I’ve always thought and said that B2C and B2B communications are just stupid, but no one ever listened to me or took me seriously because “what would I know? I was only a university student, an intern, I knew nothing about real life and real work”. LOL.
So, here’s the deal. I am not a student anymore, so, you can take me seriously now. I know better and you should know better too. I may not be an experienced marketer (in chronological terms) but I do have a way with people and with communications.
So, we’re living in the age of Social Media, the so called Age of Information, Age of Collaboration, however you’d like to call it, it only has one meaning: Social Media is the age of People, the age of humans. What does this mean? Well, basically thatPeople are in control of pretty much EVERYTHING.
This is not new and I frankly don’t understand why isn’t every company applying this to their communication strategy. Every company, every brand now has to realize that the only way of getting through this change of Era and of being sustainable in the long term is humanizing (and every company manager should totally worry about learning how to use Social Media, please do).
We’re not longer talking about a company or a brand that is out of people’s reach. We’re not longer talking about an untouchable, Godish brand. Brands and companies are now -and have to be- human beings. They must have a personality, feelings, beliefs, human voices. And so has to be the way they communicate with others. We’re not longer talking about a company that just communicates with other companies, or a company that communicates only with a client. We’re talking about humans who communicate with other humans. Indistinguishable.
What Social Media has done with communications is nothing but humanizing it, creating closer relationships. It has taken every brand and company that was before up there in the clouds, unreachable, and has brought them to earth. It has turned them into mortals (and they hate it). And surely they can be killed by people’s opinion. People now have the power of killing a company just by what they say about it. A trillion dollar company is so mortal now that it can be killed by a 140-character tweet, by a Facebook post, by a 30sec Youtube video gone viral. They’re THAT weak. And it’s very important that they’re aware of that. And it’s very important that people are aware of that, too. (Who are the gods now?)
The concept of corporate communications as known before is already gone. It doesn’t work anymore. Please, I beg CCMs (corporate comms managers) not to waste their time trying to sound godish or unbreakable anymore. It’s ok, if you’re human now you’re allowed to make mistakes. People make mistakes all the time, and it’s ok to say “I’m sorry”. There’s no shame on that (unless you’ve been really bad, which some of you have… so some of you should really worry about cleaning up your mess).
Human beings are social, and social people need to feel emotionally attached to something in order to be loyal, to love it. Human beings need to feel understood. They need to feel secure, part of something. Hey, check on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. One can’t truly love something that doesn’t feel like oneself. And this affects the concept of Marketing, directly. The needs of Marketing have changed and marketers have to change with it. It has evolved, in my opinion, into a very natural and intuitive thing. And thinking that way, it should be easier now, shouldn’t it?
Well, not really. Now it comes the thing that worries me the most. Marketing has changed into a very human thing, and it should, theoretically, be natural and easy for us -human marketers- to understand it. But I’ve found that it isn’t that way for everyone. Actually, Marketing has never ever before been so complex. Marketers have never struggled so much to understand their clients’ needs. Marketers have never failed so much before. And what does this mean? Why is it so hard for people to communicate like humans, like people? Why was it just easier pretending to be unreachable-wannabe-gods?
I think I have the answer. As in every human relationship, people fear failure, they fear criticism, and people can’t predict what is going to cross other people’s minds. It’s like being involved in a million different love relationships and having to handle and face them all. It’s like having to listen to your million boyfriends or girlfriends complaining about you did wrong. It sucks, but it has to be done and it’s a great challenge -exciting for some of us-. People hate feeling vulnerable. People behind brands and companies are now out of their comfort zones. They’re obliged to put away their godish masks and forced to behave humanly. And it seems to me that this is so difficult for some of them because at the end, some humans fear to be humans.
This is something to think about…