Love stories birth businesses

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.

Me, the Selfie and I: How Your Mobile Device Will Act as a Magic Carpet to Your Dreams in 2014

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

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.

Applying smart marketing tactics to B2B prospect lists

CONTEXT & PROBLEM:
Recently, I sold a list of 500 prospects to a mid-sized trading company based in Europe. The executives at the trading company were puzzled by the individuals I had selected from our internal data set of roughly 65,000 GCC-based business people. Expecting lower income-level individuals, the executives at first reacted with dismay, as though possibility and opportunity would be limited.

My email in response to the executives was simple:

“Yes, in my experience, forming relationships with such individuals is extremely lucrative. I am happy to show you what I mean. Typically, the traders you refer to are temporary quick revenue at a small level, whereas relationship marketing and content marketing aimed at peers results in much higher, long term revenue. Again, I am happy to send you very specific, step-by-step methods for doing this type of marketing.”

CONCEPT RELATED TO THE PROBLEM:
The concept of B2B relationship marketing to peers within one’s own industry remains foreign to numerous executives. The notion of collaboration in B2B settings, even with one’s previous top competitors is very difficult to unpack in more conventional settings. But today, this is where the real value and wealth of networks resides. The Network Archetype is critical to understand here.

HISTORY OF THE NETWORK ARCHETYPE:
Although networking seems like a modern action linked to career growth in the media age, its roots go back to the ancient world. Networkers expand influence by forging alliances and making connections among vastly different groups of people, and can be traced back to the intrigues of the Middle Ages, Greece, Rome, and ancient China. Networking would also have been an integral part of any military alliance as well as all social and clan confederations in prehistory. In its positive aspect, this archetype helps one develop social flexibility and empathy. This flexibility and empathy enables the archetype to find commonality with others who might not at first seem to be potential friends or allies.

SOLUTION FOR THE EXECUTIVES:
The executives referred to above asked me to send the proposed strategies and tactics, along with email/phone scripts and actual examples of how I had effectively run B2B marketing campaigns. Below are the exact steps I sent to the executives:

METHODOLOGY – STEP 1 – THE PRIMARY PROSPECT:
1. We discovered his (the Primary Prospect’s) social links through our social business intelligence tools.
2. We discovered his contact info by exploring the WHOIS database (using his registered URLs).
3. We listened to him and researched the companies he helped start.
4. We studied his resume at LinkedIn.
5. We studied his personal life at Facebook.
6. We studied his specific interests on Twitter.
7. We condensed our findings into a singular goal – a strategy weaving his goals and our goals
into a collaboration.
8. We wrote a personalized, targeted email that can be sent to the prospect.

METHODOLOGY – STEP 2 – THE PRIMARY PROSPECT’S NETWORK:
1. We downloaded every one of his followers using Simply Measured Pro or SocialBro Pro level account.
2. We sorted these followers in Excel by “Listed”, by “Klout Score” or “Kred Score“, and by “Time Zone”.
3. We Filtered these followers’ bios with specific keywords to narrow the scope.
4. We discovered more of these followers’ social links via Klout and FlipTop.
5. We discovered common keywords amongst these followers and researched other influencers surrounding
those keywords within Brandwatch. In this way, we built series of segmented leads lists based upon interest.
6. We then spent significant time listening to the current and ongoing conversations PLUS we studied the conversations in the past. We also made intelligent guesses about conversations from the Future via Recorded Future.
7. We created tweets to “test” the different lists via non-branded Twitter accounts, to see what types of content gains momentum and “purchase”.
8. We created every form of content at the Content Grid 2 to “test” the different lists via numerous communication channels, to see what types of content gains momentum and “purchase”.

SPECIFIC CAMPAIGN IDEAS BASED UPON THIS METHODOLOGY (crafted for the CURRENCY TRADING industry):

1. LINKEDIN COMPANY PAGE – MAKE IT A COMMUNITY (PRO CONNECTIONS): We would like to build out THE COMPANY LinkedIn company page. The idea is to target your updates, services and products on LinkedIn to specific market segments (decide on this from looking at the included spreadsheet of “Types”). We want to craft a message and a presence specific to agreed-upon audiences (“Types). If someone comes to your Company Page from the financial, legal, medical or marketing industry, we can customize the message to speak directly to him or her. We would need to set up a specific type of LinkedIn account to do this. Not only that, but we can create “click-through” banners at your LinkedIn page to entice the chosen target markets over to your website, sales page, commerce site or other social media sites. The goals is to make the COMPANY LinkedIn company page THE most interesting page about forex in LinkedIn. Bulk it out. Follow prospects in LinkedIn. Post regularly in LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a growing and HOT network. Be in the industry groups in LinkedIn and in the conversations in those groups. Start new groups around specific topics and invite prospects with large networks into those groups.

2. BECOME THE WIKIPEDIA OF FOREX & TRADING (EDUCATIONAL APPROACH): Let’s make you guys THE Wikipedia of the forex and trading Industry. When people feel a website is a true “go-to source” for information and answers, they’ll keep coming back—again and again and again. Think: BabyPips, TradingFloor, DailyFX. Become a true teacher (Wikipedia) within the forex industry. The golden rule of marketing is this: They ask, you answer. In other words, if a consumer has ever asked a question about forex, you should be answering it on the COMPANY website. And considering most industries have literally thousands of potential consumer questions, content should always be growing, evolving and added to. MahiFX is doing this very well on Quora, for example.

3. IN-THE-FLESH (PROSPECTING IN PERSON): Identify people in THE COMPANY to become “champions” around specific topics. Then assign them the task to spend 12 months simply meeting up with industry influencers in person. Some of the strongest online connections and relationships have developed because such “champions” took the time to connect in person. Either by organizing a “meetup” or “Tweetup” with a group, going to a conference (such as the recent http://ifxexpo.com/ ) where they knew the people they wanted to meet would be or even just connecting one-on-one through Skype. We highly recommend taking some of these online connections offline to make a deeper connection. As an example, the SVP of a leading social media monitoring solution personally emailed me when he was in NYC and asked to meet up, simply to shake hands and show what his company was doing. I started using his solution regularly after that. Be the first forex entity to actually meet its customers and prospects in person regularly and make the social marketing department a leader in this “in-the-flesh” personal revolution.

4. LIKE & FOLLOW YOUR CUSTOMERS AND PROSPECTS (SOCIAL MARKETING APPROACH): Instead of asking our consumers to like COMPANY on Facebook or to follow us on Twitter/LinkedIn, why don’t we start liking/following them? Most brands use Facebook as an extension of their traditional and mass-marketing initiatives. But what about following/liking and getting to know your customers/prospects personally. The social media department is the “human” side of the business and not just a reactive PR silo. Go out and forge relationship by following/liking/subscribing to your prospects. Then start answering their questions and participating in their discussions.

5. SPEND ON HOUR A DAY SIMPLY LISTENING (ON-GOING BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE WORK): Spend one hour every day simply listening to your customers/prospects AND these prospects will empower your business with knowledge about what your markets really want. Use BrandWatch to do this — it is THE best social media-monitoring tool. Also look into SocialBro, an up and coming Twitter service for discovering specific communities and individuals. This is crucial for your business to grow and achieve high customer satisfaction. Customers like businesses that listen and respond to them. Sun Chips, for example, returned to their old packaging after customers complained widely on the Internet that the new biodegradable packaging was too noisy. Be THE forex entity that is tapped into the latest trends in conversation AND THEN lead those conversations.

THE LINKEDIN LEAD-BUILDER MACHINE v1.0

The machine searches an Interest within LinkedIn. The machine discovers the largest locked group within this Interest group and gains access. The machine segments the members of this group by nation. The machine then creates a spreadsheet with Name, Bio, Email, Phone, Location, Company URL, Social Link 1, Social Link 2. The machine fills the name from individual LinkedIn profiles using the semi-automated functionality of LeadGrabber Pro. The machine fills the Bio from the brief description underneath the name in LinkedIn. The machine identifies the Company URL from the current place of employment of the individual. The machine uses eMail Verifier to match the Company URL with the name on the LinkedIn profile in various iterations until eMail Verifier states “Address is Valid”. The machine pulls the company phone number from the Contact page at the Company URL. The machine pulls the individual’s public LinkedIn profile. The machine searches within the Contact Info in LinkedIn for other URLs and social links associated with the individual. The machine then places a social link or URL in the Social Link 2 column.

Insights into problems and opportunities in your competitive marketplace: a process

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Your entity owns an existing community of customers and stakeholders. OR, your entity wants to build such a community. In addition, a core aspect of your business model appears to be up-selling these stakeholders to a variety of solutions your organization also owns. The challenge before you is to refine this model where it currently functions and then expand the model across the world. The following document outlines the exact process to be performed by The Socializers for you in achieving this goal.

RESULTS:
The most immediate action we can take for your organization: Audit and Analysis phases. The result of these phases will be:

1. Insights into problems and opportunities in your competitive marketplace AND in your current customer base.
2. Activation of further community building efforts, up-sell strategies and “how to make this thing run more efficiently” would emerge from these insights.

EXAMPLES:

As an example, let us say that your goal is to up-sell 100% of the stakeholders in your communities into one of your alternative offerings. Our work would show you where this is not happening, why it is not happening and how to make it happen. In addition, we can work with you to realize this 100%.

As a second example, let us say your goal is to discover alternative opportunities for up-selling your current stakeholders and want an audit of their public conversations as part of a planning process. We would deliver to you a system for staying on top of “the conversation” in your communities. The insights from these conversations would point towards add’l up-sell opportunities.

A PROCESS FOR COMPETITIVE RESEARCH, CUSTOMER RESEARCH AND CONTENT DEVELOPMENT:
An ideal sequence for discovering a community of influencers around a specific market niche and developing a related editorial calendar & media plan is as follows:

1. Gather the latest industry trade publications for your niche(s) and read these cover to cover. Discover these trade publications by interviewing a leader in the industry and through research.

2. Note down vendors, service providers, advertisers, authors, journalists, and products currently targeting your niche(s).

3. Look within these publications for a Top 100 list of companies, individuals and products/services (specifically targeting your niche(s), again).

4. Create a spreadsheet of these trade publications and Top 100 lists.

5. Discover the Twitter accounts of these Top 100 and other thought-leaders discovered in the trade publications. An easy way to do this is to type the name of the influencer + Twitter into Google. Or search in the Twitter search field. You can also go the websites of these entities and see if there is a Twitter link at the website.

6. Use a solution that delivers a spreadsheet of all followers of a specific Twitter user, such as Simply Measured or Social Bro. We will download the followers of every influencer we have identified in this initial research phase.

7. Use the Sort function in Excel to sort the list of followers by Klout or Kred.

8. Create a 2nd copy and sort by Listed.

9. Use the Filter function in Excel to further narrow these sheets by specific industry-related keywords within the Description (Bio) column.

10. Use the Filter function in Excel to narrow by Location.

11. Combine the filtered results from whatever setting is important to your research question from each sheet into one “Master” Excel workbook.

12. Rank the entities in this workbook by Klout/Kred AND by Listed to indicate global awareness and influence scoring.

13. Ideally, we will narrow this massive Master list to 1000 core influencers. Now, we will download the Simply Measured Klout Audience Analysis for every single one of these influencers (thought-leaders). Go through the exact same Sorting and Filtering process and combine into a second Master list (this will be much larger). Now we will have two concentric rings of influence we are able to connect to through content-marketing, direct-marketing or other selling strategies.

14. Take this work further by creating a data-set called “The Core List” in which we reveal core information for each of the 1000 core influencers: their bio from LinkedIn, all of their social links (find these through their Klout profile and further research, their top 100 influential followers within that specific market niche and their contact info (phone, email, address).

15. Now we are ready to study this core list and know who is leading the conversation in our market niche. Take the time we need to listen to each influencer and jot down observations on what they are saying and working on. Use a leading social monitoring tool, such as Brandwatch, Radian6 or Sysomos to augment your listening. Also, use SpotRight and Reunify technology to glean deep insight AND flesh out the very large prospect lists we develop.

16. Create a list of 10-20 questions for the top 1000 influencers in “The Core List” and send this to them via email. This is our focus group/survey for the market niche and will give you invaluable insight. (Ideally, we are looking for the key products, hooks and trends in what is guiding the stakeholders’ buying habits. We want to hook every single one of these stakeholders who HAVE NOT bought from us yet).

17. Create a two-page executive summary for leadership on our observations. Add, as an appendix, all of the data organized by location, relevant social links discovered via listening, and metrics/statistics for the industry. This report, if concisely written and properly documented using best-practice research techniques, will be THE most comprehensive ever done on social influencers guiding the buying choices of your niche(s). NOTE: numerous studies show that 70% of the buyer’s decision process is done through online and peer-to-peer research currently. We are studying what these stakeholders are looking at and where they are congregating…who is influencing them.

18. Upon discussing this report with leadership, create an Editorial Calendar with channel-specific ideas related to the industry. This Editorial Calendar ought to include specific marketing actions, online & offline channels for marketing and industry-specific publications in which to publish material.

19. In addition, create a Media Plan for targeting regions, online channels and audience sizes. This plan will inform our media spend.

20. Create ALL of the recommended content pieces (these content pieces are delivered into the social streams of our influencers and by direct contact on a daily and even hourly basis, so as to saturate our market with smart, insightful content “hooks”. We want to rule the content space. NOTE: many of these pieces will come through our brand ambassadors and influential allies).

21. Metrics on performance will be secured through online metric measurement tools.

22. Our success in the process above will inform how we utilize more sophisticated social graph technologies that we have access to. These technologies hover over complete national databases rich with data on our customer. We want to only use these tools AFTER performing the steps above so that our costs are kept down and so that efficiency is forefront.

How Storytellers transformed the psyche of Athens

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.

How Analysts Deliver Meaningful Actions to Stakeholders

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.

Customer First Yields Success Over and Over Again

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.

Social Business Intelligence Advance #4

The business intelligence solution that marketers want is the following: a cloud-based service that is comprehensively analyzing in real-time networks of regular customers AND matching these customers (and their friends) to upcoming deals specific to past purchases. For instance, if Amazon were to fully integrate its data with Facebook’s data, a profound level of matching would become possible. Senior leadership within major FMCG and retail entities should be actively cultivating technical vendors and in-house technicians to achieve this type of customer intelligence solution.