"It's nothing personal, it's just business."
How many times have you heard that line in your life? How does your life look these days? At minimum, you're probably working eight hours per day, trying hard to either keep your job or grow your business. Whether you're an Entrepreneur or running the marketing teams at a major multi-national, here's a newsflash: business is personal. If any of us are going to be spending any significant amount of time at one company, working with a group of people (both employees and clients), it better be of value and we all better start taking it personally. In the end, 8 hours a day will quickly add up to a huge percentage of our total life.
Social Media is a personal channel and that's why most businesses fail to embrace and understand the nuances of it.
As much as brands try to open up or claim transparency, the reality is that they are not built in a way that enables them to embrace, engage and capitalize on the many new digital channels and platforms of communication being offered to them because they really don't know how to be personal. They have many obstacles to overcome to break with that tradition (the bigger the company, the harder it is). They worry about allowing the people that represent them (their employees and stakeholders) to take the lead and have those real interactions between real human beings because companies have never done this before.
Being personal is hard because it requires a business to treat others as equals.
Yes, business claims to love the philosophy of Social Media. In it's simplest form, business loves the idea that they can connect to their consumers, have their consumers connect to them, and empower those consumers to connect to one another. Brands are just not used to it. It not only takes a huge leap of faith in terms of changing the creation and flow of messaging, it takes an even bigger leap of faith to believe that if they make things more personal, that they won't get hurt in the process.
People keep secrets because they are afraid what others might think.
The only real way we're going to see businesses make it through this dramatic moment in time where mass media is complimented by these many new digital touchpoints that require a whole different skill set for marketers in terms of advertising, communications and public relations, is if those businesses do open up, share their secrets and, ultimately, make everything they do that much more personal.
The question becomes: how quickly can businesses make that shift and are they really willing to make things personal?