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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Age Of Conversation - A Slice On Connection

Meet Curious George.

He's our official The Age of Conversation mascot and his world tour has just gotten started. Steve Woodruff, Tour Director, describes it in more detail in Get Curious World Tour - George Is Floored! after handing George off to me in person!

In fact, George and the hand off from Steve capture the essence of The Age of Conversation and the next slice that I focus on here: Connection.

We live increasingly harried lives, leaving little time to connect with others. When we do connect, because of children or workplace, the connections tend to be very closely focused on an end goal [make it through the birthday party; complete the project...].

What social media - and in this case blogs - enable is connection based on shared interests in the most efficient manner possible. [For more on connection efficiency, listen to Diva Marketing's interview on IndieHotlier as described in Hotels, Hospitality and Social Media.]

When you meet someone whose blog you are familiar with, it's as if you were immediately walking into his or her living room [to use the Diva's imagery] to continue a conversation, rather than start one from scratch. That's exactly what Steve and I experienced!

Same goes for George as he immediately got into the act with his 'Big George' sandwich. He was rather hungry after the first stop on his world tour....

As it relates, then, to connection, consider the following authors and their chapters from The Age of Conversation book:

Cam Beck writes about "Getting Past the Conversation Bottleneck" urging us to connect beyond the overly familiar.

David Brazeal describes "Conversation and the Crumbling Wall Between Journalism and PR." It's exciting "because the online conversation gives ... the opportunity to interact with people, build rapport and establish trust."

Katie Chatfield asks that we prepare for "Branded Communitainment." After all, "the brand's role is to host a get-together." I like the sound of that!

Tony D. Clark says that "Brevity and Levity -- Key Spices in the Conversation Soup." Absolutely relevant, particularly if you agree with Katie.

Mack Collier urges us to better understand our customers by "Breaking Marketing Barriers from the Top of a Harley." I can't think of a better example than Harley-Davidson for building connections and communities.

Mark Earls says "'We' not 'I' -- the Human Truths Revealed by The Age of Conversation." More specifically, "What the new connectedness that technology has really done is reveal human nature more clearly, more fully, and more usefully."

Sean Howard visually captures "Disconnection from Community in Our Real World Lives." Yes, it can lead to disconnection from Community, but it can also go in the opposite direction.

Lori Magno offers an invitation to "Speak to Me TJX." Indeed, isn't it preposterous that retail establishments - so willing to take our money and lots of our data - can't figure out how to connect directly with us? [Note the Important Customer Alert on the TJX page.]

David Reich promotes "Conversation - The Ultimate Customer Service." It's the answer to Lori's invitation. I wonder which organizations will seize this opportunity?

Greg Verdino asks "Have You Hugged a Blogger Today?" with a reminder that "digital and analogue conversations are two parts of the same whole."

Steve Woodruff writes about "The Lowered Fence of Collaboration" which our hand off absolutely captured. And, yes, we hugged.

Here, you see George during the hand off, and right before I packed him off to Steve Roesler. Note that during his visit with me, he acquired his own copy of The Age of Conversation, and an "AoC" brand on his hat.

As you think about your own customer relationships, how do you go about connecting with the people in your community? Are you open to trying out new ways of connecting and building relationship?

When you read through The Age Of Conversation, you will be struck by how much what your customers value has changed. The means exist for connecting, if you listen to your customers.

Although George's tour has only just begun, I'm amazed at how old approaches like George [e.g., a stuffed animal being handed off from person to person via the traditional postal system] can strengthen bonds developed via new approaches like blogs.

That tells me that the best of the new world of web 2.0 truly represents a combination of the old and the new. It enables powerful connection. So, then, what is your George?

I hope you've purchased The Age of Conversation. Don't wait too long or you'll miss out on profound learnings. And, remember that it's for a great cause, our children!

Previous posts relating to The Age Of Conversation:
+ A Slice From The Age Of Conversation
+ The Age of Conversation - Now Available
+The Conversation Age - Enabled

Note: Matt Dickman will be tracking George's progress as he makes his way to all 103 authors of The Age of Conversation!

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