precise results from staff.

(Summary: A researcher can study customer behavior and then tell corporate leadership what is secretly controlling staff and consumer actions.)

THE VALUE OF THE “DEEP” APPROACH: A significant value in the “deep” psychological approach to data is a wealth of short, yet powerful, anecdotes derived from research and “strung” along the path of a classical inner journey. When applied to a corporation, such stories offer tremendous value to stakeholders in making better decisions about a host of internal and external issues. As an example, what would happen if a major corporation studied Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, discovered where on that journey specific business units currently “walked”, and was better able to make decisions based upon this metaphor?

(Summary: A researcher can study customer behavior and then tell stories to corporate leadership as a means to inspiring specific helpful actions.)

THE ACTIONS OF A “DEEP” ANALYST WITHIN THE CORPORATION: The first action such a “deep” analyst takes within a corporate entity is to reveal the archetype at the brand core: that force in the unconscious of the company that is animating its stakeholders. The second action is to reveal who is consciously engaged with that archetype. The third is to influence, change and enhance the magnetism of the brand’s core so that customers and stakeholders are better served by a more inspired brand leadership.

(Summary: A researcher is curious about the main story of a brand or company. He/she is also interested in who else is aware of this story and what they do about this story on a regular basis. Finally, the researcher takes action to grow awareness of this story so that more people in a corporation will be helped/inspired and do a better job.)

RESULT #1 – INSPIRATION FOR TEAM LEADERS FROM INSIGHTS: Leadership will take insights gleaned by a “deep” analyst and engage more effectively with the core of the brand. A corporate leader must be steeped in the living and numinous entity that pulses at the center of the brand. Such devotion by the leader inspires stakeholders, merchant partners, employees and customers. You can tell when a corporate leader has become fully possessed by his/her brand…just take a look at Branson, Hsieh and Bezos. These are beings who enter regularly into the “fire” that burns at the core of their respective brands, emerging with powerful inspiration, drive and leadership for the entire corporate entity. The right set of stories derived through insights will ideally lift the “uninspired” leader to a new level of excitement about his/her business unit. In such cases, a single metaphor derived from insight can give birth to a greater level of passion in the leader and lift his/her staff up to a higher level of performance as a result.

RESULT #2 – WHAT A “DEEP” INSIGHT REVEALS: A deep insight reveals what animates a corporate entity, identifies the lenses within leadership upon company events and is a story of consequences (both “good” and “bad”). A deep insight inspires a bevy of possible actions and conceives strategies that will best serve current initiatives, stakeholders and customers. A deep insight will chart a path for brand leadership in winning on all levels. A deep insight contains the voices of a Critic AND a Creative, doing their duet. In this song, the Critic refines the Creative’s gift and the Creative ends up delivering happiness to the Critic: a win-win. Key: A deep insight provides a host of windows for times when doors seem to be closing.

THE FMCG EXAMPLE – HOW INSIGHTS BECOME PRACTICAL AND ACTION-INDUCING: Let us take, for instance, a leading FMCG entity with one foot in “flesh-retail” and one foot in the digital realm. This entity has an opportunity to weave flesh and digital with such elegance, such precision, that a customer hardly has to think when being served by one or the other. Deep insights will deliver tech so deeply embedded into the customer experience that the tech disappears…the customer makes his/her use of the tech a daily, even hourly, action.

Let us say, for instance, that this FMCG entity has created an app that delivers daily personalized discounts based on the customer’s past purchases, current financial “reality” and publicly expressed wishes. What a win for everyone! The customer wins because every time he/she steps into the retail or digital outlet, a discount on his/her faves is given (plus a whole lot more, in the ideal scenario). The resulting love affair influences the customer’s friends to participate and the merchants serving this FMCG are glowing with happiness as sales go up. The resulting community is a truly potent entity, able to extend seemingly un-ending generosity within itself and to its greater community. Everyone wants a piece of the action in such a scenario.

SUMMARY: An analyst focused on “deep” insights will evangelize the power of such intelligence throughout the corporate entity, throughout the brand organism. Such an analyst will educate every silo on how to use insights from intelligence for daily wins: within internal focus groups, (solving previously “un-solveable” issues), within customer focus groups, (solving those daily headaches that slow down the purchase cycle), within competitive situations, (revealing collaborative possibilities). A deep insight is the “A-ha!”, the “Eureka!”…and with the depth of data currently available, the market intelligence analyst working within a corporate entity has abundant and daily opportunities to make this exclamation and deliver powerful actions to every silo, every leader, every employee and, ultimately, to every customer.

It is the CEO who thinks about his/her customer first that successfully leads employees, vendors, and all stakeholders to daily consumer-level wins, employee satisfaction and stakeholder confidence. It is the CEO who takes weekly incognito walks down the aisles of his/her retail outlets, listening & talking with customers/employees about “the small, real things”…it is such a person who will transform the enterprise into a united, healthy and joy-giving organism.

Julio Viskovich has recently posted an excellent example of how social business staff at a brand can help the CEO put customers first. Viskovich writes, “Just now I read a tweet addressed to my city ‘In #Vancouver and need a place to stay for the night. Any suggestions?’ It’s been 5 minutes and not a single hotel has responded. I’m thinking of reaching out and offering my guest room for $40 per night.” SOURCE: http://bit.ly/SocialSelling2013

Using smart social analytics, cutting-edge HR is now selecting brand leadership from within their own customer base. The new Chief Customer Executive and his/her cohorts are selected directly from the consumers and raised to power within the organization as advocates for the consumer alone. This smart new move by the HR silo using web intelligence is the latest indication of how powerful social tech has become: the customer and HR are conspiring to facilitate daily consumer wins…and wise brand stakeholders are on board with this revolution.

One of the most forward-thinking actions a large entity can take in 2013 is designing programs through which small and medium sized entities may become affiliates. To say this again: see your prospect list as a list of networks, NOT as a list of individuals. And begin now to study these networks, to segment the individuals within these networks and to devise scripts, business plans and strategic alliances with each and every one (where it makes sense).

Seeing individuals as networks is perhaps the most important mind change for the C-Suite. In a world of social networks and social business, such a leap is how large corporations will stay alive. As Peter Economides, a leading market strategist, has said, “Mass is the aberration, one-to-one is the convention.” We have to get back to the mindset of the neighborhood shop, the hyper-local one-to-one way of business. This is how economies will flourish again, and why large businesses should begin to invest cash into lucrative local pools of affiliates.

When a corporation receives access to social networks through its staff, when the C-Suite is introduced into these networks, the initial questions have to do with practical application. An employee seeking to demonstrate the practical application of social business need only pick up the old rolodex on the desk of his/her CEO. That rolodex, that little black book, IS the central symbol for clueing the C-Suite into the practical application of social networks. And the entity that started in 2007 to build online rolodexes, to segment these into lists of prospects, future employees, affiliates, vendors, and competitors, has already streaked out ahead of the entity just entering social networks.

Eleftherios Hatziioannou, Principal at Peopleizers, captures the dilemma for corporate leaders: “Marketers and the organizations behind them need to stop thinking in quantitative metrics only and add some deeper/relationship-based success factors to their strategies. However, these are more difficult to scale, because it takes one relationship at a time. This puts many businesses off. They think: How am I supposed to answer every single question out there? Isn’t it more efficient to just keep interrupting people with our messages the way we did in the past decades?”

Corporations wishing to succeed in social networks will have to divert a percentage of advertising & media spending towards a new “Relationship Marketing” Department, populated with customer-service minded folks — the mindset in this department ought to be more like the real estate agent vs. the call center “cold caller” who has to get through a specific number of calls before lunch. In this new Relationship Marketing Department, it’s about quality contacts and quality networks derived from research followed up with highly customized customer-service flavored sales — solutions-oriented sales leading to a long-term relationship.

Nowadays, the depth of avail data provides a foundation for putting the “7th-generation” puzzle together accurately. #SeventhGeneration

SEVENTH GENERATION THINKING: Customers can now be matched with products/services that truly serve a need every single second of every single day. The data is that rich now. ALSO, there is enough positive intent nowadays to make this a nurturing process…for the planet, for humanity and for the “seventh generation”. The throw-away culture of two generations ago is being replaced with “seventh-generation” oriented action-takers. AND, the depth of available data actually provides a foundation for putting this “seventh-generation” puzzle together accurately. #SeventhGeneration #ForwardThinking #WiseData

WARP-SPEED MANIFESTATION: Since the Internet is not a hierarchy, all images, text, movies and songs have the opportunity to grow very large and swallow preceding “giants”. As a collective entity, perhaps the Internet is like a serpent swallowing its own tail. Being within this multi-dimensional eco-system is a transformative experience for individuals and the collective. Humanity is undergoing an extremely rapid phase of evolution presently. Extremely rapid and deep. Humans are realizing how malleable time can be…particularly since ideas become flesh at light-speed now. What would have once taken an entire generation to unfold occurs within minutes in today’s world.

Each person has the innate ability to take a dream and make the images in his/her mind into a tangible, concrete physical experience.

WEAVE YOUR REALITY: An innate talent taken from humans long ago is the ability to create tangible physical realities out of intangibles. Slices of humanity do this for a living: artists, writers, inventors, business founders. But each person has the innate ability to take a dream and make the images in his/her mind into a tangible, concrete physical experience. Try this today. Draw something simple on a piece of paper, such as you walking to the fridge and getting a glass of juice. Then stand up and do it. Now add complexity to this and watch the most “impossible” images turn into physical experience. #PracticalMagic #FictionIntoReality #Here2There

Each person has the innate ability to take a dream and make the images in his/her mind into a tangible, concrete physical experience. Each person can quite easily go from “here” to “there” nowadays.

The Ideal:

The key to long term success is to have Imagination, Persistence, Compassion.

Fostering a deep, real and fruitful conversation between marketing communications AND sales is one of the most important tasks for senior managers nowadays. The marketing department is working with product development on a lovely garden. And sales is out there hunting, hunting, hunting to bring “eaters” to the garden. Market researchers see who the potential “eaters” are from a distance and, ideally, marcoms aids sales with extremely accurate messaging to lure the “eaters” into a rich and beautiful experience.

Joan Damico writes, “Marcom (Marketing communications) tends to operate from a longer term visionary / brand perspective. This often leads to a content clash with sales, which must meet monthly and quarterly revenue targets. There’s opportunity for marcom and sales to reach a happy medium between content that is visionary, such as thought leadership, and tactical content that is more immediately useable, such as ROI calculators and product comparisons.” (SOURCE: http://www.business2community.com/content-marketing/will-content-marketing-end-contentious-b2b-marketing-and-sales-relationship-0504728)

Damico’s excellent observation pinpoints the need for accuracy within the marcoms-sales relationship. Ideally, the two silos come to an understanding and are able to work together. The process of market research, content development and “message tweaking” can seem endless to the Sales silo. Salespeople want it “right now”. This is why it is wise of senior managers to start specific marketing programs six-twelve months PRIOR to attached sales initiatives. In fact, a deep market audit can inform a far more accurate sales process and marcoms can provide the sales teams with incredibly accurate and effective messaging due to the research. Likewise, sales can communicate their on-the-ground experience with customers to marcoms. That’s a very rich conversation and planning approach!

Seth Godin writes, “Valuable marketing campaigns are the result of time and user experience, not media and more media. Social media is a marathon, a gradual process in which you build a reputation. The best time to start was a while ago. The second best time to start is today. But turning it up to 11 isn’t going to get you there faster.” (SOURCE: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2013/06/the-thermostat-and-the-frying-pan.html)

When a marcoms team has been given a realistic lead time, their contribution to the sales silo will be very valuable. More managers have to realize the differing pace of marcoms and sales. And need to plan accordingly.

No, it was the other guy, the guy who bought what worked, the one in charge of the real budget–he wasn’t easy, but he was worth it… ~Seth Godin

THE CURRENT SITUATION: Ever receive an email with a sales pitch? We all do. And what do you do with 90% of these? You do not have time to read them and you trash them. Many times even when the pitch is about something you really want or need. There just isn’t time to open that email and read the pitch, click on the link and do all the digital “paperwork” to get what you want.

Receiving an email blast from a company is different than receiving a helpful solution in the context of a comment thread in social networks. The former is likely to end up in the junk folder. The latter is “in context” and will be read every time. This is why corporations are ceasing email blast campaigns and building relationship marketing teams. This is why corporations are building customized communities based on customer needs and competitors’ shortcomings.

Eleftherios Hatziiannou writes, “Marketers spent fortunes every year for marketing research and data to understand precisely who their target group is, what they want and where they can reach them. Today people publicly say what they want by using social media. Wouldn`t it make sense to learn how to participate in this new kind of marketplace and thereby turn conversations into commerce?” (SOURCE: http://www.peopleizers.com)

THE DEEPER REALITY WITHIN CORPORATIONS: An organization that moves away from email to internal communications networks, such as Salesforce Chatter, Yammer or Sharepoint is an organization that gets the value of relationship marketing. In addition, such an organization gets the value of knowing the context in which an employee/customer is complaining.

Brian Solis, Principal Analyst at Altimeter Group, writes, “Collaboration takes more than the idea of Facebook behind a firewall. This is about aligning people around a common vision, to encourage engagement beyond the teams you know, to create inside and outside experiences that matter to employees, customers, and partners. Enterprise social networks represent the technology to bring your vision to life as they are merely tools that mimic the way that people connect and communicate in the real world.” (SOURCE: What’s the Future of Business – http://www.wtfbusiness.com)

It’s one thing to have an email, a name and a role in our marketing database. And then to blast a prescribed formula to segmented lists. It’s a far deeper action to have a complaint, a context AND an email, name and role. When an organization has EVERY complaint out there about a competitor/themselves PLUS the current contact info for those who are complaining, they have an opportunity to engage in conversations with those complainers one-to-one. This is called relationship marketing.

“We created a contextual social space where people interested by a topic (in this case the World Economic Forum – http://weflive.com/kpmg) could follow what what said about it and the brand was opening a discussion channel in this precise context,” writes Nicolas Dengler of Shore.li, http://www.shore.li

The question is whether they will use such information in a way that the customer truly gets and wants to respond to. Will they mobilize their marketing team to offer solutions one-to-one in social comment threads? Or will they simply do another email blast?

Ted Rubin, a world expert in relationship marketing, writes, “Creating the opportunity for customers to share via a social platform allows people to give feedback/suggestions real-time and therefore increases the brand benefit exponentially.” (SOURCE: http://www.tedrubin.com/blog/)

When asked about the difference between corporations running email blasts and those running Relationship Marketing campaigns, Giles Palmer, CEO of Brandwatch, the world’s premier social media monitoring service, said, “The answer’s obvious, isn’t it? The difference between email marketing and relationship marketing reminds me of a guy driving a car around a town centre with a big microphone screaming their message out versus someone walking through the crowd shaking people’s hands and talking WITH them. If the broadcast message is funny or informative, ok, it’s a way to get to a large number of people quickly. But if it’s not, it’s just noise. And who wants to be remembered as the noisy guy in the room.” (SOURCE: Personal call with Giles Palmer of Brandwatch, April 2013)

This transition from email blasts to relationship marketing IS the future of marketing and sales. And it is the next step in moving from a culture that looks at people as digits TO a culture that sees people as people.

SOLUTIONS:
Solutions for corporations to build relationship include (in order):

a) an audit of all complaints/feedback about a product/service (using listening tech, such as Social Media Monitoring tools),
b) a creation of responses internally and/or with the help of a content-marketing agency,
c) the assignment of an individual/team to respond within 24 hours to complaints/feedback in ALL social streams and comment feeds,
d) the creation of a “living” database where these responses and the resulting sales are documented.

PURPOSE OF SOLUTIONS:

1) To identify who is complaining about our competitor.
2) To offer solutions to these people directly.
3) To improve our products/services through knowing their complaints.
4) To increase awareness of our comprehensive understanding of this market niche AND of what our customer needs.
5) To increase sales.

IN BRIEF: Social prospects are developed THROUGH providing solutions in social comment feeds. Conversion occurs when a prospect finds the solution satisfactory AND better than a competitor’s solution. The process involves: identification of needs through listening, providing better solutions to these needs than competitors, follow up with people who want to use the better solution.

RESOURCES FOR FURTHER STUDY:

1. THE ULTIMATE EMAIL STATS LIST VIA HUBSSPOT:
http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33901/The-Ultimate-List-of-2012-Email-Marketing-Stats.aspx

2. THE GRAND GUIDE TO SOCIAL SELLING VIA ELOQUA:
http://www.slideshare.net/Eloqua/the-grande-guide-to-social-selling

3: HOW TO DO RESEARCH IN SOCIAL NETWORKS VIA BRANDWATCH:
http://www.brandwatch.com/knowledge-base/ebooks/

WHAT IS AN AVATAR: In Hinduism, an avatar is a deliberate descent of a deity to earth, or a descent of the Supreme Being, and is mostly translated into English as “incarnation”, but more accurately as “appearance” or “manifestation”. In computing, an avatar is the graphical representation of the user or the user’s alter ego or character. It may take either a three-dimensional form, as in games or virtual worlds, or a two-dimensional form as an icon in Internet forums and other online communities. It is an object representing the user. The term “avatar” can also refer to the personality connected with the screen name, or handle, of an Internet user.

EVERYONE HAS AN AVATAR & IT SUMMONS YOU DAILY: Whether you have a Facebook page or have developed multiple identities across many networks, you have conceived a presence online that lives while you sleep. Others interact with that presence 24/7 through comments, shares, re-tweets and likes. The more time you put into growing your network (context) and filling out your avatar(s) with text, posts, images and movies (content), the fuller this representation becomes. The pull you feel to post throughout the day is no different than a mother’s pull to nurse a child and make it grow. The gravity of your avatar is no different than a farmer tending crops to fruition. The magnetism you feel in returning to your social pages is no different than a person returning to make love with their beloved. You want to nurture this presence.

THE RESULT OF NURTURING AN AVATAR: When you spend a lot of time nurturing your avatar, it takes on a life of its own. And it can create a series of new possibilities for your fleshly body. In fact, it could be said that your digital avatar is your greatest ally in today’s world of social networks, drawing opportunities into your field of awareness via texts, emails and comment threads. The best action you can take to truly give full life to your avatar is to make it a gift to the world. Rather than using a network to get something, consider using the network to give a gift. The result will be a magnification of your best self in front of the world. And you’ll begin to receive requests to participate in activities, businesses and relationships that perfectly fit your avatar.

THE AMPLIFICATION OF YOUR BEST QUALITIES IS THE RIGHT CONTENT FOR YOUR AVATAR: Did you read that last sentence in the previous paragraph? I will write it again: By developing your avatar every day, you’ll begin to receive requests to participate in activities, businesses and relationships that perfectly fit your avatar. To take this further, when you imbue your avatar with your very best qualities, your unique gifting to the world, you will find yourself in conversation with others that have the same goals, the same thoughts, the same priorities, the same style. If you want to see who is in your core circle, take a look right now at who consistently likes and comments on your “best” posts in Facebook or retweets you on Twitter. These are people you might consider connecting more deeply with online and in person. Your “best” posts are the ones that truly represent the core of your essential self, the part of you that is a gift to others.

YOU CAN DEVELOP A BUSINESS AND A LIFE FROM THE REFLECTION OF YOUR AVATAR: Your avatar is showing you a path into a life that is yours to step into. You’ve created that life by posting what you posted, by sharing what you’ve shared, by photographing what you photographed. This is your identity and your destination. Your avatar is your location. There are literally thousands of people who “get this” every day in a heart-fluttering moment. And, for some, their lives change overnight. The change can be as simple as deciding to pursue a healthier lifestyle through exercise or a diet change. Or the change can be as huge as a physical move to a place that has been calling out to you for years. Entire businesses have blossomed in a short amount of time simply due to a path an avatar has charted.

HOW TO GAIN GUIDANCE VIA YOUR AVATAR: Today take some time to study what you’ve been posting during the last month or few weeks. Study who has liked, re-tweeted or commented on your posts. Study the photos you’ve been posting or sharing. Study the posts you’ve been liking or sharing from others. Now, take some time to write down your thoughts. What did you come away from this experience feeling and thinking? Who do you want to become as a result of this activity? Write down the identity of your avatar, what it is, who it is, what it does, where it wants to go, who it wants to meet. That’s you.

THE COURAGE TO STEP “INTO” THE SKIN OF YOUR AVATAR: Did you know you can step into your avatar? That identity you’ve been creating online is like clothing or a skin. And it is already living in the world you want to occupy. To experiment with what this is like, select just a few activities, relationships, songs, images and intentions that your avatar has expressed during the last few days or months. And try just a few of those. See how that feels to you. Do this just on one single day. The day you do this IS the day you stepped “into” your avatar. Will you dare to try that again tomorrow?

“Why are you on the Internet so much?” they asked.
“Oh, I’m finding out about more things every day…,” she replied.

Humanity wants a path to a better world. Individuals are looking for a mechanism, a function, to hurdle perceived obstacles.

There is a whole new world of life-giving products, services and processes busting the seams to become mainstream. And there’s an old world of death-dealing things that now needs to pass away. The new world is as inevitable as the attraction between two people whose eyes dance, where the electric meets the magnetic, a gravity that cannot be ignored.

Fortunately, the network has officially eclipsed the hierarchy. Humanity now sits in an ever expanding set of concentric circles. Connecting laterally is far more effective than “climbing the corporate ladder” in today’s paradigm.

If you want to experience your new world take the following steps:

1. 1 HOUR FREE WRITE: Spend an hour free-writing, where you allow the pen to move across the page without editing yourself. (Suggestion: Write with a pen on a pad of paper. See more on why at Julia Cameron’s page about “Morning Pages” here – http://juliacameronlive.com/basic-tools/morning-pages/ )
2. THREE KEYWORDS: Next write down a few keywords that capture your feeling after doing this writing.
3. SEARCHING THE KEYWORDS: Search these keywords in every social property and social “device” at The World Wide Mind.
4. ARCHIVING THE IMAGES: Save the images, links and text you find that “fit” or “attract” you.
5. MEETING UP: All of these images, links and texts were created by someone. One of those “someones” is going to jump out to you. Find that person’s social handles and send a message. Meet up with that person in the flesh. Spend some time “in the world” of your images. The experience of going from image to flesh is truly amazing.
6. CREATE A NEW WORLD: Once you’ve tasted this alternative universe that emerged from steps 1-5, you have to calculate the consequences for yourself of fully entering that world. Once you do your calculations, develop your ideas and write down your plans, simply go into that world. You just created it.

This process can be used over and over again. And this process can be used by individuals and enterprises, by students and institutions, by citizens and governments.

“Capturing the full potential value from the use of social technologies will require transformational changes in organizational structures, processes, and practices, as well as a culture compatible with sharing and openness.”
~McKinsey Report, “The Social Economy: Unlocking value and productivity through social technologies, McKinsey & Company, July 2012.

WHAT IS THE BLACK BOX: Wikipedia defines the black box as follows, “In science and engineering, a black box is a device, system or object which can be viewed solely in terms of its input, output and transfer characteristics without any knowledge of its internal workings, that is, its implementation is “opaque” (black). Almost anything might be referred to as a black box: a transistor, an algorithm, a business process, or the human mind. The opposite of a black box is a system where the inner components or logic are available for inspection, which is sometimes known as a clear box, a glass box, or a white box.” (SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_box)

BUSINESS HAS TO MOVE OUT OF THE BLACK BOX: Business must move toward the white box model for one simple reason: more access to customer collaboration. We live in an age where customers and employees work together on products, services and programs. The most effective product lines, service offerings and policy programs involve customers in the development process. The reason this method is so effective is because the customers have a previous experience that contributes value. The professional expert who has worked for years in a specific business niche can benefit massively from amateurs who have tried multiple variations. Major brands are involving customers in the development of next season’s fashion line, governments are inviting citizens to work with policy makers, and customers now lead service communities under corporate umbrellas. As the old adage goes, “many hands make light work”.

MOVING TO COLLABORATION: In business, black boxes have been essential in a competitive market, to protect sensitive internal processes in development. If one’s competitor can see how one develops an application, a program or a product, then he can take it and improve it and beat you to market. Corporations have prioritized black boxes to protect their stakeholders and investment in people, materials and resources. But in many cases, these same black box eco-systems have created misunderstanding and conflict. And these misunderstandings are a primary reason why businesses are moving toward transparency. To state this another way: we exist within a world so clarified by social networks that many businesses are opting for collaboration models. Businesses are opting for white boxes.

Jacob Tell, an innovator in collaboration vs. competition at Oniracom, a leading lifestyle marketeing company, has said, “We’ve chosen a partnership model over a competitive model. This is a proper way to approach business in today’s increasingly networked world.” As a veteran of the Internet and people-person par excellence, Mr. Tell has identified a very true and helpful dynamic for today’s new paradigm of business — a humanized way of being and doing where we come together for a win-win.

THE WORLD WANTS THE WHITE BOX: Mr. Tell is not alone in his sentiments, either. Kim Stokely, a leading trainer of educators in the United States has said, “This time of history signifies the end of individualism and the beginning of collectivism.” The US Intelligence office has just published a Trends 2030 paper that states, “There will not be any hegemonic power in the future. Power will shift to networks and coalitions in a multipolar world.” Tom Oliver, of the World Peace Festival, has stated, “Until now the world has had no method that systematically deals with violent conflict. To fill this void, experienced peace builders from across the globe have got together with government officials, civil society and the military to design a strategy that could prevent war and resolve violent conflict. This strategy works at all levels – from the bottom up and top down.”

The entire human community cries out for a unified and transparent world group of leaders that move from competing black boxes to collaborative methods of dealing with conflict, poverty and disaster. The world needs and wants a White Box paradigm and good 21st century corporations, banks and governments will step into this clear room together. Peace is quite possibly the number one reason for entering this white box paradigm and leaving the black box method.

RESOURCES:

DEEP TRANSPARENCY VIDEO:

HOW TO OPEN THE BLACK BOX – The method to opening the black box is straight-forward:
1. Research your customer using social media monitoring solutions. Listen to what your customer is saying.
2. Design a White Box program to invite your customer or fan into the process of your business. Base the strategy and aspects of this program on what you discovered through research.
3. Design safeguards in this program to protect your business from sabotage from competitors.
4. Allocate inner resources from every silo (HR, PR, Marketing, Sales, C-Suite, Customer Service, etc.) to handling different aspects of this White Box program. Designate one person to manage the entire program and be a liaison between the departments involved.
5. Design the campaign where you announce this program.
6. Launch the program.
7. Be sure to follow up on EVERY entry/suggestion. Allocate resources so that you can do this. This is a full-time job for one employee (or more, depending on the size of the operation).

SOURCES:
1. Here are 9 case studies where social media took out the middleman:
http://barnraisersllc.com/2012/04/9-case-studies-social-media-middleman/

2. The Current State of Social Engagement Inside the Large Enterprise:
http://www.slideshare.net/dachisgroup/current-state-of-social-engagement-inside-the-large-enterprise-engagement-scale-report

3. Transparency.org:
http://www.transparency.org/

4. Twelpforce Case Study Video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uc6Z5KR-Oys

5. Framework and Matrix: The Five Ways Companies Organize for Social Business:
http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2010/04/15/framework-and-matrix-the-five-ways-companies-organize-for-social-business/

6. Brandwatch
http://www.brandwatch.com/

A COMPLIMENT IN MONTE CARLO: I received an amazing compliment in Monte Carlo last month. A grizzled and seasoned banker looked at me owlishly over his tortoise-shell spectacles and said, “Mr. Hansen, you come from a land of smiles. But we are bankers and we care about just one thing in life: making money.”

I sat with this compliment for some time, thinking about what it meant for me personally. And, as I sat, I kept coming back to the theme of happiness. How am I happy? How is this banker happy? How is my family happy? How is this banker’s family happy? Is it really money that makes a person happy? Or is it something else?

THE HISTORY OF MONEY: When one looks at the history of money itself, it becomes very clear that the pursuit of money alone does not yield happiness. In The Ascent of Money, Niall Ferguson writes, “And yet the silver of the New World could not bring the rebellious Dutch Republic to heel; could not secure England for the Spanish crown; could not save Spain from an inexorable economic and imperial decline. Like King Midas, the Spanish monarchs of the sixteenth century, Charles V and Philip II, found that an abundance of precious metal could be as much a curse as a blessing…What the Spaniards had failed to understand is that the value of precious metal is not absolute…an increase in its supply will not make a society richer…”

REAL SUCCESS: The real value that people seek is an in-the-flesh connection to other human beings in the context of love. And no amount of money in the world can buy this. Maria Elita, a Greek-Australian healer, has said, “Success to me is being able to look after my grand-daughter when I can, help my children grow up respectfully, spend time with my aging parents, listen to other people’s stories of hope, kiss my boyfriend often, spend every Sunday night with my crazy Greek family, express my truth as only I can, forgive the past, embrace the future and remember The Miracle that I am. None of my success is monetary or material .. Because TRUE SUCCESS has no dollar value, cannot be measured, and does not need awards.”

My hypothesis is that the “land of smiles” is precisely where the banker in Monte Carlo wants to be. This desired place is, as Miss Elita writes, where the awards have to do with family, friends, kisses and hugs.

Now I could stop there and feel self-satisfied about this little piece I’ve written on this sunny morning with coffee, fresh orange juice, steaming croissants and love by my side.

But I won’t.

Because the journey that I want to take is with this banker. In person.

PiedPiperWithChildren

WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS FROM BANKERS: I want this particular banker to find a way “out” of the vault of his office and into the sunlight of his family’s embrace. He has a family, he has a life outside the bank. And that family does not get enough of his presence. And, deep down, he does not get enough of their presence.

Yes, this banker likes his bank and the adventure of business. And this keeps his blood pumping. But there’s a missing piece of the story: how can he take this sense of adventure, this exhilaration of the “hunt”, this heady rush of blood that comes from successful risk-taking and turn it into a gift to humanity? How can he turn his creativity with digits into a creative act for communities, for families and for the world at large. Because that’s what the world needs from bankers now.

One of the world’s most powerful bankers, Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, has said, “Investment bankers are just doing God’s work.” But how can bankers fulfill on this statement of Mr. Blankfein’s? Because most of the rest of the world would disagree with him.

WHAT A BANK CAN BE: Banks have always been solid pillars in society, providing a reference point with a promise of strength, stability and assurance. The bank manager has always been a respected and acknowledged expert leader in the community. A facilitator of conversation. An authoritative source of advice and assurance. But this role lessened in the age of mass distribution and mass communication. It became a game of mass advertising, selling mass product through mass distribution.

Online gathering places allow institutions such as banks to reclaim their position of community leadership. By opening up and facilitating one on one conversation within the supercharged online community environment. And as banks listen to their customers and follow their lives, a new relationship between a bank and a customer emerges. In this relationship, the bank brings a new and deeper emotional and social intelligence to working with human beings.

BANKS TAKING THEIR PROPER PLACE IN THE COMMUNITY: Banks should take their place within the community created through human-centered actions, in ways that are consistent with their institutional strength and provision. Acting in this way in the context of community, the bank will gain true human dimension: by interacting with the community and assuming its place as a pillar in society.

This is an incredibly worthwhile objective, which provides added value and a distinct competitive advantage for banks that choose this path. It’s a path bankers can lead humanity along into the land of smiles.

…but the dreamers of the day are dangerous people, For they dream their dreams with open eyes, And make them come true. ~D.H. Lawrence

A VISUAL EXPERIENCE OF THE PSYCHE: The social networks are a visual experience of the subconscious. We are re-membering the ability to communicate via extra-sensory perception. To say this more clearly: the Interwebs are a training ground for communicating via thought alone. To phrase this a third time: when one uses the Interwebs to communicate, one is peering into the collective unconscious…the realm of collective imagination…you are literally looking into a catalogue of humanity’s thoughts and dreams.

THE NATURE OF THE AVATAR: The Sanskrit noun avatāra is derived from the verbal root tṝ “to cross over”, joined with the prefix ava “off , away , down”. The implication in regards to one’s Facebook profile or Twitter account is fascinating: namely, that a digital social avatar is a separate, living entity fed by YOUR blood, your dreams, your fears, your desires…and by the context in which it flourishes. To say it again: your digital “avatar” is a “crossing over” “away or down” into the social fabric of the Internet. And, I would argue, this avatar has already come to life and is attracting a community (context) every second of every day as others interact with your content, your expression, your 24/7 presence.

NAVIGATING THE IMAGINAL: What the social networks taught me: how to travel to a lived physical experience via the imaginal. To say this a second time, in a different way: a human can create a collage of image, text and relationship in social networks that yields a path into a desired physical experience. And yet again, to say this in a third way: you have assembled your desired location via the stories, images and relationships engaged within the Interwebs.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give–yes or no, or maybe–
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.

~William Stafford

Perhaps the most confusing aspect of being human is the experience of being alone. We want to connect with one another, to know one another, to be immersed in love with one another. And so we enter the Internet and spend truly huge amounts of time creating worlds to connect within. But for some, deep down,
there is an unsettling feeling that this entire experience in social networks is not meeting what we are looking for. And the question arises as to why this unsettling feeling persists.

Perhaps this feeling is about coming to terms with that moment no-one has mastered…the moment
of passing from flesh into mystery. The moment of physical death. A thousand philosophies speculate on the passage from physical life into the hereafter: from
becoming fodder for worms to reunion with friends and family in the lap of God. The reality is that we cannot avoid this day that eventually comes to us all. So
we keep strong and love those around us the best we can. I believe that humans are architecting spiritual realms via social networks. And I believe that this is what the massive growth of communication in today’s world is all about…a discovery of how to contend with the final doorway, a planning of how one would like “forever” to look like, a participation in a fantasy world that one can make real in a very short amount of time.

To say this again, more directly: The myriad groups and circles that now exist in the digital realm are really a spiritual creation as well. Perhaps we are at a point in history where community created in these digital-light realms precedes or presages the fabrication of such experience in the spiritual realm. Whether one believes in life after death or not, this possibility is here with us now: the bonding of “invisible” presences across the world through image, light and thought. We do this via our laptops and mobile devices every day. And perhaps this is a global training in how to do this with only our minds, only our hearts, only our feelings.

What a truly amazing experience these social networks can be! The experience: I can now see the invisible through my glowing screens. To be clear, I can see the faces and hear the voices of those who share a specific passion with me, who share a common dream with me, who also believe what I believe. Social networks are dream-maps. And it is via these dream maps that I can expand into all that I am meant to be. Giving oneself to one’s deepest passion and discovering a community of support for this has never been so easy, so simple and so satisfying. With one keyword entered into a search field, an individual can make a passage from loneliness into togetherness, from fear into love, from death into life. And that’s a major gift of this experience we are all sharing presently in these networks of light and life.

My conclusion is that humans are architecting their heavens every day via social networks. Humans are writing their ideal worlds into being within the Internet. When I find those who love what I love and share time and food and presence with them…I know, in that moment, that I will have experienced what I believe about the hereafter. These millions of digital circles are a massive proof of humanity’s core desire to be reunited. To find a specific Twitter list, a specific Facebook group, a specific LinkedIn group and to correspond with those who occupy this group…this is an image of humanity’s greatest aspiration: to find one’s people…and be with them, in the flesh, in the spirit, in the heart.

FREEDOM: Many individuals want to break free from corporate walls, familial boundaries and cultural structures. This, in fact, is the story of progress and also of experiencing depth. There are many systems of thought that offer paths to freedom. If one considers the interior of his/her psyche as akin to a corporate structure, then we can go further with a few metaphors that may be of help in finding freedom. Before getting into this though, it is vital to know that freedom comes from taking 100% responsibility for one’s own actions within a given context. This singular truth is the key to freedom. The intelligence gathering process for business and government provides leadership with clarity, security and power. And the best kind of power emerges from individuals who have taken 100% responsibility for the process of discovery and subsequent strategy.

INTELLIGENCE IS MAINSTREAM NOW: For our current article, we will take the market intelligence community and its function as a means to discovering freedom via responsibility. Market intelligence used to be a rarified action, not frequently discussed amongst co-workers on your average coffee break. In fact, in many traditional settings this is still true. But there are many forward-thinking corporations, communities and individuals who understand the power of deep intelligence on any given topic or interest. The market intelligence (MI) process has actually become more widespread in the corporate world due to the advent of social media monitoring tools like Radian6, BrandWatch, Sysomos and PeopleBrowsr. Even very basic Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Google searches provide the average man and woman a point of view previously unknown. For example, one may type keywords related to a specific interest into the search field at a social network and discover people nearby who share that interest. A new “in-the-flesh” experience becomes possible through such location-based searches related to an interest.

THE FIREFIGHTER AND FUTURIST: The advent of readily available intelligence brings humanity as a whole to an entirely new level of responsibility. Answers to most questions are at everyone’s fingertips. And this experience of responsibility translates into freedom for the corporation, the community and the individual. The process of going from a passive “bored at work” search for one’s passion to standing up from the chair and diving into a completely new life may be described as going from the “Firefighter” to the “Futurist”. To explain: the Firefighter is approaching an interest on an ad hoc basis, reacting to outside stimulus and “sitting at the station” waiting for an emergency. The Futurist is deeply engaged on both a global and local level, using intelligence to drive a process of rewarding, pro-active discovery. The Firefighter has no focus other than the emergency he reacts to…the Futurist is immersed in a broad, deep and future-oriented journey that draws in topics, people and places outside the immediately relevant environment. To be clear yet again on this comparison: the Futurist is creating the reality that the Firefighter often reacts to.

The Futurist has realized that reality may be defined ahead of the curve of fate or karma. While the consequences of an action take place within the boundaries of a specific world, the Futurist has moved on and discovered a completely novel experience, devoid of the content and context wherein the previous consequence was generated. He/she may then transform “the past” via valuable learnings, cultural understandings, and innovative approaches discovered “in the future”. A leading solution helping Futurists do this now is Recorded Future.

RESEARCH LEADS TO FREEDOM: The deepest importance of Market Intelligence has to do with creativity. When one discovers the complexion of an eco-system surrounding a specific interest, then he/she may tweak the elements of that eco-system and create what he/she wants. This is why researchers and business leaders must work hand-in-hand to shape our world. And this is also why it is inexcusable for any individual to say he/she cannot find a path to a dream. Even the simplest location-based search around an interest will place one in the company of others who have thrown themselves with passion into achieving very similar dreams to one’s own. Try this today, using the search fields in the various major social networks. Go deeper with social business intelligence tools.

The most beautiful parts of an individual are often expressed in the most private of settings. What the world loves about “the stars” is that these individuals have chosen to bring slices of their hidden beauty before the world. Social network profiles have provided everyone in the world a chance previously unknown in known history: instant expression of innermost beauty to the world…again and again and again. Appreciation of this expression in all of its forms is an essential mannerism of humanity in current times. The variety of expression is truly astounding. Beyond words.

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