As a Chief Inspirator perhaps I am qualified to speak on this subject. I use LinkedIn and Twitter (@InnoFuture) to surround myself with inspirational people, with diverse knowledge from diverse backgrounds, and their 140-character thoughts.
Just yesterday, Alex Osterwalder, author of ‘Business Model Generation’, posed this question on Twitter: “What’s your ONE word (business) equity?” meaning: What word comes to mind when people think about your company?
Pretty important answer to have! Don’t you think?
I think that inspiration is essential to business performance: legendary customer service, value building productivity, innovation. None of these can be simply achieved through the old ‘command and control’ system. Today, more than ever, brand equity must be built from within with the same level of commitment as external marketing.
Check out this two minute video on our home page to understand how InnoFuture helps companies build the brand from within.
But I am not alone in this. Some time ago I spoke with Saul Kaplan, Founder of the Business Model Factory on this very subject: about inspiration, storytelling and how to create ‘equity’ you actually want. Hear the snippets of this conversation in the short videos below.
Where Inspiration comes from
Saul: “If you are going to transform anything, it has to be based on inspiration and tapping into passions of people and stakeholders around the organisation. Leadership challenge of the 21st century is tapping into people’s passions – so that people can be their best “self’s”, so that they can deliver value to the organisation and value to the customers”.
Saul and I agree that most organisations today are equipped for external communication, to win customers. They neglect to ‘sell’ the brand message to their employees first.
Saul: “We think about brand message in traditional ways – as it being the domain of Marketing and PR department, and that it is only important to communicate it to Customers. Storytelling and building the brand is every body’s responsibility. The role of a Leader is to encourage everybody in the organisation to feel passionate about what the organisation is trying to do, to share it openly and freely with their networks, and to engage people in the story of the organisation”.
Building an army of brand evangelists
People, when they are passionate about the story will share it with their networks – but in their own individual ways. So, organisations, that don’t clearly communicate an authentic message and don’t live the values of the brand; i.e. don’t have their house in order, fear the impact of such conversations and try to block access to Social Medial.
But, authentic stories help brands succeed. They build ‘following’ and help bring customers closer to your brand. Employees can be an integral part of your Marketing and PR, making marketing cheaper and sales more profitable.
In the age of Social Networks all organisations need to develop Trust. They must be able to trust that employees with tell the ‘right’ story.
But it is not a question of hope. What will be told ultimately depends on a conscious effort to build the brand from within.
It starts with Leaders telling the story – frequently and consistently – communicating an inspiring Vision and clear, practical Mission. InnoFuture’s Blueprint for Productivity and Innovation provides a process to do just that.
So, to answer the question, inspiration in business comes from an inspiring goal and clear guidelines that provide ‘freedom within framework’. When this is passionately communicated to the employees, it improves productivity and competitiveness of the organisations and builds an army of brand evangelists.
Leaders need to become evangelists and coaches for their employees – to give them reason to also evangelise the brand and coach them how.
By the way, my answer to Alex Osterwalders’ question was: Business Inspiration.[button text=”Enquire About Blueprint for Productivity” title=”Cool Button” url=”http://www.innofuture.com.au/” align=”center”]
InnoFuture provides innovative business culture transformation services to progressive, Small-Medium organisations. You can request an appointment for a Free Consultation online Blueprint for Productivity or contact Margaret Manson on 0407 661 130 to find out how we can help your organisation be more focused, more differentiating and more competitive.