Injecting Your Passion, Values and Purpose into Your Business

passion-values-purpose
7 Graces co-director Nancy Goodyear explains how aligning your business with what you care most about can make work more enjoyable, satisfying and fulfilling.

Running a business takes a lot of time and energy. If you work full time, we are talking about the bulk of your waking hours. And that’s a hard thing to ask of ourselves if we feel no connection to our work – if we feel uninspired, tired and bored by what we do. What a lot of wasted time!

Of course, it’s a lot easier if you really and truly care about what you do. Work can be fun, interesting, exciting and inspiring when it addresses three crucial elements:

  1. It reflects your passion.
  2. It is in alignment with your personal values.
  3. It fits with your life purpose.

In today’s article, I’m going to explain what I mean by these terms and ask some questions that will hopefully get you thinking about your own values, passion and purpose and how you can inject them into your business.

Your Passion

Your passion is what you care about most in the world. It’s the thing that you can monologue about for hours on end. It’s the ‘Don’t get me started on…’ topic of conversation. It might be what makes you angry. It might be what holds your attention obsessively for hours. It’s what gives you energy. It’s the thing you would fight for.

Your passion could include practical things like writing, knitting, teaching or gardening. Or it could be an issue such as social justice , the environment or equality. Of course, I’m using a very broad brush here; most likely your passion is a very specific aspect of one of these things, such as health services for all (rather than just ‘social justice’), anti-fracking (rather than just ‘environment’) or feminism (rather than just ‘equality’).

Your Values

Simply put, your values are what you believe in most. They are the things that are the most important to you:

  • Values can be personal qualities like integrity, honesty, patience, kindness, dignity and loyalty. When you hold these as values, you feel it is important – both for you and for those closest to you – to express these qualities in your interactions.
  • Values can include lifestyle and personal standards, such as spending quality time with your friends, family, kids or lover, or always being the best you can be.
  • Values can also be aesthetic or philosophical things like beauty, harmony, justice or equality.

Values are often easy to spot within your passions. Your passion for gardening could be an expression of the values of beauty and harmony, for example.

Your Purpose

We all know what it feels like to have ‘a sense of purpose’ on a daily, domestic level – cleaning the house, doing the garden, finishing the ironing, planning a family holiday, meeting a deadline, etc. And we all know the satisfaction of having completed a job well done when we flop down on the sofa at the end of the day or the week, knowing we have earned that glass of wine.

But real purpose is something broader and far more potent and personal. True purpose is the reason you are here – on this planet, living this life, at this moment in history. What are you here to achieve in this life? The answer to this question reveals your life purpose.

In reality, your life purpose is likely to be the thing you do as naturally as breathing – the thing that’s so easy for you that you don’t even identify it as work. It’s probably the thing that people seek you out to help them with. Maybe you are great at figuring out how things work and are brilliant at fixing them. Or perhaps you’re fantastic at helping people understand their relationships. Or you might have a talent for music, or languages, or communication, or cooking. Or, maybe, you’re terrific at helping other people find their own life purposes.

These three elements – values, passion and purpose – are so much a part of who we are that they can be hard to identify for ourselves. What is glaringly obvious in our friends and family may be impossible to see (and acknowledge) within ourselves. But when you do find this magic formula and inject it into your work, you are onto a winner! You are then doing something you care passionately about that aligns with your values and comes naturally and easily to you AND….

YOU CAN GET PAID FOR IT!

Bringing Your Passion, Values and Purpose to Work

So how do you achieve this winning combination? Well, whether you are employed or self-employed, something drew you to the work you do. So, chances are you already have some of this in place without even being aware of it. You may already believe in the work that your organisation does. You may already share some of the same values as your employer. You may already be doing work that comes naturally to you. The key is to have all three in one place.

Below, I’m going to take you through a process to help you identify your values, your passion and your purpose so you can recognise where they are already present and then integrate them into your work or your business.

Step 1: What are you passionate about?

Make a list of the subjects that really get you going. Think about what makes you angry, what you can rant about for hours, what makes your friends say ‘Oh, don’t get her started on that’. Think about what you care about, what you get obsessively into, what you get lost in, what makes you excited.

Write down as many as you can think of. Your list of subjects might include things like politics, poverty, war, abuse or education. These are your passions.

Step 2: What are your values?

Look through your list of passions and see what common themes run through them. For example, some of the themes running through the above list are justice, fairness, equality and being nice to each other.

Step 3: What is your purpose?

Now make a list of your natural talents – the things that your friends come to you for, the things you find yourself doing without effort. It might be harder to make this list than the other two because, by definition, your natural talents are things you may take for granted. If you get stuck, you might want to ask your friends and family what they think.

For example, your list might look like this:

  • I’m good at solving relationship problems
  • I’m a good listener
  • I’m very diplomatic (so I’m told)
  • I’m good at seeing both sides of an issue
  • I’m good at teaching/writing/cooking/etc.
  • People always talk to me about arguments they’ve had or other personal distress

Now let’s look at these three lists (yours will be completely different and probably longer) alongside each other:

Passions Values Purpose
Politics Justice Solving relationship problems
Poverty Fairness Listening
War Equality Diplomacy
Abuse Being nice to each other Teaching
Education Seeing both sides
People talk to me about their arguments

 

Looking at the table, we begin to see a clear picture of someone who cares deeply about the state of the world. She cares about how some people are struggling to eat or not getting a good education, and how the solution so often seems to be fighting, harming and killing. She hates the idea that things are unfair and is upset about how badly some people treat one other. She cares about people, and her natural talents tally with this. She’s someone people want to talk to. She has a balanced view, and people value her advice about relationships and personal conflicts.

When we see it in black and white like this, we start to get ideas for how this woman could create a business that reflects her unique set of values, passions and talents (or purpose). Maybe she wants to work with abused women to break the cycle of abuse by helping them find ways to see their relationships more clearly. Or maybe she would rather teach kids from poor backgrounds and inspire them to raise their aspirations, find their passions and escape poverty and disadvantage. Or maybe she could form a campaigning group on social justice.

Really, the possibilities are limitless. But by going through this process, she can start to see the wood from the trees and to move into work that fulfils her passions, values and purpose.

Closing Thoughts

After you’ve gone through the above process, you can summarise everything into a single life purpose statement. To do that, ask yourself ‘Why was I born at this time in history?’ For example, the life purpose statement of the woman in the above example might be:

I was born at this time in history
to show people that there are two sides to every argument –
and to get them talking.

So, what is YOUR life purpose statement? I’d love to know. Please feel free to share it in the comments below.

4 Foundations of Ethical Marketing

Here at the 7 Graces Project CIC , we care deeply about helping social entrepreneurs and other ethical business owners express their passions, values and purposes through their businesses. In fact, that’s one the primary objectives of our Foundations of Ethical Marketing course . I’m delighted to be one of the facilitators on that course, along with7 Graces founder Lynn Serafinn . If you’d like to find out about the course and how it can help you and your business, we invite you to attend a FREE information call on September 24th. Just CLICK HERE to register. If you can’t make the live call, you will be able to download the MP3 replay.

Nancy Goodyear
16 September 2014

Nancy V Goodyear, Co-Director of the 7 Graces Project CICNancy V Goodyear is a Business Mentor and Coach who loves to help social entrepreneurs and small business owners cultivate their relationship with self, their business and their audience. With a BA (Hons) in Learning Disability Nursing, she has extensive professional experience working in health & social care within the non-profit sector. She is fluent in French having lived in France for some time. She is a graduate of the Coaches Training Institute and the Co-Active Leadership programme. She is also a director of The 7 Graces Project CIC.

Nancy on Twitter: @NancyVGoodyear
Nancy’s website – http://nancyvgoodyear.com

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Looking for a Tribe?

Come join our 7 Graces group on Facebook, and join us at our monthly meetings. They’re free to attend and we have them both in person and online, so you can participate from anywhere in the world. This is NOT a “business group” but an active community where people actually know and support each other.

Find out more about how changing the paradigm can help make the world a better place:

The 7 Graces of Marketing BOOK COVER The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sell, by Lynn Serafinn, where you can learn how the 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Graces impact the world through media and marketing. Brit Writers Awards Finalist eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian & Ecological Social Issues

 

Tweep-e-licious: 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically by Lynn Serafinn, which can help you learn how to create meaningful collaborations through Twitter and other social media . eLit Book Awards Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.

Get instant access to a free 90-minute Twitter marketing class at http://tweepelicious.com

The Social Entrepreneur's Guide to Successful BloggingComing later in 2014

The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging: An Effective, Creative & Ethical Way of Marketing for Visionaries & New Paradigm Business Leaders. To receive an update when that book is available, just click here. As a thank-you gift for showing your interest, you’ll get instant access to an exclusive, free 5-page PDF revealing the exact same blogging template we use with our clients and we teach to participants on the ethical marketing training courses at the 7 Graces Project.


Lynn Serafinn author of The 7 Graces of Marketing LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales. Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors.

Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project CIC, a not-for-profit social enterprise created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.

7 Graces Project CIC

Twitter: http://twitter.com/7GracesMarketng

Facebook: http://facebook.com/groups/7GracesGlobalGarden

MeetUp: http://www.meetup.com/7-Graces-Global-Community-London

(not just for Londoners, as we meet also on Skype)

Posted in 7 Key Relationships, Blog, Business Tips, Community Blogger, Foundations of Ethical Marketing, Nancy Goodyear, New Paradigm, Relationship with Our Business | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Our Relationship with Source Shapes Us as Business Owners

How Our Relationship with Source Shapes Us as Business OwnersLynn Serafinn shares her definition of the word ‘Source’ and explains how our worldviews influence our choices to run ethical or not-so-ethical businesses.

Here at the 7 Graces Project, we utilise a number of different paradigms that help to guide us in all that we do. One of the most important of those paradigms is something called the 7 Key Relationships. I first identified these in my book The 7 Graces of Marketing. Since then, they have been a major focus in our courses, as well as in our work with private marketing clients. Here’s a quick list of what they are:

  1. Our Relationship with Self
  2. Our Relationship with Source
  3. Our Relationship with Others
  4. Our Relationship with Our Business
  5. Our Relationship with Our Audience
  6. Our Relationship with Money
  7. Our Relationship with Marketing

All of these relationships impact the way we conduct our businesses. They affect the way we communicate and interact with others. They affect our business choices and attitudes. They affect how we see ourselves, how others see us and how we impact the world around us. And ultimately, they impact our business success – both financially and intrinsically.

This week, taking a look through our body of content on this site, I realised I had not yet published an article in which my sole focus was Key Relationship 2:

Our relationship with Source.

Perhaps I neglected this because I was thinking that our readers would be more interested in the other relationships, as it is easier to see the direct link between them and how they impact our businesses. But actually, the way we see, view and relate to Source is one of the most influential factors in how we run our businesses, second only to our relationship with Self.

So today, I thought I would spend some time sharing my definition of the word ‘Source’, how each and every one of us has a relationship with it and how that relationship is fundamental in determining whether we’ll end up running ethicalor not-so-ethical businesses.

Arriving at a Universal Definition of ‘Source’

These days, the word ‘Source’ is frequently used by members of the New Age community to refer to a higher power. While that interpretation of the word is perfectly fine within their worldview, it’s too culturally biased to encompass what I mean by the term. I believe that if something is true, it must be true at all times and in all places. Thus, the only way to arrive at a definition of Source that is universal to all is to find something that all human beings – at all times and in all places – have in common, regardless of their worldviews or cultural biases.

Thus, when I use the word ‘Source’, I am referring to the natural world – the Earth and the ecosystem within it. When I say ‘Earth’, I am referring to the soil, minerals, water, air, etc. When I say ‘ecosystem’, I am referring to living entities – from microbes to plants to animals to humans. Together, they comprise the natural world I am calling Source. Apart from inhabiting physical bodies, it is the only thing that all human beings – past, present or future, near or far – have in common.

We are all part of a vast and complex ecosystem. It shapes our bodies. It feeds us. It gives us what we need to survive. It keeps us healthy or makes us ill. Eventually, we die and our bodies return to it. Regardless of whatever other metaphysical belief systems we may have, the natural world truly is Source in the most literal and primordial sense of the word. Source can make or break us. Without it, none of us would be alive.

But it is important to remember that we also have an impact on Source. We shape it. We feed upon it. We take from it what we believe we need. We use Source not just to survive, but to be happy or wealthy or powerful. But Source is not a thing; it is a system. And when we give to or take from a system, we change it – sometimes a little, sometimes a lot.

To sum all this up in the most basic terms:

Source is the natural world.
Source is a system.
The Earth and all living things – including ourselves – are part of that system.
The actions of any part of the system will have an effect on the other parts of the system.
The actions of any part of the system will have an effect on the entire system.
The actions of the entire system with have an effect on all the parts of the system.

Conclusion: We are NEVER separate from Source.

How Our Relationship with Source Forms Our Worldview

The fact that Source impacts us and we impact Source shows that we have an inherent relationship with it. Many of us in modern cities and towns are less aware of this relationship, but it is there regardless. We might think water comes from the tap and apples come from the store, but ultimately everything we have and use in life – even the computer on which I am writing this article – comes from Source. The raw materials, the people who designed and programmed it, the people who assembled it, the delivery truck (and driver) that brought it to me all arose from Source.

Some people, such as those who embrace the ‘Gaia’ worldview, see Source as being an animate entity. But it is not necessary to have an animistic belief about Source to understand our relationship with it. For example, my ancestors from the Giudicarie Valley of Trentino in what is now part of northern Italy used to call themselves contadini. While this word is typically translated as either ‘farmer’ or ‘peasant’, it carried with it a deeper meaning of ‘living off the land’. It didn’t just define what they did for a living or their social status, but how they related to the natural world. Everything they did in life – how they built their homes, what they ate, how they organised their families and communities – was directed by their relationship with Source. They were constantly dancing with Source; they had immense respect for it and never felt separate from it.

But here’s the point: based on archaeological research, the people of that region have lived this way for at least the past 4,000 years. Over the millennia, their politics and religion went through many radical changes, but their day-to-day relationship with Source changed relatively little. Even today, fifteen centuries after Christianity replaced ancient pagan belief systems, the Catholic parish from which my family came still has an annual pilgrimage to pray for protection from drought. Regardless of the entity (energy) to whom they are directing their supplications, it is still Source, and it reflects their awareness of their interdependence.

To me, what this says is that our social structures and belief systems do not determine our relationship with Source; rather, it’s the other way around. Regardless of whether we are religious, spiritual, animist, atheist, agnostic, pragmatic, scientific, hedonistic, shamanic or any combination thereof, our relationship with the natural world form the foundation of our social structures and beliefs.

Each of us carries with us a plethora of beliefs – personal beliefs, family beliefs, cultural beliefs and various scientific, metaphysical, philosophical or spiritual beliefs. Similarly, each of us lives within a huge web of social structures – family traditions, organised religions, educational systems, political systems and so forth.

The amalgamation of all these things becomes our worldview. Most of us are more or less unconscious of our worldview, as it is all we have ever known. It seems to be woven into the very fabric of who we are. But if we truly wish to understand ourselves, we need to understand its origins and learn to discern where our unconscious worldview ends and our conscience Self begins. The first steps to that discernment are to recognise that our relationship with Source lies at the root of our worldview and to explore more about what that relationship looks like.

The Connection between Worldview and Business Ethics

As our relationship with Source is at the root of our worldview, it informs everything we do – including the way we do business:

If we feel disconnected or aloof from the ‘system’ of Source, we are less likely to be mindful of it in our business dealings; we may give little or no attention to our supply chains, for example.

If we see Source as inanimate, or believe humankind to be more intelligent than the natural world, we might exploit (or even destroy) natural resources, species or the balance between them.

Our relationship with Source influences even seemingly mundane activities like writing a blog post. If we feel disconnected from the whole, we will write as if we are separate from it. This can drive a mental and emotional wedge between us and our readers. In other words, disconnection from Source creates a disconnection between Self and others.

If, on the other hand, we feel a powerful connection to Source, we will naturally feel resonant and even loving towards the whole. When we are resonant and loving, we will not seek to exploit or dominate people or planet in the name of profit. Rather, we will look for solutions where profit comes naturally from creating greater value for the entire system.

That, in essence, is what defines a new paradigm entrepreneur/social entrepreneur. Their powerful, intimate and conscious relationship with Source is the lifeblood of who they are, what they do and how they do it.

Closing Thoughts

How your relationship with Source impacts the way you do business might not be immediately apparent until you become aware of how it unconsciously informs your worldview. But you must also be aware that this key relationship informs many of the assumptions you might be making about other people with whom you come in contact when you run your business. If you wish your business and marketing to be effective, authentic AND ethical, your worldview must feel congruent and resonant not only within yourself but with all your business associates – clients, customers, suppliers, partners, social-media connections, web visitors and mailing-list subscribers.

The journey towards this ideal begins with our own consciousness. This consciousness can only begin when we are brave enough to ask ourselves the right questions about our relationship with Source and subsequently make changes when we see things that are steering us away from the congruence and resonance we seek. Here are a few sample enquiry questions you can write about in your reflective journal to explore your relationship with Source:

  • Intellectually, how do you view Source? Do you see it as a living, animate entity? An inanimate, scientific system? Something else?
  • Emotionally, how do you feel about Source? Do you feel close and intimate? Distant and removed? Loving? Indifferent? Happy? Sad?
  • On a day-to-day basis, how ‘alive’ is your relationship with Source? Does it consciously enter into your work and activities? Is it vaguely present in the background? Is it scarcely ever in your thoughts and actions?
  • What are your various beliefs about family, society, religion, politics, people, planet, money, business, etc.? Take your time with this one; try to go as deep into it as you can.
  • Look back at how you described your relationship with Source. How is it reflected in your belief systems? In other words, how does it form the foundation for other things you believe? Don’t be discouraged if you cannot come up with the answers to this right away. Simply plant the question in your mind and allow the answers to reveal themselves organically over time (even if it’s years from now).
  • How do your belief systems show up in your business? How does your relationship with Source show up? Where is there congruence and resonance between them? What strengths can you draw from it? Where is there incongruence and dissonance? What ‘wants’ to change?

I hope this article has been useful in deepening your understanding of the importance of your relationship with Source and how it plays a part in your actions as a new paradigm entrepreneur and/or social entrepreneur. I invite you to share your reflections and thoughts (especially on the enquiry questions) in the comments below.

The 7 Key Relationships is one of the four cornerstones of ethical marketing that we teach on our 7 Graces course Foundations of Ethical Marketing. This course is for any business owner – established or start-up – who is interested in bringing greater social focus to their business and in creating a long-term legacy through their work. If this sounds interesting to you, we invite you to attend a free information call about the course on September 24th. Just CLICK HERE to book your place on the call. If you cannot attend live, you will be able to download the MP3 audio replay.

4 Foundations of Ethical MarketingUntil then, I wish you a wonderful week and encourage you to take some time away from your computer to go out for a walk in our beautiful natural world.

12 September 2014
Lynn Serafinn

Like this blog?

Then please subscribe using the form at the upper right side of this page, so you can receive our articles to your inbox.

KINDLE users 

You can help subsidise ethical marketing training courses for young social entrepreneurs in need. Just subscribe to the blog on Amazon for 99 cents a month (77p UK), and you’ll receive all our articles delivered directly to your Kindle device. All profits go to our 7 Graces Scholarship Fund. You can take a 14-day free trial before you decide. You’ll get a new article 2 or 3 times per week. Check it out at Amazon US or Amazon UK.

Looking for a Tribe? 

Come join our 7 Graces group on Facebook, and join us at our monthly meetings. They’re free to attend and we have them both in person and online, so you can participate from anywhere in the world. This is NOT a “business group” but an active community where people actually know and support each other.

Find out more about how changing the paradigm can help make the world a better place:

The 7 Graces of Marketing BOOK COVER The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sellby Lynn Serafinn, where you can learn how the 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Graces impact the world through media and marketing. Brit Writers Awards Finalist eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian & Ecological Social Issues

 

Tweep-e-licious: 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically by Lynn Serafinn, which can help you learn how to create meaningful collaborations through Twitter and other social media. eLit Book Awards Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.

Get instant access to a free 90-minute Twitter marketing class at http://tweepelicious.com

The Social Entrepreneur's Guide to Successful BloggingComing later in 2014

The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging: An Effective, Creative & Ethical Way of Marketing for Visionaries & New Paradigm Business Leaders. To receive an update when that book is available, just click here. As a thank-you gift for showing your interest, you’ll get instant access to an exclusive, free 5-page PDF revealing the exact same blogging template we use with our clients and we teach to participants on the ethical marketing training courses at the 7 Graces Project.


Lynn Serafinn author of The 7 Graces of Marketing LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales. Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors.

Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project CIC, a not-for-profit social enterprise created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.

7 Graces Project CIC

Twitter: http://twitter.com/7GracesMarketng

Facebook: http://facebook.com/groups/7GracesGlobalGarden

MeetUp: http://www.meetup.com/7-Graces-Global-Community-London

(not just for Londoners, as we meet also on Skype)

 

 

 

Posted in 7 Graces, 7 Key Relationships, Connection, Lynn Serafinn, News, Relationship with Source | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How the RIGHT Kind of Research Can Help Your Business

How the RIGHT Kind of Research Can Help Your BusinessConsultant and value proposition specialist Cindy Barnes tells why some research methods fail and how to conduct a deeper, more insightful kind of research.

Whether you are a major corporation or an independent business owner, research is an integral part of your business success. The right kind of research can give you a better understanding of what’s happening in your business, and what to do about it.

In my consultancy, I work primarily with corporates and larger organisations. Many of them spend a significant amount of time and money trying to find out what their customers want. The problem is that a significant proportion of research fails to help organisations move forward, leaving them with seemingly unsolvable problems. Their customers simply aren’t responding in the right way to their initiatives, and they can’t figure out why. It’s not for want of trying, however. These organisations will usually have accumulated a vast amount of research into the issue that’s troubling them. Yet no matter how much they analyse and scrutinise the data, it yields no actionable insights.

In my experience, their unsolvable problems aren’t the result of bad data analysis but of at least one of two mistakes:

  1. They’re using the wrong type of research to provide the insights they need. In other words, they’re asking questions that the research was not designed to answer.
  2. They’re trying to apply rational thinking to their research, taking answers at face value instead of within a greater context.

Truly useful and effective research is not merely a matter of collecting data. First, we need to choose the ‘right’ kind of research for our businesses. Next, we need to know how to gather findings that can actually tell us what we need to know. And lastly, we need to be able to interpret and apply those findings within our companies. Unless we give attention to all of these aspects of research, it is unlikely we will reap the benefits we seek from it.

Quantitative vs. Qualitative Research

Before anything else, we must choose which kind of research we need – quantitative or qualitative:

  • Quantitative research answers the ‘what’ questions. It tells us what is happening and measures it. What it can’t tell us is why things happen.
  • Qualitative research does tell us why: why things happen in a certain way, why people respond to some things and not others, and why certain things motivate them while others do not.

However, both types of research are plagued by rational thinking – uncritically believing what we’re being told. Sometimes, adherence to rational thinking can be maddening, causing large organisations to repeat the same error again and again. They examine the same problem in the same way repeatedly but are nonplussed to discover that this hasn’t yielded anything new. When this happens, gaining true insights through research begins to look impossible.

The answer, in my experience, lies in attaining a much more nuanced understanding of how people think and react. For that, we need a much more penetrating qualitative research approach – one that seeks the truth by looking beyond what people think they think, and uncovers their true feelings.

We get to these true feelings by understanding that the vast majority of the time, human beings act on instinct and feeling. Then we rationalise our actions after the fact. As a result, when you ask customers a question, their answer will be almost always be a rationalisation of what they did, rather than an insight into the unconscious feeling that actually drove their response to your product or service. You get answers that aren’t really very illuminating.

The really important insights we often want from research are actually in the subconscious. Thus, what we actually want to get at in our research is this unconscious or tacit knowledge: all the things we intuitively know and but don’t consciously articulate, even to ourselves.

Mining Tacit Knowledge

Tacit knowledge is truly the stuff of customer insight. When we can access it, we’re well on the way to acquiring really astute and important customer understanding.

Over the years as a corporate consultant, my company have used social sciences to develop a range of techniques to help organisations mine tacit knowledge. When companies learn how to do this, they can take their qualitative research to the next level. For research to have real depth, it requires highly trained interviewers using well-structured approaches.

For example, when I conduct research for a company, I use a combination of psychological techniques that help immerse us – holistically – into the mind of the interviewee. This kind of approach enables us to glean the rich information and tacit knowledge that truly illuminate the issue at hand.

Putting In-Depth Research into Practice

Gathering in-depth research is the first step of the process; next, we’ve got to interpret our findings accurately and then put them into practice in our companies.

Here’s an example of how one B2B company applied their research to bring about positive changes. I once worked with an electronics company that sold hardware and software on a contract basis, typically on four-year terms. All their sales effort was geared around contract renewal dates. However, our research identified that their customers were making decisions about software long before their contract renewal dates. Our client’s traditional research, including customer satisfaction, had never uncovered this change in customer behaviour. Armed with this new knowledge, our client put a regular account-management process in place to build customer engagement between renewals.

Another client of ours – an engineering consulting business – provides another example of how the right kind of research can turn a flagging business around. This company had long-term contracts across the world. They had a set of clients who were very happy with the service they received and the skills transferred to their employees. However, business wasn’t scaling up; once their customers completed their contracts, they rarely went on to purchase long-term maintenance contracts.The company’s quantitative research was indicating that price was an issue, but their market intelligence showed they were in the right price band. They obviously had a problem but didn’t know the real cause.

Our qualitative research identified that their clients were simply unclear about the consultancy’s vision and strategy for the future. This was affecting their perception of the consultancy firm as a long-term business partner. As a result of this insight, the consultancy put a clear vision in place and shared their strategy with key clients. Remarkably, retention and conversion rates of maintenance contracts increased by 35% in the year following implementation of this programme.

Where Does Your Organisation Fit into This Picture?

I know that many of you reading this are from smaller, independent businesses rather than large corporations. Nonetheless, these principles of research apply to your company just as much as they would to the biggest multinational on the planet. Before you begin your research, ask yourself:

  • What problems is your business currently facing (falling or stagnant sales, weak customer engagement, high customer churn, etc.)?
  • How do much you really understand about why they are happening? How well do you understand where your difficulties stem from?
  • Do you have systems in place to tackle these issues?
  • Do you feel that some things are unfixable because you have no real idea why they are happening?
  • Do you sometimes feel stuck because you believe you don’t have the resources to address the issues right now?

Whether big or small, organisations can always help themselves by getting to the root of their issues through the right kind of research. Only by digging deep and finding out what’s really going on can you address the real problem you may be encountering.

And don’t be afraid of what you’ll find when you go there. You just might find that your seemingly ‘unsolvable’ problems are surprisingly easy to fix without a great deal of expense. If you or your company are looking for rich, ethical solutions to your research challenges, do connect with us on our website or social media (you’ll find our links below).

Cindy Barnes
10th September 2014

Cindy is a graduate of our 7 Graces ‘Foundations of Ethical Marketing course. To find out more about this course and our growing community of ethical marketers, CLICK HERE to to come along to our FREE info call on 24th September.

Cindy-Barnes-TwitterCINDY BARNES (MBA) is a business and psychology consultant with a background in engineering, product and service innovation, marketing, business development and leadership. She is qualified as a counsellor in Transactional Analysis and is the co-author of the bestselling book, Creating and Delivering Your Value PropositionAs an engineer, Cindy has created, developed and sold many leading edge products and services. She ran large-scale, unionised automotive component factories for Smiths Industries, and led research and development for Panavision, developing a leading-edge product which is still their most profitable to date. Later, she led marketing and business development for Capgemini and co-created a new business unit that had sales of £83m and a pipeline of £309m in 12 months from a zero start. In 2003 she founded the consultancy ‘Futurecurve’, which helps companies navigate from a product ‘push’ focus to a true, sustainable customer ‘pull’ focus, enabling them to out-perform their peers by delivering genuine value to customers. Customers include global corporations, governmental organisations and not-for-profits. She is passionate about nature and sustainability and supports local environmental groups and social enterprises. She is also a graduate of the 7 Graces Foundations of Ethical Marketing Course and active member of the 7 Graces Community.

Read all posts by Cindy Barnes
Cindy on Twitter: @cindy_barnes
Cindy on the Web: http://www.futurecurve.com

 Like this blog?

Then please subscribe using the form at the upper right side of this page, so you can receive our articles to your inbox.

KINDLE users

You can help subsidise ethical marketing training courses for young social entrepreneurs in need. Just subscribe to the blog on Amazon for 99 cents a month (77p UK), and you’ll receive all our articles delivered directly to your Kindle device. All profits go to our 7 Graces Scholarship Fund. You can take a 14-day free trial before you decide. You’ll get a new article 2 or 3 times per week. Check it out at Amazon US or Amazon UK.

Looking for a Tribe?

Come join our 7 Graces group on Facebook, and join us at our monthly meetings. They’re free to attend and we have them both in person and online, so you can participate from anywhere in the world. This is NOT a “business group” but an active community where people actually know and support each other.

Find out more about how changing the paradigm can help make the world a better place:

The 7 Graces of Marketing BOOK COVER The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sell, by Lynn Serafinn, where you can learn how the 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Graces impact the world through media and marketing. Brit Writers Awards Finalist eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian & Ecological Social Issues

 

Tweep-e-licious: 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically by Lynn Serafinn, which can help you learn how to create meaningful collaborations through Twitter and other social media. eLit Book Awards Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.

Get instant access to a free 90-minute Twitter marketing class at http://tweepelicious.com

The Social Entrepreneur's Guide to Successful BloggingComing later in 2014

The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging: An Effective, Creative & Ethical Way of Marketing for Visionaries & New Paradigm Business Leaders. To receive an update when that book is available, just click here. As a thank-you gift for showing your interest, you’ll get instant access to an exclusive, free 5-page PDF revealing the exact same blogging template we use with our clients and we teach to participants on the ethical marketing training courses at the 7 Graces Project.


Lynn Serafinn author of The 7 Graces of Marketing LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales. Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors.

Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project CIC, a not-for-profit social enterprise created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.

7 Graces Project CIC

Twitter: http://twitter.com/7GracesMarketng

Facebook: http://facebook.com/groups/7GracesGlobalGarden

MeetUp: http://www.meetup.com/7-Graces-Global-Community-London

(not just for Londoners, as we meet also on Skype)

Posted in Blog, Business Tips, Cindy Barnes, Community Blogger, Corporate, Relationship with Our Audience | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Images, Ethics and Marketing – Is Seeing REALLY Believing?

Images, Ethics and Marketing - Is Seeing REALLY Believing?
Sue Ellam explores the impact of images in business, marketing and social media and how some images manipulate emotions rather than reflect the truth.

”A picture paints a thousand words.” – Frederick R. Barnard, 1921

These days, I get bombarded by all sorts of images. Whether they are cute or horrific, each makes an emotional impact in its own way. For instance, I often feel manipulated when I discover that the ‘today’s earthquake disaster’ photo going viral on social media was actually taken five years earlier and sometimes even in another country. Archive photos of all sorts get re-used to demonstrate many different situations, and public emotions are swayed to and fro by the use of these images. If we aren’t diligent, we can unknowingly become emotional puppets, triggered by whatever someone else wants to show us and wants us to think. In the extreme, this can lead to fear, lack of self-esteem, bullying and even war.

This started me thinking about the images people use within their businesses and how people react to them.

Many images we find online can enhance and show off our businesses to their best advantage. But some, like those I mentioned above, give a clear but inaccurate impression of something. Do such images draw customers to us, or would we lose them in the long run? And what about the images we and our friends put on social media? Can sharing the wrong kind of image sometimes have an adverse effect on what people think of us or our businesses?

All this got me thinking about the parameters we, as business owners, should bear in mind if we want to ensure our images send the right messages to our audiences. Here are some of my thoughts on the subject.

Our Logos

Once people find a logo for their business, they often stick with it. However, businesses change and sometimes go down unexpected paths, but the logo stays the same. Eventually, the logo no longer truly represents the business.

It’s a good idea to have a look at your logo after a period of time and see if it still resonates with your business, especially if the business has changed significantly. If you come to the conclusion that it feels out of date, don’t be afraid to update it. In fact, the change of logo can be utilised as a marketing event to bring fresh attention to your business. It can be a way of creating new interest from previous customers and of showing your current and potential customers that yours is a forward-thinking and evolving business.

How We Present Our Products and Services

In business, it’s important that we choose the images we use with care. Just because we love particular images doesn’t necessarily mean they accurately reflect our businesses. These images must speak to our potential customers, not just to us; we would be well advised to put ourselves in their shoes to choose the right one.

If the images don’t accurately reflect our businesses, we might lose the trust of our customers. We might also create confusion about what our companies actually do. For example, if you are a stationer, it’s better not to use images of trees or nature specifically designed to give the impression that your paper is eco-friendly and recyclable if it isn’t. Be honest with your customers. Many may not care about whether paper is ‘green’ or not, but be sure you don’t alienate the ones who do. If you want to go organic, then do so, but don’t pretend to be what you’re not through deceptive imagery.

If you sell products online, it is important to use extremely accurate photos. If products arrive that are a different size, style or strength to how they appeared in the photo, it is doubtful you will win a repeat customer, or earn any positive feedback/recommendations.

One tactic popular among a number of non-profit organisations is the use of shocking or controversial images. The idea is that they will trigger emotions and encourage people to donate to these various worthwhile causes. But this practice needs to be treated very carefully, as there is as much possibility of driving customers away as there is of attracting them. Some people will be shocked and not even look at the article in the effort to get past the picture as quickly as possible. Others will have become desensitised by all the images thrown at them during the course of their days. And, yes, some people will donate. Because it’s so hard to predict which way the wind will blow with shock images, I am not at all certain how successful they are as marketing tools.

Some years ago, a company I worked for invited someone from a children’s charity to come and speak to a group of us. It was a very interesting talk, and one of the things he told us has stuck firmly in my mind. He spoke about the pictures of children that were used in fostering campaigns – where the children were attractive and smiling and people could really imagine them in their homes. He said that these images were largely unhelpful, because many of the children he dealt with in the course of his day weren’t at all like that. Traumatised children rarely are. Therefore, a potential foster parent wasn’t getting the true picture of what fostering a child could mean. These children all desperately needed fostering and love, but their smiles might just take some time to come to the surface.

How We Present Ourselves

Some time ago, I went to have a professional photo taken. I was a bit taken aback when the photographer asked me if I’d like to be made to look younger! I was somewhat comforted by the fact that this was a standard question for him to ask. I know that I’m getting older, but being Photoshopped wasn’t something I had ever considered. I also didn’t want to put a younger version of myself out there and then get looks of confusion when I met people for the first time.

Then, another thought crossed my mind: How can I run an ethical business and, at the same time, portray myself inaccurately?

More importantly, what on earth is so wrong with getting older, anyway? I am sure many people prefer to deal with someone a bit older where certain businesses are concerned and wisdom and experience are prerequisites. Personally, I think that keeping our photos up to date is important and that they should be taken at least every 10 years.

This incident brought to mind a time back when I was participating in festivals. I once had a stand opposite a lady who did readings. Over her stand, she had hung a big banner with a picture of herself. I had a big shock when I actually saw her, as she looked a great deal older than she did in the picture. After watching her for a few days, I came to the conclusion that she would have been better off without the banner. Not only did it give the wrong impression, but it also became a source of amusement for some of the passers-by. While it’s fine to use pictures that relate to our accomplishments from the past, it is also necessary to be proud of the people we are today.

In this day and age of social media, we need to be even more aware of how we portray ourselves. Potential customers and business partners, to name but a few, can easily check us out online. I myself witnessed a former colleague checking out a potential employee on her Facebook page and coming to a number of conclusions even before meeting her. This doesn’t have to be a problem if we are diligent and aware that when we are on social media, we are potentially exposed to the world and anyone who might take an interest in us.

How Others Present Us on Social Media

I know that many of us aren’t going to have the paparazzi following us around trying to take demeaning and sensationalist photos of us (thank heaven!). However, photos and videos which we would prefer not to see the light of day can easily be circulated by people we know who think that ‘it’s just a joke’ and have no idea how damaging these can be to our reputations. If our business is high profile enough, these can go viral and cause us much embarrassment.

I believe each of us needs to decide what we are happy to show the world at large. Do we want our lives public or private? Of course, this varies between people. And that’s what makes life interesting; it would indeed be very dull if we were all the same. Some people genuinely wouldn’t worry if a compromising photo or a video of them blind drunk at a party went viral, just laughing it off. But others would be mortified and want to leave the country until the fuss died down. I think that we need to have a chat with ourselves and decide what is acceptable and what isn’t, and then act accordingly so that we never have reason to wish we hadn’t made that particular mistake.

I have tremendous respect for how singer Amanda Palmer dealt with the UK newspaper Daily Mail when they tried to make a scandal out of the fact that her breast was accidentally visible on stage at the Glastonbury Music Festival (but neglected to make any comment on her musical performance). Her very candid video response – entitled ‘Dear Daily Mail’ – went viral. It was funny and to the point AND she kept her dignity throughout, despite singing half of the song stark naked. I suspect she won’t have to worry much about negative body-image publicity in future! Here is the link for those who would like to see it and who aren’t averse to nudity and choice language: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_c7-nHHZ86o

Closing Thoughts

Seeing is NOT always believing. Many years ago I remember seeing a demonstration on how photos can be used to influence people. The first photo showed two men of different races walking down a road. The next showed one of the men standing with raised arms behind the other and throwing himself at the man in front. The third photo showed the man who was in front now sprawled on the ground. This sequence would make you think it was depicting one man attacking another. You could even take it further and assume it was a racial attack, due to the obvious differences in the men’s appearances. But then we were shown a fourth photo. In this one, we saw what was happening above the men’s heads. Something had fallen from a building, and it would have hit the first man had the second man not pushed him out of the way. It was a salutary lesson in not believing everything we see!

Especially with the advent of Photoshop and all the amazing graphics available to us, virtually everything we see is open to interpretation and/or adjustment. This makes it essential for us ethical marketers to be judicious in how we use images for our businesses. If a picture says a thousand words, let’s make sure ours say the right words – for our businesses, for our customers and for ourselves.

Have you knowledge or experience in the use of images that you would like to share? Or maybe you have a different opinion? I would be really interested to hear from you. Please feel free to use the comment box below so we can chat about this important subject.

Sue Ellam
5th September 2014

Sue is a graduate of our 7 Graces ‘Foundations of Ethical Marketing’ course. To find out more about this course and our growing community of ethical marketers, CLICK HERE to to come along to our FREE info call on 24th September.

Sue-EllamSUE ELLAM is fascinated by the power of mind over matter and was initially guided towards spiritual healing and medium-ship. She is a professionally trained graphologist of 21 years standing and has travelled extensively using this skill, as well as that of tarot reading, participating in many festivals worldwide. Currently she is developing Soulfully Connecting which is a global website dedicated to the healing of mind, body, soul and planet. Her vision is to connect like-minded individuals around the world through the sharing of knowledge, providing a platform so that the change-makers can be seen, appreciated and supported.

Sue is a graduate of the 7 Graces Foundations of Ethical Marketing course.

Twitter: @soulfullysue

Like this blog?

Then please subscribe using the form at the upper right side of this page, so you can receive our articles to your inbox.

KINDLE users

You can help subsidise ethical marketing training courses for young social entrepreneurs in need. Just subscribe to the blog on Amazon for 99 cents a month (77p UK), and you’ll receive all our articles delivered directly to your Kindle device. All profits go to our 7 Graces Scholarship Fund. You can take a 14-day free trial before you decide. You’ll get a new article 2 or 3 times per week. Check it out at Amazon US or Amazon UK.

Looking for a Tribe?

Come join our 7 Graces group on Facebook, and join us at our monthly meetings. They’re free to attend and we have them both in person and online, so you can participate from anywhere in the world. This is NOT a “business group” but an active community where people actually know and support each other.

Find out more about how changing the paradigm can help make the world a better place:

The 7 Graces of Marketing BOOK COVER The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sell, by Lynn Serafinn, where you can learn how the 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Graces impact the world through media and marketing. Brit Writers Awards Finalist eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian & Ecological Social Issues

 

Tweep-e-licious: 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically by Lynn Serafinn, which can help you learn how to create meaningful collaborations through Twitter and other social media. eLit Book Awards Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.

Get instant access to a free 90-minute Twitter marketing class at http://tweepelicious.com

The Social Entrepreneur's Guide to Successful BloggingComing later in 2014

The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging: An Effective, Creative & Ethical Way of Marketing for Visionaries & New Paradigm Business Leaders. To receive an update when that book is available, just click here. As a thank-you gift for showing your interest, you’ll get instant access to an exclusive, free 5-page PDF revealing the exact same blogging template we use with our clients and we teach to participants on the ethical marketing training courses at the 7 Graces Project.


Lynn Serafinn author of The 7 Graces of Marketing LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales. Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors.

Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project CIC, a not-for-profit social enterprise created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.

7 Graces Project CIC

Twitter: http://twitter.com/7GracesMarketng

Facebook: http://facebook.com/groups/7GracesGlobalGarden

MeetUp: http://www.meetup.com/7-Graces-Global-Community-London

(not just for Londoners, as we meet also on Skype)

Posted in 7 Deadly Sins, 7 Graces, Blog, Community Blogger, Deception, Marketing Tips, Sue Ellam, Transparency | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Deb Scott on Her New Book, ‘Social Media for the Rest of Us’

Deb Scott on Her New Book, Social Media for the Rest of Us
Lynn Serafinn interviews author and popular Internet radio host Deb Scott, who shares her insights on how to market yourself ethically using social media.

Today I have the great pleasure of interviewing author, coach and radio host Deb Scott. Deb and I met five years ago (when I was still fleshing out the ideas for The 7 Graces of Marketing)while we both participated in the ‘Next Top Spiritual Author’ contest. Although technically Deb and I were ‘competing’ against one another in the contest, a remarkable thing happened. We – along with many others in the contest – actually started creating a collaborative network. We invented ways – such as podcasts, webinars and social media campaigns – to help support each other’s work.

To this day, many of us are still great friends, and we continue to collaborate as network partners on many marketing campaigns. Amongst those lovely people, Deb stands out as someone I can always call upon (and, I hope, vice versa). She’s been a partner on many of my clients’ book launches. I had the great pleasure of interviewing Deb on my (now defunct) radio show and for online telesummits. Deb has also interviewed me many times on her top-ranking BlogTalkRadio show The Best People We Know.

Now, Deb has written a new Kindle e-book called Social Media for the Rest of Us, which came out earlier this month. I was away on holiday during her launch, but I’ve been told it’s doing exceptionally well, reaching #1 of all books in the category ‘Social Media for Business’ and #2 in ‘Social Media 2.0’ and ‘Social Media How To’.

To help spread the word about Deb’s book, I’ve asked her to do a little virtual interview with me today on specific topics around the ethics and practice of online marketing that I believe would be of interest to our 7 Graces audience. I hope you’ll enjoy Deb’s insights.

LYNN: Deb, our 7 Graces audience are all socially minded business owners who are devoted to ethical practice. What are some of the ethical issues you’ve noticed with how some less-scrupulous marketers use social media?

DEB: Real success in using social media for business is all down to partnering with the right people. But in finding partners, one of the greatest challenges is dealing with people who say one thing and do another. There are many not-so-ethical people out there who claim to be genuinely supportive but in fact are simply opportunist and have no interest in using social media to help others or connect with them. They are only interested in the ‘All-About-ME’ show, rather than the ‘All-About-WE’ show.

In my eyes, those who achieve real, long-term success in social media are those who are not only ethical but also generous. They are the people who give without expecting anything in return. The wise soul on social media is able to distinguish the givers from the takers – the real-deal people from the empty opportunists. They can find and connect with people like you and the 7 Graces community you have built – people who seek the higher good of a win-win relationship for client and provider.

But just because ethical marketers don’t expect anything in return doesn’t mean they don’t get anything from their efforts. I know from experience that when you take the time to do your homework and partner with the right people, you will easily reap the benefits of social-media marketing.

LYNN: Why do you think social media is important for the business owner today? What advantages come to those who spend the time to master it for their businesses?

DEB: The primary advantage is that you are able to connect with like-minded people from all around the world. That opens up a whole new world of partners and potential clients/customers. This is what I love most about it. I believe that we are whom we associate with, and if we associate with genuinely enthusiastic people of honest intent, it will always breed success.

People’s wants and needs, desires and hopes, struggles and successes are all the same under the skin suit. There are about 7 billion people on the planet today and, regardless of what continents they happen to live on, many of them are seeking the solution you have to their problems – both personal and professional. Being available on social media enables us to help more people solve those problems and make their lives and/or businesses better.

It’s important to remember that when you take the time to build real ‘social media relationships’, you are actually building real relationships with real people. And real people create real results.

LYNN: In your experience, what are the practical and/or emotional obstacles most business owners face when they first try to use social media? What advice do you have to help them leap over those hurdles?

DEB: My first piece of advice would be to remember:

‘Small hinges open big doors!’

It is so important to redefine social-media success and not buy the lie that more is always better. Is success defined merely by how many Twitter followers or Facebook fans someone has? It shouldn’t be; you don’t know how many of those fans and followers have been purchased for the sake of appearance. People who ‘buy’ fans may have followers, but they don’t have people. They may have numbers, but not clients. They may even make a quick sale here and there, but they do not have a thriving business of loyal customers.

I know it’s difficult not to get wrapped up in the emotional element of the social-media rat race, but when you compare, you despair. You are in competition with no one except yourself. Making progress is itself perfection. I always advise people to create a profile on each of the ‘big four’ social networks: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. I believe true success begins as soon as you create an account. It means you have begun. Simply being present with integrity and the intention to offer real value is the foundation for true success.

And this is another point I feel compelled to share: please do not be shaken, surprised or discouraged when you get the inevitable negative post, Tweet or bad review. There will always be people who are jealous, hateful and mean for no reason. If you put yourself out there in the world, you must expect the bad with the good. The key is to learn from these experiences.

Remain humble, and keep moving forward. Be pushed by your passion, not pulled by your problems.

LYNN: You and I met several years ago when we were participating in the ‘Next Top Spiritual Author’ contest. I find it really interesting that both you and I now work with business owners on their marketing. Do you think there’s a connection between a spiritual mindset and marketing? And if so, how is it different from other approaches to marketing?

DEB: Yes, I absolutely think there’s a connection, Lynn!

I have discovered a new generation and global movement. A new hybrid niche of business and spirituality/self-help has been born.

Business owners and marketers are finally waking up to the fact people want to be treated like people and not sales statistics. Modern consumers are asking more questions around ethics and values. They want to know things like: ‘What do you offer that is unique? What is different about you? Do you just want to make a quick sale, or are you interested in learning about what I do, too? Do you want to compete or collaborate? Are you honest in what you are marketing to me? Can I trust you?’

To succeed in business today, we must put people first and product second. If you have a great product, it will eventually catch on. Keep high standards with each person you have the privilege to meet; do the right thing in the right way, and the results will be a natural consequence of your hard work.

LYNN: You’ve called your e-book Social Media for the Rest of Us. That makes me want to ask: Who are ‘the rest of us’? Whom specifically is this book for? Why did you feel this particular audience needed a special guide to social media?

DEB: The ‘rest of us’ are people who want to learn practical tips to using the big four social media platforms but are driven to do it ethically and with passion, persistence and a long-term vision of success. This can include anyone from the beginner to the seasoned professional.

The ‘rest of us’ are people who actually care about people! We care about getting positive results, but we are not willing to compromise our moral compasses to get there.

The ‘rest of us’ have a conscience.

LYNN: I know your e-book launched earlier this month. Can you give people a brief overview of what they’ll learn from it when they buy it?

In the book, I share tips I have taken years to grasp through both the school of hard knocks and hours of detailed research. I wanted to appeal to the person who likes easy-to-understand, transparent explanations and learns better with visual graphics.

In the book, I talk about the differences and advantages of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. I show people how to create compelling and searchable profiles and how to find their niche audiences. I talk about how to spot the frauds and how to measure your success using Klout and Kred.

I also tell where readers can to go for more information on each platform with experts they can really trust to tell them the truth – such as you, Lynn.

It was also important for me to create something affordable – under two dollars – for people on a budget. That way, I’m hoping anyone, beginner or veteran, can find something of real value to implement immediately.

One of my customers left a review on Amazon that said, I am recommending to all my friends!’ To me, this sums up the key point of our discussion today. Success in ethical marketing can be measured in how your customers answer one straight-forward, common-sense question:

Would you recommend this person, product or service to a friend?

If they say yes, you’ve done your job as a marketer.

In parting, I’d like to leave your readers with one last word of encouragement:

Keep going and don’t quit.

Remember: it takes time to become an overnight success.

Social Media for the Rest of Us by Deb ScottYou can find Deb’s book, Social Media for the Rest of Us, on Amazon Kindle at http://amzn.to/1AQo61z.

Lynn Serafinn
29 August 2014

Like this blog?

Then please subscribe using the form at the upper right side of this page, so you can receive our articles to your inbox.

KINDLE users 

You can help subsidise ethical marketing training courses for young social entrepreneurs in need. Just subscribe to the blog on Amazon for 99 cents a month (77p UK), and you’ll receive all our articles delivered directly to your Kindle device. All profits go to our 7 Graces Scholarship Fund. You can take a 14-day free trial before you decide. You’ll get a new article 2 or 3 times per week. Check it out at Amazon US or Amazon UK.

Looking for a Tribe? 

Come join our 7 Graces group on Facebook, and join us at our monthly meetings. They’re free to attend and we have them both in person and online, so you can participate from anywhere in the world. This is NOT a “business group” but an active community where people actually know and support each other.

Find out more about how changing the paradigm can help make the world a better place:

The 7 Graces of Marketing BOOK COVER The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sellby Lynn Serafinn, where you can learn how the 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Graces impact the world through media and marketing. Brit Writers Awards Finalist eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian & Ecological Social Issues

 

Tweep-e-licious: 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically by Lynn Serafinn, which can help you learn how to create meaningful collaborations through Twitter and other social media. eLit Book Awards Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.

Get instant access to a free 90-minute Twitter marketing class at http://tweepelicious.com

The Social Entrepreneur's Guide to Successful BloggingComing later in 2014

The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging: An Effective, Creative & Ethical Way of Marketing for Visionaries & New Paradigm Business Leaders. To receive an update when that book is available, just click here. As a thank-you gift for showing your interest, you’ll get instant access to an exclusive, free 5-page PDF revealing the exact same blogging template we use with our clients and we teach to participants on the ethical marketing training courses at the 7 Graces Project.


Lynn Serafinn author of The 7 Graces of Marketing LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales. Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors.

Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project CIC, a not-for-profit social enterprise created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.

7 Graces Project CIC

Twitter: http://twitter.com/7GracesMarketng

Facebook: http://facebook.com/groups/7GracesGlobalGarden

MeetUp: http://www.meetup.com/7-Graces-Global-Community-London

(not just for Londoners, as we meet also on Skype)

 

 

 

Posted in Book, Book Launch, Lynn Serafinn, Marketing Tips, News, Social Media | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When Do Your Online Communications Become Defamatory?

defamatory
7 Graces Community Member and lawyer Lubna Gem Arielle talks about the effect of our words and explains how some online comments can be considered defamatory.

Our super-connected digital world has enabled us all to share our voices and opinions in public. Many of us have a social media presence doing just this, whether we are blogging, tweeting or joining in conversations on other platforms. The fast pace of these media can make it tempting to ‘shoot from the hip’ and say things without thinking. Later, we may suffer from the unintended consequences of our own words – especially when social media can make even a casual comment spread like wildfire.

Earlier this year, there were reports of an avoidable mess triggered by the release of a new vacuum cleaner. The British manufacturer Dyson claimed Samsung (of Korea) was infringing its patents, issued a claim and made public statements that Samsung was ripping off its design. Samsung responded with a defamation action in the Korean courts claiming compensation for $9.4 million on the basis that Dyson had sullied its reputation.

The Dyson/Samsung spat is between well-known household names with a huge sum at stake and the Korean court will need to unravel the facts to decide which laws apply under the complex rules of private international law. But in spite of these complexities, the general themes around defamation apply to ALL of us. Whatever the size or shape of our businesses, it pays to give some consideration to our comments and to understand when they amount to defamation.

And ethically, we may also wish to step back and look at the bigger picture, so we become more careful before we find ourselves sliding into the grubbier realms of gossip.

What Is Defamation?

Defamation is the law’s take on words that wound. The purpose of laws around defamation is to prevent attacks on someone’s reputation. There are two main types of defamation:

  • Slander refers to transient forms of defamation; these are generally words that are spoken, such as in conversations or meetings etc.
  • Libel refers to more permanent forms of defamation such as those which are written or broadcast, e.g. printed, audio recordings, film, etc.

Laws vary across the world as to whether or not a statement is considered defamatory. So if you find yourself in an actual quandary, you will need to obtain legal advice in the jurisdiction in which you are based.

As a UK lawyer, I can really only speak about the position in the United Kingdom (more specifically, in England and Wales), where the law recently changed with the introduction of the Defamation Act of 2013 (‘the Act’), which came into force on the 1st of January, 2014. I’ll be exploring the subject from that perspective.

Does a Statement Cause ‘Serious Harm’?

The new Act included a change so that it is no longer enough for someone to complain that a defamatory statement has been made about him or her, but s/he must now show that the statement causes ‘serious harm’ to his or her reputation. This change was heralded allowing greater freedom by putting an end to ‘trivial’ claims.

Meanwhile, those of us looking at the gloomier side muttered at the lack of clarity: what precisely do they mean by ‘serious harm’?

The concept in itself wasn’t altogether strange, because prior to the Act, case law had been heading towards defining the threshold of seriousness when considering damage to someone’s reputation.

Nonetheless, the words ‘serious harm’ in the new statute left many lawyers a little empty and resulted in a flurry of excitement as the first court judgment on the issue was handed down on August 13th of this year. The case concerned an action brought by Midland Heart housing association and its chief executive, Ruth Cooke, in relation to an article in the Sunday Mirror about the renting out of poorly maintained properties to benefits claimants on a street which had been immortalised in the Channel 4 series Benefits Street.

The article included a paragraph:

Three more homes in the road where residents claim they have been portrayed as scroungers and lowlife [sic] by Channel 4 are owned by the Midland Heart housing association. Its chief, Ruth Cooke, 45, earns £179,000 a year and lives in a large house in Stroud, Glos.

The Sunday Mirror removed the paragraph from the online publication and issued an apology in the newspaper the following week. The court held that the company’s reputation had not been damaged and was influenced by the effectiveness of the apology, which had been more prominent than the initial paragraph.

In assessing what might have been considered serious harm, the judge indicated some height to the threshold, but it is still far from set. The forward movement is that ‘serious’ is more than ‘substantial’ on the basis that in finalising the legislation, the wording ‘serious harm’ was chosen over ‘substantial harm’.

Although the case does not give the clarity hoped for, it does offer us some useful practical guidance: if someone alleges that you have made a defamatory statement and you don’t have a defence, you might be able to assuage potential harm by swiftly:

  • Issuing an apology and
  • Removing any questionable statements from your website, social media, etc.

Truth, Honest Opinion and Publication in the Public Interest

The law of defamation has always allowed some balance and leeway in expressing oneself to balance with the rights of free speech. This is reflected in the new Act in a series of defences. For example:

  • The word ‘truth’ replaces what was previously referred to in a defence as ‘justification’. Essentially, where what is conveyed is substantially true, a statement will not be defamatory.
  • The words ‘honest opinion’ replace what was known as ‘honest comment’, allowing for an opinion based on facts.
  • The term ‘publication in the public interest’ widens a fairly detailed concept of ‘privilege’. Essentially, it allows the publication of a statement which, even though it is not categorically true or a genuinely held opinion, is on a matter of public interest and the publisher reasonably believes that publishing it is in the public interest.

Rumours on Twitter

Twitter kudos seem to hinge on having one’s witticisms retweeted ad nauseam. But this can be a double-edged sword, as illustrated in the case of McAlpine v Bercow (2013), wherein the court considered the meaning of a Tweet and whether or not it was defamatory.

The Tweet in question, posted by Sally Bercow, said:

‘Why is Lord McAlpine trending? *Innocent face*’

This Tweet – which was posted shortly after a Newsnight story referring to ‘an unnamed senior Conservative politician accused of child abuse’ – was analysed in depth by the court. Eventually, the judge concluded that the Tweet meant:

‘The Claimant was a paedophile who was guilty of sexually abusing boys living in care.’

The judge also held that this statement was defamatory. This case was a landmark in confirming that a statement made on social media is legally subject to as much scrutiny as any other.

Legal Consequences Are Only Part of the Effect of Our Words

Speaking without thinking is a slip-up almost all of us make at one time or another, especially when acting in haste or under pressure. There may be no malevolence. Sometimes, our egos can get in the way, and saying something funny or clever can seem more important than being kind. Other times, saying something untoward may be entirely intentional – a quick fix for the affronted.

Whatever the backdrop, we all know that words cannot be unsaid. This is illustrated beautifully in the traditional story ‘A Pillow Full of Feathers’, wherein a rabbi shows a gossipmonger how spreading rumours is like casting feathers into the wind: once they are dispersed, you cannot simply gather them all up again. A throwaway remark can be repeated and become, ultimately, indelible.

As graceful business owners, we can choose to take responsibility for the outcomes of our communications. We can be mindful of the power of our words and of whether or not they are likely to cause damage to another’s business or reputation.

As in any decision between right and wrong, the legal component is just a morsel in a cornucopia that contains everything we hold as truly important – our personal ethics, our business ethics, our brand values, our personal qualities, our wisdom and our reputations.

The Grace of Connection

In her book The 7 Graces of Marketing, 7 Graces Founder Lynn Serafinn talks about the three kinds of music as defined by the ancient Greeks: musica instrumentalis, musica mundana and musica humana. These, she says, forge ‘three pathways of connection’. Of these three, musica humana – or ‘the music of the heart’ – is the ultimate connection that allows us to express who we really are and to connect deeply with others. Obviously, using words to undermine a competitor or to look good at someone else’s expense can never bring us to a more connected state of being.

Of course, it is a personal choice. If you decide that the ultimate aim of your missives is to connect with customers and others rather than to create an image or to sell your wares, then you are choosing the Grace of Connection.

I believe that using the Grace of Connection as a starting point – along with guidelines from the law – can enable us to navigate the potential tripwires in social media and other communications without too much anguish or conflict.

As the poet Hafiz says,

What is the key
To untie the knot of the mind’s suffering?

 Benevolent thought, sound
And movement.

Until next time,

Lubna Gem Arielle
22 August 2014

Lubna Gem ArielleLUBNA GEM ARIELLE is lawyer who went back to art school and has a portfolio career. As a legal educator, she lectures on MA programmes at Sotheby’s Institute of Art and Birkbeck, makes law accessible for creatives as a professional speaker and is a writer/presenter for Legal Network Television. She is a legal adviser to Artquest, providing advice to visual artists. In her creative practice, Lubna works with ways of sharing information, stories and knowledge and the interplay across real and virtual media. Her current project is 6 Minute Bites, and has included ‘teaching in Tweets’, live events, and using improvisation exercises and role play to disseminate legal know-how to creatives. She is also a legal experiential practitioner with the Personal Communications Academy.

Lubna is a graduate of the 7 Graces Foundations of Ethical Marketing Course and member of the 7 Graces community and the Professional Speaking Association.

CLICK HERE to read other articles by Lubna on this website.

Lubna on Twitter @info_bites

Lubna’s Website: http://www.6minutebites.com

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Looking for a Tribe? 

Come join our 7 Graces group on Facebook, and join us at our monthly meetings. They’re free to attend and we have them both in person and online, so you can participate from anywhere in the world. This is NOT a “business group” but an active community where people actually know and support each other.

Find out more about how changing the paradigm can help make the world a better place:

The 7 Graces of Marketing BOOK COVER The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sellby Lynn Serafinn, where you can learn how the 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Graces impact the world through media and marketing. Brit Writers Awards Finalist eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian & Ecological Social Issues

 

Tweep-e-licious: 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically by Lynn Serafinn, which can help you learn how to create meaningful collaborations through Twitter and other social media. eLit Book Awards Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.

Get instant access to a free 90-minute Twitter marketing class at http://tweepelicious.com

The Social Entrepreneur's Guide to Successful BloggingComing later in 2014

The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging: An Effective, Creative & Ethical Way of Marketing for Visionaries & New Paradigm Business Leaders. To receive an update when that book is available, just click here. As a thank-you gift for showing your interest, you’ll get instant access to an exclusive, free 5-page PDF revealing the exact same blogging template we use with our clients and we teach to participants on the ethical marketing training courses at the 7 Graces Project.


Lynn Serafinn author of The 7 Graces of Marketing LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales. Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors.

Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project CIC, a not-for-profit social enterprise created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.

7 Graces Project CIC

Twitter: http://twitter.com/7GracesMarketng

Facebook: http://facebook.com/groups/7GracesGlobalGarden

MeetUp: http://www.meetup.com/7-Graces-Global-Community-London

(not just for Londoners, as we meet also on Skype)

 

Posted in 7 Graces, Blog, Community Blogger, Connection, Law and Legal Tips, Lubna Gem Arielle, Relationship with Others | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment