When Business Gets Personal

One of my marketing heroes, Chris Brogan, has announced that mental health in the workplace is going to be a focus for him and his company moving forward. I applaud him for this effort because not only are more conversations about mental health needed in our society, but mental health is one of the leading factors of job loss and time loss.

Another hero of mine, Andrew Gurza, started a hashtag on Twitter that I just adore. #DisabledPeopleAreHot debuted a couple of weeks ago and has now been featured on the BBC, the CBC, the Washington Post, and other major media outlets. It’s all about how disabled people can be sexy and attractive and well, hot. How we can have the same drives and desires and “doing it” as anybody else. Why? Because we really ARE like anybody else. We just end to come with accessories.

And then there’s Bryan Kramer, who said we need to be thinking H2H – human to human – and not so much B2C or B2B or business at all. For doing that, he’s a hero, too.

Our world seems a harsh, cruel place most of the time. We see tragedies unfold in real time thanks to 24/7 news outlets. Our political atmosphere is charged with division and derision. We see corruption and heartbreak, natural disasters and man-made catastrophes, and it seems that you get snarled at more than smiled at most days.

Is it any wonder we want to make positive connections? Is there any doubt as to why we crave happy human interactions? So many people in today’s world feel marginalized, invisible, unloved.

And yet, we still have businesses that don’t want to come down from their ivory towers and touch the unwashed masses at their feet. They prefer to stay up above, as if their attitude of superiority makes them somehow less human than the rest of us.

I call BS. We WANT you to be human. We want you to treat US as humans. Come down from your lofty perches and join the party. Don’t be so afraid of letting us see your bad hair days, your off moments, the times when things just don’t. go. as. planned.

You see, we want to relate. To feel as though we are a member of the family, not just another number or name or piece of your bottom line. We need to feel as though we belong with you and you with us. We aren’t your customers or clients anymore. We are your business PARTNERS in this together with you. You can’t make it without us, and we can’t make it without you.

We aren’t perfect, in fact we are far from it. We have issues and problems and we make mistakes and we sometimes even fail. We come to you for your service or product because we have a need. Something we can’t do on our own. Far from perfect, yet close enough to you and your business so as to be a partner. Together, remember? We need you. You need us. Put er there, partner….

Partners aren’t perfect. Partners are people. Right here in the trenches with us. So show us your foibles and follies. Show us your failures and falls. Show us, too, your celebrations. Those moments when everything goes right. Or when some little thing makes a mighty big difference. Help us help you make a difference by getting to know your causes. Your needs. Your dreams and desires. Let us in. There’s no need for the “man behind the curtain” anymore, Wizard.

Personalizing your business is good for your business. You can form relationships with your customers and clients. You can stand out from the crowd. You can even get to be heroic and use your business for the good of all. But you have to let go of the idea that you are just a faceless bit of cold, unfeeling perfection hiding behind the curtain of “professionalism”.

Let your business get personal. Be a hero. Be a human. You have nothing to lose, and an entire planet of people to gain.

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