Why leading a ‘connected life’ will do wonders for your business & career

Connected Life

I write often about connected brands — these are businesses or nonprofit organisations, large and small — that understand how today’s socially driven connection economy works.

In essence, these brands — or more correctly, the people behind them — are switched on and plugged in to the marketplace or community in which they operate.

Rather than continually interrupt people with their overtly promotional one-way message, they understand the role they play in society and that connecting with people — their core target audience groups — is way better than pitching to them all the time.

Examples of these include Buffer, Bellroy and The Goulet Pen Company.

My Connected Brand philosophy goes something like this:

  • Connect with the people who matter most to the success of your business, cause or issue.
  • Contribute value to them over and above your products and services.
  • Cultivate relationships with the people who already like and trust your organisation — the advocates, supporters and enthusiasts of your brand (versus channeling all your energies into signing up new prospective customers).
  • Collaborate with like-minded brands with similar audiences in order to bring greater value to the table.

Much of the above four ‘Cs’ can be achieved through the ongoing provision of useful and relevant content, real and authentic conversations with consumers and the people who influence them, as well as building a sense of community around your brand.

Only then are you in a better position to issue a commercial call-to-action (whatever that call-to-action might be) because people already recognise who you are and what you stand for and, to varying degrees, are vested in your brand story.

Being a connected person helps to build your personal brand too

This whole notion of building (and deepening) the level of connection a brand has with the public is not confined to businesses or nonprofit organisations however.

People — professional individuals — can also adopt a similar philosophy by actively developing and nurturing the level of connection they have with the community in which they live and/or operate in professionally.

I take note of such people, and I know others do too. Why?

  • They are interesting as well as interested in others. It’s not just about them and what they can get out of a certain situation.
  • They have passions in and around the work that they do, and their enthusiasm and curiosity can be contagious.
  • They’re socially connected, both online and off, and actively use social channels to not only share thoughts and ideas with the virtual community, but also shine the spotlight on other people and the causes they represent.
  • They understand the power of content and how telling stories and publishing insights, useful information and thoughtful perspectives on topics they have deep knowledge of can be helpful to others.
  • They get involved in industry and community events, whether from an organisational or participatory perspective, and are forever coming up with interesting ideas for learning initiatives that involve other like-minded people.

People like this are great to hang with because they make the world go round

  • They make awesome employees or bosses, and they’re fantastic to partner with on projects.
  • They’re active in groups — in-person or virtual — and are forever connecting like-minds so both parties can benefit from knowing one another.
  • In short, they bring a lot of value to the table. They give relentlessly to their community without the expectation of getting anything in return.

Of course, such generosity and enthusiasm often does bring rewards over time, whether they’re sought or not.

Benefits include:

  • a large and connected network of friends, supporters and advocates
  • increased levels of influence in the community or industry in which you operate
  • more opportunities to connect with people from outside your own professional eco-system
  • be part of interesting projects and initiatives
  • and to do work that matters.

Which are all good things.

However, be aware that becoming a connected professional takes time, effort and sacrifice.

Do it for the right reasons and positive things will flow your way.

It’s called the ‘Law of Reciprocity’, and it’s a powerful thing to have working in your favour.

Gavin Heaton gets this. So too does Joanne Jacobs, Stanley Johnson, Darrel Griffin, Adam Franklin, Jennifer Frahm, and Mark Masters from The ID Group in England.


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