In my dreams Scrooge’s old partner, Jacob Marley, came knocking on my door. He told me a story about how some of today’s brands will be visited by the Ghosts if they don’t change their ways. This is the story he told me. He reminded me that when the Ghost of Christmas Past took Scrooge back to his time as a schoolboy Scrooge remembers how his father abandoned him at his boarding school. Scrooge did not know how to socialize because he never experienced meaningful social relationships.
Later the ghost shows Scrooge how his success in business made him believe he had all the answers and what he had always done was the only way. Marley told me that Scrooge was like some brands that have become set in their ways. He said that if they do not see that they are part of a changing community where the social rules are evolving, they will be abandoned. Next the Ghost of Christmas Present visits and shows him the full social life and happiness of his nephew's family.
They have a young son (Tiny Tim) who can’t walk but they still manage to live happily on what little Scrooge pays them. Scrooge asks the Ghost if Tiny Tim will die. The Ghost tells him that if they can’t get money to get Tiny Tim strong, he will die. Marley told me that some brands are like Tiny Tim. That their social identity is ill formed, unstable and needs to be developed and nurtured. He said that they can find long lasting success and happiness but if they continue to ignore and underfund their social growth, it would be their undoing. Lastly, the Ghost of Christmas Present shows Scrooge that Tiny Tim has died, leaving the entire family in mourning.
Scrooge dies alone with nothing but his old view of the world and possessions intact. Scrooge cries over his own grave, begging the ghost for a chance to change his ways before awakening to find it is Christmas morning and realizes he can still change. Marley reminded me that it is Christmas morning for many brands and asked me to spread this word. That Marley’s story of salvation is about the awakening of brands to the core tenets of social human nature. That they should align with a spirit of personal meaning and human connection as it relates to their brand. He said to focus on the value of your brand aligned with what it does for others. Figure out how to communicate to express your thankfulness for being able to help. Reveal an attitude, a spirit filled with kindness, wonder and gratitude. Express your brand purpose clearly; communicate your true value as a brand in a humanly meaningful way.
Figure out ways to flex your brand, expand the meaning of your brand, so that your value is displayed with a charged spirit. Don't talk about yourself. Remind people of the good in themselves, the good they can do, the good you help them do and that we do together. Connect with people… make people feel like talking about you. Use facebook, twitter, LinkedIn and all your social tools to spread helpful messages relevant to your business. Let other people comment upon your goods and services and motivate them to talk about how you help people. Reveal how people are helping other people with your product.
Use geo location to help people where they are. Use mobile to send messages of assistance, safe travels and timely offers . Use GroupOn in a way that feels like you are giving back. Really think and act social. Remember, Marley said, this is about making real human connection and building long-term relationships. He let me know that Tiny Tim is now Big Tim and has 2,381 friends on facebook, is the mayor of Walmart and is tweeting everyone he loves your competition.