Parea: (Gr.) A Parea in Greek culture is a group of friends who regularly gather together to share their experiences about life, their philosophies, values and ideas. The Parea is really a venue for the growth of the human spirit, the development of friendships and the exploration of ideas to enrich our quality of life that is all too brief in time. In Greece, the Parea is a long-lasting circle and cycle of life nourished by the people who participate.
Greece is a microcosm of the world. As it has done for thousands of years, Greece distills the issues, the problems and the ecstasies of humanity into pithy statements, artwork and experience. You only have to stay up all night on a Friday buried in political conversation with family and friends AND THEN all night on Saturday night with one’s parea dancing and singing to understand this truth.
A Greek is ALREADY at the heart of things, ALREADY in his/her very flesh at the core of history AND the human experience, ALREADY aware of how lives sequence. A Greek is aware THROUGH FEELING what has, is and will occur. A roomful of Greeks can sit and purely through eyes, through sensations in the throat, chest and stomach know the truth. A Greek lives IN the truth every moment AND THEN must decide what serves the situation AND his or her parea.
In June of this year, I shared with Greek marketing leadership how brands and private companies could foment a REVOLUTION of GENEROSITY through CONTESTS, REWARDS, DISCOUNTS and GIFTS. This kind of revolution inspires trust in the consumer and creates a real, living community around a brand. Greece already has a rich history of giving and receiving. Its very music, its stories, and certainly its philosophy form the foundation of Western thought and society. To welcome a consumer into the parea of a brand, into the formation of its future, is what needs to happen in this country.
As leaders at Greek companies face TOUGH decisions about rising prices and taxes and how to please and retain their customers, I suggest a path of Hospitality to the Greek. There is no better customer of the Greek than the Greek himself. Therefore, let private enterprise do the opposite of what the public system has done…let each brand be as a human to the humans around it and give to the people during what could be Greece’s harshest season yet during these tragic times.
GATHERING OF THE PEOPLE – LATE SEPTEMBER 2010 IN DOWNTOWN ATHENS, GREECE
THIS VENDOR KNOWS WHAT IT MEANS TO BE WITH THE PEOPLE
Brands which humanize WILL win in this environment. Brands that do not will lose. As my good friend Ali Valdez, a leader for many years at Microsoft, says, “Their customers will be their marketers. Their customers’ social network friends will be their new customers. Full transparency, good and bad, will drive innovation and competitive pricing. The consumer will win. Those brands that enable consumer victory will share in the bounty.” Charlene Li, in her new book Open Leadership, posits the benefit of being a “Realist Optimist, (one who) is the most powerful and effective of the open leader archetypes, somebody who can see the benefits of being open but also understands the barriers.” Brian Solis, author of Engage, writes, “In order for social media to mutually benefit you and your customers, you must engage them in meaningful and advantageous conversations, empowering them as true participants in your marketing and service efforts.”
CHARLENE LI AND BRIAN SOLIS DISCUSSING OPEN LEADERSHIP ON SOLIS TV
Brands, and the agencies who advise those brands, must recognize the living nature of what it means to be a brand. Brands with heart will win and those without a heart will lose in the coming months. GREEK brands must learn more about CROWDSOURCING and the very real examples of how this phenomenon (φαινόμενoν) is rapidly changing the world and how brands interact with customers.
WHAT GREEK BRANDS MUST DO THIS AUTUMN: The following slides demonstrate what Greek brands must do NOW!