Have you ever watched “The Celebrity Apprentice?”
Several things intrigue me about this television show: The fireworks that ignite as strong personalities come together, the shift in dynamics as leadership roles change from week to week, and, of course, those boardroom meltdowns as contestants fight to stay in the competition.
In reality, business success or failure is not based on accomplishing simple, over-and-done tasks like those the contestants complete each week. For companies, success usually starts with an entrepreneur’s BIG vision – one that leads to sound business strategies that can be implemented over time.
All businesses attempt to execute their strategies well, but few manage to do so with consistency. Then, there are those companies that always seem to be at the top of their game, consistently surpassing competitors in popularity and profitability. What makes them different?
Many of these top companies have at least one thing in common: The ability to put an authentic, non-assuming face on their businesses.
In other words, they have succeeded in making their businesses personal, and customers love them for it.
It’s no surprise that Apple, Inc., is on track to become the world’s first trillion-dollar company. Not only have they created products with the utmost attention to the human experience, but they have also built a service infrastructure to perpetuate this experience after the sale. If you have ever dealt with Apple Care or made an appointment with a “genius” at one of their Genius Bars, you know what I mean. Their employees’ personal passion for the business is contagious. And customers keep coming back for more, because they provide the personal experience we crave.
Technology is making it easier than ever for business leaders to connect with customers and to put a human face on their companies.
Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, brings out a personal side through his tweets:
“Had a great talk w/ Ashton Kutcher & Demi Moore at SXSW about ‘Delivering Happiness’ and life: http://bit.ly/ewefmS.”
“Great story about the power of building personal emotional connections: http://bit.ly/fz25Pv.”
What do his posts have to do with the shoe business? Before you conclude “nothing,” consider that this company sells more than shoes. Zappos sells a buying experience that is personal, just like many of Tony’s tweets and posts.
Richard Branson, founder and chairman of the Virgin Group, also understands the power of personalizing business. In a recent post on LinkedIn, he wrote, “Only 16% of CEOs are using social media. Why aren’t more business leaders online?
In the intro to each week’s episode of “The Celebrity Apprentice,” viewers see the following tagline: “It’s Not Personal. It’s Just Business.”
That may be true for this reality show, but in today’s business world, this philosophy could easily motivate your customers to say, “You’re fired” – and to take their business to competitors that promise a more personal experience.
Stop fooling yourself: It’s not just business anymore. It’s personal.
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