In March 2015, an article entitled “How To Embrace The New Relationship Economy” by Scott Petinga appeared in Forbes. The article stated that the phrase “relationship economy” was gaining traction, but it’s actually nothing new. This is happening just as it has become fashionable to say we are operating in an information age which Peter Drucker predicted in the early 70s before John Naisbitt popularized the term in 1982 with his best-selling book, Megatrends.
Scott Petinga and other authorities tell us that we are actually living in a communication age and it is overdue for us to start taking it seriously. One reason is that the future depends on innovation, which requires collaboration and inclusion to be sustainable. Consider how today’s successful entrepreneurs are building their businesses by building relationships — and not just with other entrepreneurs, vendors and businesses, but with their customers. Those relationships are the new currency.
Patinga offers the following four ways to make the shift to the relationship economy:
1. Focus on authenticity.
Relationships are based on trust and trust is based on authenticity.
2. Start taking social media seriously.
The best way to use social media is to leverage its power to connect and build relationships with your customers and target market.
3. Stop selling.
Instead, start solving your target market’s problems and they will not only buy from you, but they will also enthusiastically spread the word to their networks.
4. Embrace individuality.
Petinga pointed out how effectively McDonald’s has done this in an extremely creative way with their Super Bowl ad. The ad introduced a promotion where randomly selected customers are asked to pay for their food simply by doing something kind, such as telling a family member, “I love you.” This is brilliant relationship building on a variety of levels — between the brand and the customers, between the employees and the customers, and between the customers and their loved ones.
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