Working on my Theses

Lately I’ve been very heads down on my startup SocialGuides.  It has been exciting for many reasons, but one of the primary reasons is that I spend most of my energies working with customers (and prospects).  I also spend a lot of time consuming all the great content that is coming out on ‘social media for business’, with a particular focus on SMBs and local businesses. So, what does this have to do with THESES?  A lot.  I’m finally at a point where I’ve collected enough data to start rolling out a few new thesis statements and engage in a conversation on the topics.  The first one I’m excited about is called:

10 million ‘brands’ – how social is leveling the playing field for SMB & Local businesses.

The basic premise here is that small businesses can build stronger brands, relationships and businesses with the aid of the social web in ways that make them much more competitive with the big brands.  The days of purely being outspent are waning.  As are the days of the pay to play models of local advertising.  With the new tools, content and authenticity afforded by the social web, smaller businesses can think like the big guys, but operate like a local.  Game On!

A little background – or ‘who is this guy?’.  You may ask yourself where this comes from.  Its pretty simple in that its a story of confluence.  I’ve helped a lot of smaller businesses devise and manage growth strategies.  And honestly there is very little more gratifying to me than helping someone figure out ways to grow and thrive.  So I’ve turned 100% of my attention to building products that can help scale that passion.  I’ve also had the good fortune of working for (and with) some amazing F500 brands.   I led brand/marketing analytics for IBM (on the team reporting directly into the CMO) where I had the good fortune to dig in deep – and stay away from advertising ; ).  We built award winning quant models and I spoke all over the globe.  I had the good fortune to get very deep into the methods and math of customer experience.  My colleagues and I did a lot to contribute to the thought leadership on ‘Customer Experience based Brand Equity & Management’.  It was a great experience to say the least.

And now, I’m seeing amazing opportunities to take that same energy for ‘brand’ and empowering the small businesses of the world – so they can compete better and not miss the opportunity to engage with the ‘social customer’.  The data, the engagement, the access and the enthusiasm all make it an amazing time for the smaller guys.  No longer do you need an army of MBAs and PhDs to devise a brand plan.  No longer is brand building based on outspending on TV.  No longer is the consumer a passive buyer.  Much is changing, yet the basic principles remain the same.  Listen deeply, tap data, set expectations, over deliver, empower champions, manage diligently, be open, create value, etc.  These are not new tenants – but social tools are impacting how these are derived and delivered.  So, this has me thinking that we are entering an era where more and more brands will grow from the ground up and not from the F500 down.  I see a world of millions and millions of ‘little’ brands delivering amazing customer experiences and building bonds with their fans that are hard to disrupt.  And while it is a tough time for many small business owners it is an opportune time to lay some amazing foundations.  I look forward to talking to my colleagues more about this – and most importantly I look forward to talking to you, the small business owners of the world.  What do you all think?

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Comments
3 Responses to “Working on my Theses”
  1. Sounds great Christian. A conversation well worth having. I look forward to more of your thoughts … and on you work to bring this to SMB.

    • gammill says:

      Thanks Matthew. So far its been fun and rewarding. I’ll have a lot more on this. I look forward to your thoughts as well. Take care!

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