Let’s first ask the question, ” What Is A Brand?”.
It’s not a Logo , it’s not a Name….a brand is a series of expectations that people have of your product or service, based on the promises you’ve made.
Using that as the definition of a brand, answering the question of what happened to Target’s Brand in Canada, it was broken from the moment they opened their doors. They didn’t keep their promises, lower prices, more selection, and so on.
They broke their promises, and now they are closing 133 stores in Canada….why? Because you didn’t trust them when they said they would make good on their promises. You had a bad experience with Target Canada.
So what’s your businesses Brand? Have you gone the traditional Industrial Age way of thinking, where your brand is a logo or a name, and don’t really care, or have you decided to give your market positive experiences, based on the promises you kept, reflecting how much you do care. The later is the new connected business model, it’s open & it’s free….The Open & Free Business Model.
There it is…. the question, do you have business faith? That question leads me to the very core of your fear, the fear of what it means to be Open & Free. It ultimately means, you must trust the people formerly known as consumers. How do you do that, how do you trust people you may never know on a personal level? And what does faith mean to you?
Faith is described in the dictionary, as taken from http://dictionary.reference.com:
1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another’s ability.
2. belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.
3. belief in god or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.
4. belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.
5. a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.
6. the obligation of loyalty or fidelity to a person, promise, engagement, etc.: Failure to appear would be breaking faith.
7. the observance of this obligation; fidelity to one’s promise, oath, allegiance, etc.: He was the only one who proved his faith during our recent troubles.
8. Christian Theology . the trust in God and in His promises as made through Christ and the Scriptures by which humans are justified or saved.
The best description of faith (to me) is taken from the Bible: Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
I like that statement on faith for primarily one thing, it means we believe that something good is coming, something good will happen, and we want to hang on to that notion because it actually is a driving force within us.
If you didn’t have faith, why are you in business? You are in the business your in because you have hope, faith for a result better than what you have now. The Open & Free Business Model practices just that, it forces you the business owner to trust people, to have faith not only in them, but in yourself. We have a desired outcome in most everything we do, but we can’t see it physically, we do however see it as a vision, maybe what you might call a dream. My good friend Rick Rake is a dreamer, and he practices dreaming (see his Blog), he can see a better world, a better way, and a better place to be in life, and in business. He says, don’t stop dreaming! I love it, he is always forward thinking. To me, I think, the dream never dies, just the dreamer.
Business faith needs to happen on many levels, you have to risk on those levels, only you can decide what that might be. I encourage you to look deep inside and try to identify what fear is preventing you from having business faith, what is stopping you from trusting people to actually use your product/service. I would suggest to you that fear is root in a lie. Why? Because people are creatures of habit, you already know what they’re going to do and what risk they will take. It’s a calculate risk on your part! You also know, in the future (the next 3 -5 years), those very people will not be forced to do what the business world at large does today, it forces people to pay before getting any value. That’s the old model of business faith, you pay first, then they have faith.
The Open & Free Business Model requires that you have true business faith, that you have confidence in your product or service, that you would even dare to give some of those products and services away for free. This kind of business faith takes a longer span of time to see the results you have hope for, but in the long run, you will get followers of your business, you will get the attention of enough people, that will crystallize what it means to have business faith. Having an Open & Free Business Model = Business Faith.
Are you sure of what you hope for? Are you certain of what you can not see?
If you want to learn more about the Open & Free Business Model, and you live in my area, contact me to attend one of my workshops by e-mailing me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I love it when I find evidence that Copyright Protection doesn’t generate the same kind of revenue that an Open & Free Business Model does, it puts a smile on my face. No it’s not perfect, but neither is Copyright Protected sectors, they are failing miserably in this new open business model, they are trying to function within it and still can’t figure out what to do. Why? They are trying to use old industrial age thinking on a model that doesn’t require alot of control. Some control yes, but not nearly enough to keep everyone comfortable.
Companies that practice or use the big C (Copyright) are struggling to function in the New Open Marketplace, where FREE is almost impossible to compete with, so don’t compete! There are many, many sectors that do not qualify for Copyright Protection, and they generate more revenues than most with Copyright Protection. Copyright is about one thing and one thing only, control! I’m generalizing of course, but that’s the core motive when you strip all away.
Here is a TED Talk that is very interesting, with much to think about, food for thought.
Johanna Blakely: Lessons from fashion’s free culture.
A lot of words are misunderstood, that’s a given, but here online there are two that really mess people up. Now, I see tough times ahead for TV, Newspapers, Magazines, Music Stores, Book Stores and so on, these are the obvious ones. In fact, most major corporations are trying to figure out how to make these two words work for them. The problem isn’t the words, the problem is in the past, it’s called the Industrial age.
Remember when Social Media first came on the scene, your boss heard the words Social Media and freaked out. The picture that came to mind was people standing around a water cooler and not working, just shooting the breeze. I’m certain that is still a problem in most businesses, but they are dead wrong. Yes, Social Media is misunderstood, but those aren’t the two words I’m talking about now.
The two most misunderstood words are, Open & Free. Open & Free is a business model, and they are completely taken the wrong way, much like Social Media was and is still today. Open means many things, here online, they can mean, open systems and transparency. Free does not always mean free literally, but sometimes it does, and that’s where the rub is for business owners.
Open & Free are trying to achieve a balance the same way Sharing vs Piracy is trying to gain credibility. The problem as I mentioned earlier is, old thinking, we have to unlearn most of what we understand in the old business model of control. How you ask. The best way is to hire someone like myself that sees the world of business online as it will be, not as it is. I don’t mean someone who is guessing, someone who can show you in a methodical way that makes sense, in a simple way you understand. The future of business is not that hard to see, but it is if you’re using old eyes, the way you’ve always done things. Remember a primary principle, you don’t know what you don’t know.
Using the Open & Free Business Model in your business takes work, starting with looking at your business in a new and exciting way. Open may mean that you are giving your customers access to you, if you have been hiding from them before. In this new world business of commerce, you can’t hide anymore, you must connect with those who are buying and using your product and services. This isn’t new to some, but most still try to control who gets to them, and I’m betting it’s not going so well.
Free may mean you are selling a three part product or service, and you are giving part one away for free, and then charging for access to the other two parts. It could be a product, or it could be a consulting service. I have over simplified it here for you but it’s not this simple really, there’s much, much more to this model than described here.
If you want to learn more about The Open & Free Business Model, snoop around this blog for more posts, attend my workshop if you are local to me, hire me as a think-tank leader, and lastly, you can wait for my book to come out.
Open & Free are lonely words because they are The Two Most Misunderstood Words On The Internet Today.
I recently held a workshop and some of the smartest people in my community were there, great things happen when smart people meet, all you have to do is get out of the way. The workshop was on the topic of how to give your content away and generate revenue, the open & free business model, or free content business model. We discussed what was happening out there on the interweb, and we talked about what it meant to each one of them. The reality is, many of us are still trying to find our way, and most of us don’t know someone with arms length that has figured it out. Maybe it’s not important, maybe it’s more important to participate, build your plan, and then work your plan.
One of my goals in 2010 is to help 100 businesses with the new (old) business model, to show them which direction the tidal wave is coming from, and then help them ride it rather than get wiped out because they were looking the other way, Denial to foresight. When talking to business owners, the Internet is still just an add-on to their existing business. The concept of a social business or an open business is so foreign to them, a glazed look comes over their eyes after a few moments, which tells you they don’t understand. I suspect, many of these business owners don’t want to look stupid, or be viewed like they don’t know, so they act like they do. But when a business owners says ya I need to learn this stuff can you help me, I get pretty passionate about sharing and helping them.
I can tell you this, if you find business owners with an open mind, with a little humility, a desire to improve, feel they aren’t using the Internet effectively just yet, be gentle, then share the future with them before the details of what to do next. The future is actually easy to see if you’re looking at the world of business with the right perspective. Being out of the box means you are willing to adopt new ideas, it doesn’t mean you make poor decisions. Some things are right under your nose, like cell phones, everything is going mobile. In the future this mobility will be embedded into everything, your prescription glasses, contact lenses, even our blood stream once Nanotechnology matures. Our automobiles will be driven by computers not us, they will have sharper senses than we do. It’s already happening, just look around, the challenge is that this technology is not in the mainstream. It’s over most of our heads, so we tend to stay in and work with things we understand. Why, we are wired to be in control, being out of control feels like CHAOS, so we are very uncomfortable in it. The open & free business model promotes that chaos, we don’t know how to embrace it and more importantly trust it.
The best way to learn this new way of doing business is collaborate, to connect with those who are working on it, understand it, and show you how to get comfortable with the chaos. Is to create an environment where people can succeed, it’s as simple as putting a team of smart people together in a room and asking some key questions, then sit back and listen. Just get out of the way and take notes. When smart people meet, great things happen.