brian solis

Hospitable Brands: Listening, Strategy and Action

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.



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.”


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!

HEALING THE ECO-SYSTEM AND THE HUMAN SOUL: How Transmodern Leaders And Social Strategists Gave Golden Keys To The Most Valuable Online Community And Set Them Free To Usher In a New World

“If you had time, you succeeded in working the human mud internally and turning it into spirit.”— Nikos Kazantzakis

“You have your brush, you have your colors, you paint the paradise, then in you go. ”
— Nikos Kazantzakis

INDIVIDUALS ARE DROPPING INTO SOCIAL NETWORKS LIKE DEWDROPS INTO THE SEA: Social networks are a dynamic eco-system of individual minds, isolated communities and seemingly opposed ideologies melding into an increasingly ripened spiritual entity.

The whole of humanity is in a process of realizing the fantastic truth of Oneness, of what it means to be separate AND one, of that famous Buddhist saying about dropping like dew drops into the sea. Producing intelligence reports for major brands and media projects using listening AND social monitoring tools, I have regular experiences of seeing this phenomenon occurring over and over within multiple online communities.

AN EXTREMELY VALUABLE ONLINE COMMUNITY – THE CULTURAL CREATIVES: I am currently working on projects for a major film, e-commerce platform, several media-conglomerates, global dance collective and several luminaries who all market to/live within the Cultural Creative tribe. A defining characteristic of Cultural Creatives is the ability to see oneself as part of something bigger. CC’s see that everything relates as an interwoven piece of nature. The movement is a healing movement. A core desire amongst CC’s is for things to be made whole and for mankind to wake up to their true desires. The core values of Cultural Creatives include:

▪ Authenticity, actions must be consistent with words and beliefs
▪ Engaged action and whole process learning; seeing the world as interwoven and connected
▪ Idealism and activism
▪ Globalism and ecology
▪ The importance of women

THE COMMUNITY WITH GREATEST POTENTIAL IN THE SOCIAL FABRIC OF THE WEB:It is my firm belief that no community has more potential to activate the social web spiritually than the Cultural Creatives. I will say it again: leaders of the various sub-cultures within the Cultural Creative movement ARE the movers and shakers when it comes to being Innerpreneurs, those who capitalize on the soul of humanity.

THE GOLDEN KEYS TO THE CULTURAL CREATIVES: One of the most amazing words in internet marketing is “keyword” or “keyphrase.” As I have worked this week to produce a list of the top keywords or keyphrases for the Cultural Creatives and their various sub-cultures AND thought about their potential to potentiate global spiritual revolution and activism, I am realizing that these words are golden keys…keys to open vaults of spiritual material within this swiftly forming global Homo Universalis or Collective Polymath.

In keeping with this, some of the TOP “GOLDEN KEYS” to the Cultural Creative wealth (ACCORDING TO global monthly search volume) include:

Family (37,200,000)
Secret (16,600,000)
Crystal (11,100,000)
Therapy (7,480,000)
Yoga (7,480,000)
environment (5,000,000)
psychology (5,000,000)
stress (5,000,000)
relationship (4,090,000)
success (3,350,000)
motivation (2,740,000)
counseling (2,740,000)
wealth (1,500,000)
the secret (1,500,000)
meditation (1,500,000)
spiritual (1,220,000)
inspiration (823,000)
home health (673,000

HOW TO USE THE GOLDEN KEYS (KEYWORDS) TO ACCESS THE HEART OF A COMMUNITY: One of the world’s foremost social community and strategy architects, Brian Solis, writes, “Gathering intelligence to inspire meaningful and actionable social programs is priceless.” Every golden key above contains etymological, mythological, cultural and personal significance.

To create “meaningful and actionable social programs” a social marketer should consider delving into each of these disciplines AS A MEANS OF UNPACKING THE SECRET OF EACH KEYWORD AND KEYPHRASE. For a social strategy to find its seed in a set of keywords with HUGE POTENCY is the equivalent of possessing Jack’s magic beans that led to the giant’s castle in the clouds. Use keyphrases, their meanings and their histories to inform your understanding of the living quality of the WORD, the COMMUNITY, and the OVER-ARCHING CAMPAIGN PHILOSOPHY. At the root of every word, there is a god or deity…a living and breathing presence. Understanding words AS living and breathing presences transforms keywords from plain data into VIBRANT DATA, DATA WITH VITALITY!


To find an overarching philosophy for guiding an online social campaign, I suggest discovering THROUGH the keyphrases KEY INFLUENCERS and studying their root philosophies. Since the MOST COMMON theme for Cultural Creatives IS weaving community together and holistic practices in all disciplines, I submit that a person who captures the essence of WEAVING THE HEARTS OF THE WORLD TOGETHER could be a perfect informer of a CULTURAL CREATIVE strategy.

A LEADER FROM THE FUTURE IN OUR MIDST: Ziauddin Sardar, perhaps one of the world’s greatest living Polymaths (Renaissance Person), has said ‘there is more than one way to be human’. He writes ‘I do not regard “the human” either as “the” or as a priori given’. ‘The western way of being human is one amongst many. Similarly, the Islamic way of being human is also one amongst many. The Australian aboriginal way of being human is also another way of being human. I see each culture as a complete universe with its own way of knowing, being and doing – and hence, its own way of being human’. The corollary is that there are also different ways of knowing. The question that Sardar has always asked is: ‘how do you know? The answer depends a great deal on who ‘you’ are: ‘how you look at the world, how you shape your inquiry, the period and culture that shapes your outlook and the values that frame how you think’. (Source)

Sadar is from a tribe of people known as the Transmodernists. As the social web enters a season of vigorous competition in the Transmedia space, bringing multiple technologies, software platforms and “walled gardens” (large AND separate communties like Facebook, MySpace, AOL and Yahoo) together, philosophers who speak like Sardar speaks will be increasingly relevant. The programmers and software developers who can weave Transmodernist philosophy into their conceptual process WILL win in today’s pluralistic world.


Paul H. Ray’s summary of Transmodern culture informs a process, as follows:


KEYWORD is ENVIRONMENT: Ecological sustainability, beyond environmentalism: If you can name an aspect of ecology and sustainability, they are emphatically for it, and are leading the way. Cultural Creatives demonstrate awareness of a large range of issues, including wanting to rebuild neighborhoods and communities, ecological sustainability and limits to growth, seeing nature as sacred, wanting to stop corporate polluters, being anti-big-business, wanting voluntary simplicity, being willing to pay to clean up the environment and to stop global warming.

KEYWORD is RELATIONSHIP: Globalism: Two of the top values for Cultural Creatives are xenophilism (love of travel to foreign places, of foreigners and the exotic) and ecological sustainability, which strongly includes concern for the planetary ecology and stewardship, and population problems.

KEYWORDS are WOMEN and FAMILY: Feminism, women’s issues, relationships, family: The fact that Cultural Creatives are 60 percent women is a major key to understanding this subculture. Much of the focus on women’s issues in politics comes from them-including concerns about violence and abuse of women and children, desire to rebuild neighborhoods and community, desire to improve caring relationships, and concerns about family (though they are no more family-oriented than most North Americans, it is near the top in their list of values).

KEYWORDS include SPIRITUAL, PSYCHOLOGY, HOME HEALTH: Altruism, self-actualization, alternative health care, spirituality and spiritual psychology: This is a complex of highly interrelated beliefs and values centered on the inner life. In reality, this is a new sense of the sacred that incorporates personal growth psychology and the spiritual and service to others as all one orientation. It also includes a stronger trend toward holistic health and alternative health care as part of this complex.

KEYWORDS include INSPIRATION, SUCCESS and MOTIVATION. Well-developed social conscience and social optimism: Contrary to some social critics, an emphasis on the personal does not exclude the political or social conscience, though individuals may focus on them in sequence. Cultural Creatives are engaged in the world just as much as in personal and spiritual issues. Rebuilding and healing society is related to healing ourselves, physically and spiritually. With that goes a guarded social optimism.


Discover media, products, in-the-flesh activities/meet-ups/events, and delivery platforms currently used by these communties and AGGREGATE this content/software THUS harnessing ALL that this community is. THEN conceive and run contests and reward-based programs that DRIVE or ATTRACT this community toward the fulfillment of it’s “ULTIMATE GOALS”. Show through these contests how quick goals are being scored GLOBALLY and LOCALLY to achieve these bigger goals.


Announce the victories won and capitalize on these wins through positive PR and by raising up new leaders to foment successive, community-sourced campaigns. Community-sourced EVERYTHING is a HUGE aspect of the social web and knowing what your community’s NEED is the MARK of good leadership.


           a. KickStarter
           b. Giveo
           c. Kiva
           d. 8 Funding Contests for Jumpstarting your Big Idea!

REVOLUTION OF THE HEART: The friendly people of the world are weaving humanity together!

THE FRIENDLY PEOPLE of the world are weaving humanity together through social networks towards an end(s) none of us can see as yet.

It’s one of the MOST fantastic revolutions the planet has EVER seen. Within the social fabric of the internet humans have a distinct opportunity to turn the earth into a place of peace and unity. In fact, even the naysayers have united with the lovers in this by participation in social networks.

BRAND HUMANIZATION IS EVIDENCE OF THE REVOLUTION OF LOVE! In an attempt to humanize, brands are getting very creative in reaching the hearts of their followers.

See the following two ads for an example!

THE PEACEFUL BEAR AD: (click here to watch)


Typically in times of crisis the masculine goes into a fight or flight action. BUT NOW, the individual is FIGHTING FOR and FLYING TO the tribe(s) and circles oriented around his/her HEART! Go to your tribe today and fight with them to weave this world together with your contribution. Do it! Do that REVOLUTION OF THE HEART!Remember those great ads where everyone sang together while drinking their favorite cola?

FURNISH IT WITH LOVE! (click here to watch)

YOUR SOCIAL GRAPH IS FURNISHED WITH LOVE AND YOU DID THAT! In your social network, you now have all the characters you need to achieve what you are looking for AND there is no time better than the present to begin and FINISH!

For aid in how to hurdle typical obtacles I highly recommend ShipIt by Seth Godin!

As one of my dearest friends says, “Bushido! Do it now because the time is right!” It is a revolution of the heart that is afoot!

The year Oprah leveraged her audience as hosts for maximum profit

By Nathaniel Hansen (dedicated to Terri Plewa, one of the planet’s most exciting and rising webutantes)

Gathering intelligence to inspire meaningful and actionable social programs is priceless. ~Brian Solis

Crowd-sourced content sprinkled with fairie-dust by expert producers will find its way via social-intelligence experts to decision-makers within global brands seeking top-of-mind status updates characterized by organic virality. This is the wave of the future and it is called TRANSMEDIA: a brand (advertiser/sponsor), a cause (giving back), an audience/tribe (customer) and their beloved content (the soul of the community), all wrapped up in online communities designed to facilitate a blend of virtual and physical interaction — the archetypes ruling each of these tribes require pro-creation on all levels AND digital-media midwifes mind-children by the billions every day.

The opportunity in the social fabric of the internet is to access deep need via listening tools and deliver heart-fare direct from niche-specific content producers direct to audience members accompanied by messaging from that tribe members’ favorite brands. This is what Saatchi + Saatchi identified when they came up with Lovemarks vs. Trademarks AND it is what GoogleTV will be selling advertisers on by the droves through the coming 24 months.

Colin Donald, of FUTURESCAPE.TV writes, “Facebook and Twitter buzz affects TV ratings, while broadcasters that use the social networks for viewer engagement are effectively sharing their audiences with them. The social networks know in real time how people react to TV programming – this is an essential supplement to Nielsen-type viewing data.”

Developing content that matches at the location where audiences are trending in their interests is THE most forward thinking activity by marketers currently AND the social fabric of the internet gives us real-time intelligence on this. Social monitoring tools combined with temporal analytics tools offer strategists opportunities in this area.

YOU are the next Oprah!

And Oprah should show the world this via her new cable network, stepping aside to allow 100 hosts and hostesses to lead her shows. She should crowd-source her content AND advertisers using social intelligence gathering and acknowledging the dynamic movement of attention and related influence. Those around her who only understand the old methods of marketing will fall away and those around her who get how audiences gather around content will ascend. Her new media channels will be a template for how GoogleTV operates and she may become the tribal leader of TRANSMEDIA.

Of course, Oprah’s media advisors may not do what I just wrote about…which will open the door for a competitor of hers to overtake her in multi-tribe and brand loyalty. An intelligent Director of Strategy for Oprah’s new cable channel would not raise the cost of the network BUT would rather show Oprah how the cost may be cut in half or more through intelligent useage of free/inexpensive third party tools and solutions.

A perfect example of how advisors take from wealthy leaders may be seen in the recent building of Jack Canfield’s personal social network at GREAT COST to Canfield Companies by advisors focused more on money than practical and, quite honestly, more effective FREE delivery.

More money needs to go toward effective Chief Customer Officers, brand ambassadors and social intelligence officers than fancy “custom” tech that ALREADY has a FREE and proven counterpart.