The Great DropBox Hacker Scandal: Keep Calm and Carry On!

The Great DropBox Hacker Scandal
Lynn Serafinn tells how to keep your DropBox account secure, and suggests ethical, responsible ways to respond to hackers and other blips in cyberspace.

Yesterday, there was a big buzz on social media suggesting that DropBox, the preferred cloud storage service for so many of us, had been hacked.

Before I say anything more, let me assure you:

Nobody hacked into DropBox.

Some unscrupulous person(s) stole a few hundred expired DropBox user names and passwords from someone else (not DropBox, apparently). They then shared them on the popular bookmarking site Reddit, with a promise to share millions more if people gave them money.

Yes, I know. It sounds insane.

When the alarm went out, DropBox was quick to respond, explaining that the usernames and passwords ‘were unfortunately stolen from other services and used in attempts to log into Dropbox accounts’. They went on to assure users that the passwords shared were all expired and useless.

The bottom line of all this:

DropBox itself was NOT hacked and there is no imminent threat to DropBox users.

I thought I’d get that out of the way as quickly as possible.

Nonetheless, as soon as the words ‘DropBox’ and ‘hacked’ leaked into the social net, people went into a panic. Many on Twitter, Facebook or in blog comment threads used it as an opportunity to ‘dis’ DropBox in favour of other cloud platforms. Others worked themselves into paranoia about the safety of cloud storage altogether.

Not Catering to Hacker Mentality

I can’t pretend to understand the mentality of a hacker, and I’m sure different hackers are motivated by different things. For example, in this scenario, they may have been targeting DropBox specifically, or they may have merely seized a random opportunity that presented itself. Regardless of their specific motivations, the one thing I’m certain every hacker desires is viral public reaction. As far as they’re concerned, the more panic they create, the better.

What’s interesting is that such panic often causes as much (or more) harm as the actual ‘attack’ (depending upon the extent of the attack, of course). An imagined threat can be just as powerful a force as a real one. To see an example of this, we only need to think back to the late 1990s when many people were hoarding food, household products and even guns in fear of the so-called Y2K doomsday, when the world of technology was supposed to end.

Cyber-terrorism is both unethical and irresponsible; the ends will never justify the means, especially when millions of people depend upon technology for their livelihood in one form or another. Even if hackers are trying to make some sort of idealistic or political statement, their actions can never be considered acceptable, as their ultimate aim is to create widespread social disturbance.

But no matter how destructive hackers are, I believe we, the public, have a duty of care when responding to such ‘attacks’, whether real or imagined. Even if hackers are unethical and irresponsible, it is up to us to respond to hackers ethically and responsibly.

What do I mean by that? I mean we should respond to cyber-attacks the same way we would respond to a natural disaster or other catastrophe:

  1. We take proper precautions to ensure our own safety.
  2. We don’t spread rumours without knowing the facts.
  3. We don’t contribute to public panic by allowing our own fear or anger to take over.

It’s not about being kind and understanding to hackers. It’s about being personally and socially responsible. Let’s walk through these three steps as they apply to the DropBox ‘scandal’.

How to Ensure the Safety of Your DropBox Account

Many times, when someone’s online account or blog gets hacked, it’s partially because they didn’t take the right precautions. Their passwords were too easy to guess (usually because they wanted to remember them) and they didn’t set up any extra security on their site or account. Last year, I wrote an article on ways to prevent your blog from getting hacked. After all, as the old saying goes, ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’

This adage is no less relevant when it comes to cloud storage. Ensuring the safety of your DropBox account is really easy, as long as you take these precautions:

  1. Log into your DropBox account ONLINE (http://dropbox.com) and change your password. Be sure it’s a COMPLEX password that includes upper/lowercase letters, numbers and at least one symbol (such as ?!$, etc.). Do not use whole words or sequential number patterns.
  2. After you change your password, go to your account settings and enable the ’2-step verification’ process. This extra step will require you to enter a verification code (DropBox will text this code to your mobile phone) when you log into a new device for the first time. This means no one else will be able to log into your account unless they have your mobile phone. You can also enter a backup phone number to use in case the other one gets lost or stolen.
  3. Change your password regularly (at least every couple of months). If you haven’t changed it since the recent ‘scare’, do it now, just in case. It’s not going to hurt anything.

Some people worry the 2-step verification will make it hard to access DropBox, but this is not the case. If you have downloaded DropBox onto your computer, you will still be able to access all your files from your documents list without having to log in. The log-in and verification are only used when you or someone else tries to access your account via the DropBox website (as a hacker would have to).

Don’t Spread Rumours without Knowing the Facts

Now let’s look at the wider issue of personal and social responsibility in the face of cyber-invaders.

It’s so tempting (and easy) to ReTweet and share things we see in cyberspace. But if we share things based solely upon the headlines without checking the facts behind them, we could unwittingly be giving strength to hoaxes and contributing to public frenzy.

Photos can be ‘visual rumours’ just as much as words can be verbal ones. Recently, one of my colleagues on Facebook exposed viral photos of alleged public disasters, all of which seem to have the same people in them. I remember back when Hurricane Sandy hit the shores of New Jersey, thousands of people on Twitter and Facebook passed around an ominous image that was allegedly a photo of the eye of the storm, when it was actually a still shot from a Hollywood disaster film. I have no idea who started the ‘practical joke’, but I don’t find this kind of noise particularly funny or helpful when so many people were in such genuine danger.

One of the main reasons I assured you DropBox had NOT been hacked right at the top of this article is that I know people often scan what they read online and then repeat what they’ve scanned. If I didn’t cut to the chase quickly, many people might have clicked away in a big panic and given energy to the rumour by passing around half-truths. It was better to nip the rumour in the bud, and explain the details after.

Don’t Allow Your Fear or Anger to Take Over

Hackers are like arsonists: they light the ‘fire’ and get excited when it goes out of control and creates a panic. When we allow our emotions to get out of control online, we’re only adding fuel to that fire, and giving greater satisfaction to the hacker. Really, the best way to diffuse a hacker (after you’ve put your technical precautions in place) is to ‘keep calm and carry on’.

It’s natural to feel violated when someone hacks into our account, and it’s difficult not to feel outraged. But if we allow our fears and anger to get the best of us, we’re bound to say things that contribute to other people’s fear and anger in a less than constructive way.

For example, the vast majority of the blog comments left on the articles I read about the DropBox issue blurred the issue and created a lot of irrelevant ‘noise’. Buried amidst all the shouting were a few useful comments, but I had to trawl through a lot of pointless venting and opportunistic spamming before I found them. While there’s nothing categorically wrong with people expressing their feelings, it was entirely misdirected: rather than attack DropBox and ‘the cloud’, they should have been angry at the hackers. Thus, I felt most of the commentary to be irresponsible, as it only served to distort the facts and contribute to public panic.

Expressing our emotions in a reckless way online (whether in words or images) can unsettle emotions in others. I cannot count the number of times (especially on Facebook and YouTube) I’ve seen someone post a provocative statement, video or image, only to result in a mud-slinging match of nasty, personal insults and even racists remarks. A few years ago, a good friend of mine sent me a photo he had seen, because he found it disturbing and didn’t know what to make of it. This photo depicted an atrocity being performed by a group of people from a specific ethnic group. Even though it was immediately apparent to me that this photo was a fake and had been doctored in Photoshop for the purpose of creating feelings of hatred toward that ethnic group, it upset me. In fact, I still feel sickened when I think of it.

But here are the big questions: How many others had shared this photo before (and after) my friend had shared it with me? How many of them felt anger boil inside them at the apparent atrocity they saw in the photo? How many of them had silent thoughts of bigotry (or at least racial stereotypes), as a result of seeing it? How many of them actually spoke these thoughts aloud? What really happened as a result of this fake picture? My guess is that, sadly, far more people became angry at the ethnic group than at the creators of the fake photo. Again, it’s a case of misdirected emotions.

When we express our thoughts and emotions in a socially responsible way, we stop the cycle of lies, hatred, snap judgements and destructiveness. When we take time to discern fact from fabrication, and give some forethought to the impact we’re likely to create by our responses, we start to quell the fires of the cyber-arsonists. We become conduits for useful information. We inspire respectful debate. We invite others to share their insights and we encourage collaborative problem-solving.

In short, when we make the choice to engage in constructive dialogue rather than succumb to the wildfire of a viral rant, we become living examples of all the 7 Graces :

7 Graces and 7 Deadly Sins of MarketingClosing Thoughts

I started this article talking about the supposed DropBox ‘hack’. While I hope the tips I’ve shared are useful to you in protecting your account, I hope you will consider some of the points I made about how we respond to hackers and other online ‘scandals’.

It really is a matter of choosing whether we want to be part of the problem or part of the solution.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, I’m sure you’re the latter. If so, I invite you to subscribe so you can receive our twice-weekly articles, and join us in our ever-evolving 7 Graces community on Facebook.

Warm wishes,
Lynn Serafinn
15 October 2014

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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

 

Posted in 7 Graces, Blog, Business Tips, Collaboration, Inspiration, Invitation, Lynn Serafinn, Marketing Tips, New Paradigm, News, Relationship with Others, Social Media, Twitter | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How ‘Inviting’ Are Your Terms and Conditions?

How ‘Inviting’ Are Your Terms and Conditions?
7 Graces community member and lawyer Lubna Gem Arielle tells how defining your company’s procedures can become a positive and value-based asset to your business.

Here’s a quick test. I’d like you to take a deep breath and answer one simple question without thinking.

Ready? Breathe in. Breathe out. And go:

When I say the word ‘law’, what’s the first thought that springs to your mind?

Now, I’m guessing that many of you have the taste of metal in your mouth; or maybe your stomach has knotted. Maybe you are frowning. Or maybe the words or concepts that have sprung to mind are things like: rules… boring… policing… slow… complicated… expensive… hurdle…

You can admit it. Even though I am a lawyer, I won’t be hurt or surprised if you are not full of wide-eyed wonder. I’m all too aware of the corner legal matters get thrown into – the corner of last resort. Law is often the afterthought, the thing you look at when it all goes wrong and the thing you worry is going to burn up all your money.

In my experience, many people equate law with dealing with problems and fighting court cases. That side of the law usually is fraught, expensive and, actually, avoidable. However, there is whole other terrain to law that is forward-looking and geared for avoiding problems and disputes in the first place.

The Brighter Side of Law

What many entrepreneurs and businesses overlook is the creative, cheerful side of the law: the process of setting up your business for success by ensuring that you put appropriate business and legal frameworks in place. And for many businesses, this includes having clear and robust terms of business – AKA ‘Terms and Conditions’ or standard client contract.

I’ll refer to them here as T&Cs.

These legal niceties are too often neglected or put into place without ensuring that they really fit. ‘Too little, too late’ is often a recipe for disaster. Almost all of my commercial-litigator friends (those who deal with business disputes) agree that businesses could save thousands or even tens of thousands of pounds in litigation costs – not to speak of irretrievable time and untold misery – simply by having spent a teeny-tiny proportion of that to define their T&Cs at the outset. Disputes often arise because obligations and responsibilities weren’t set out clearly – or even talked through at all – so there isn’t a mechanism to deal with a particular issue. The parties often can’t agree what to do when things go wrong, because their ideas of what is fair or reasonable or what should happen are poles apart.

Defining your T&Cs need not be an ordeal. Here are five tips to make your T&Cs work hard for your business, rather than making them hard work.

TIP 1. Write Your T&Cs to Fit Your Business

In other words, don’t let your T&Cs tell you how to run your business. This might sound obvious, but the inbuilt danger of using T&Cs you have bought online or borrowed from a friend is that they reflect someone else’s business processes instead of your own. T&Cs should accurately reflect the way you do business and your processes. To achieve this, your processes need to come first, not the other way round.

Never resort to ‘standard’ terms or templates; they have been written either for someone else’s business or for an imaginary, generic one. So, at best, they will be clunky and vaguely acceptable; at worst, they will be like trying to force a square peg into a round hole.

TIP 2: Do It Early

Start developing your T&Cs early on by reviewing what policies or procedures you already have in place, and what have yet to be defined. For example, have you decided how you will deal with cancellations or complaints? If so, capture your processes and procedures as you formulate them in practice and then standardise them into a policy. This saves time in the long run and helps you avoid having to re-cover old ground later on down the line.

Attending to your T&Cs also enables you to plan and develop your business with more rigour. It’s a prompt to think about the workings of your business, enabling you to pre-empt any potential glitches, insert mechanisms for dealing with them and avoid future disputes. Thus, it actually serves a dual purpose.

TIP 3: Choose Your Language Carefully

Any communications expert will tell you that everything your business does will reflect on your branding. This includes your T&Cs. If, as a forward-thinking business owner, your core values include integrity or kindness, why would you want T&Cs written in eye-watering language or microscopic font size? Using clear language in a style that is similar to (or at least not entirely at odds with) your business ethos will be more ‘on brand’.

Direct and transparent communications allow clients to understand what they are signing. Their expectations can be set from the outset, thus avoiding disputes further down the line.

Editor’s side note:
Directness and Transparency are two of the 7 Graces of Marketing.

TIP 4: Know When to Engage a Lawyer

In the early stages of setting up a business, your resources can be stretched. If you are still in the process of developing your offering, it may be premature to start thinking about allocating any of your budget to legal fees. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a problem. It is possible to write your own simple contract spelling out your T&Cs. If this is your only option, even a DIY contract could help keep you out of a lot of trouble.

However, you must bear in mind that such a DIY contract may help cover the basics, but it won’t be comprehensive. You’ll need a lawyer to advise you on more complicated topics you may not be deeply familiar with, like how far you can legitimately attempt to limit your liability, or how to deal with compliance and regulatory issues such as entering into contracts with consumers.

Even if you already have a DIY contract, I suggest obtaining tailored, professional T&Cs as soon as you can. In high-value, regulated or high-risk areas such as employment or investment, I always recommend that you obtain legal advice.

TIP 5: Invoke the Grace of Invitation

As I’ve suggested above, having jargon-riddled, muddled and poorly laid-out T&Cs in a miniscule font is not a good idea. It can even be – in 7 Graces parlance – downright ‘invasive’ (Invasion being one of the 7 Deadly Sins of marketing ).

For example, many larger businesses have standard T&Cs that are completely one sided and aggressive. They may even seem arbitrary or capricious. We, the weary customers, are meant to smile sweetly and agree without questioning them. These one-sided T&Cs often arise because any well-intended lawyer wants to ensure their client that they are in a strong position, which then gets translated into ‘the client gets all they can’. Businesses often buy into this mean, tough stance.

The truth is, however, that these T&Cs may not actually stand up in a court of law if they are challenged. But many businesses will use them anyway on the assumption that they are unlikely to be challenged by their customers. After all, even if a customer realises that taking them to court is an option, the cost of doing so is often disproportionate to the issue or possible outcome.

But I believe there is an alternative way to approach T&Cs.

As a 7 Graces Community member and graduate of the 7 Graces Foundations of Ethical Marketing course, the Graces are part of my business values. And to me, having clear, well-thought-out T&Cs invokes the Grace of Invitation.

The Grace of Invitation suggests that we invite clients and customers into our businesses just as we would invite treasured guests into our homes. Instead of bullying our customers into submission with complex, furtive and aggressive T&Cs, we can give them a breath of fresh air by being clear, simple, direct, consistent and (most of all) respectful. To me, being in a ‘strong position’ means to create win-win solutions – to work with a collaborative mind-set.

Editor’s side note:
Collaboration is another one of the 7 Graces of Marketing.

The point is this: just because they are legal contracts, that doesn’t mean T&Cs have to be heavy. They can even be…charming! You have the choice when it comes to your own business. You can create crystal-clear T&Cs that reflect your core values.

So NOW…

When I say the word ‘law’, what’s the first thought that springs to your mind?

Is your response different now from what it was a few minutes ago?

I’d love to know your thoughts. What do you think about T&Cs? How have you approached them in your own business? How will you make them your own? I invite you to leave your comments (or questions) below.

Until next time,

Lubna Gem Arielle
10 October 2014

Lubna is a graduate of the 7 Graces Foundations of Ethical Marketing course. Click the image below to find out about the course, and to listen to an info call about what it covers and how it can help your business.

4 Foundations of Ethical Marketing

Lubna Gem ArielleLUBNA GEM ARIELLE is a lawyer who went back to art school and has a portfolio career. As a legal educator, she lectures on MA programmes at Birkbeck and Sotheby’s Institute of Art, makes law accessible for creatives as a professional speaker and trainer 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 sharing and integrating information, stories and knowledge across real and virtual media. She is also a legal experiential practitioner specialising in outcomes-focused communication 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

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, Blog, Business Tips, Community Blogger, Directness, Invitation, Law and Legal Tips, Lubna Gem Arielle, Relationship with Our Audience, Relationship with Our Business, Transparency | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Disconnection – What Entrepreneurs Can Learn from the Shadow

Disconnection: What Entrepreneurs Can Learn from the Shadow
7 Graces co-director Nancy Goodyear explores the dark side of the 7 Graces and explains how the Deadly Sin of Disconnection can affect all our relationships.

In the 7 Graces model, Disconnection – the first of the 7 Deadly Sins of marketing – is the foundation from which all the other ‘sins’ emerge. By definition, if we are disconnected, we are living and working in isolation with no connection to anyone or anything. When we feel no connection to anyone or anything, all our decisions and actions are determined only by what is in our own best interests and what is right for us alone.

This kind of worldview will inevitably lead to decisions and actions that are damaging to other people, to society or to the planet:

  • If I feel no connection to other people, why would I not simply take what I want from them – money, things, support, sex, etc.?
  • If I feel no connection to society, why would I not manipulate it for my own ends with no thought for the long-term implications for other people or for humanity as a whole?
  • If I feel no connection to the planet, why would I not exploit its natural resources to fit my purposes with no thought for the legacy I’m leaving future generations or the impact it has on the environment?

Essentially, if I feel disconnected from everyone and everything, then nobody and nothing matters to me. I can be as ruthless and selfish as I want, because there are no implications that matter. I get what I want and stuff the rest – it’s nothing to do with me.

The thing is, life isn’t like that. It’s our natural inclination as human beings to feel connected to at least some people and some things. And if you’re a frequent reader of this blog, the likelihood is you are already keenly aware of your connection to humanity, society and the planet.

In addition to the 7 Graces and 7 Deadly Sins of marketing, threaded through the 7 Graces model are 7 Key Relationships that are integral to the notion of ethical marketing and business. These are (your relationship with):

  1. Self
  2. Source
  3. Others
  4. Your Business
  5. Your Audience
  6. Money
  7. Marketing

Today, I want to invite you to take a walk with me on the dark side, to explore how the Deadly Sin of Disconnection can show up in each of these relationships and how this can affect our lives and our businesses.

Disconnection and Your Relationship with Self

This one is a biggie.

If we are disconnected from Self, we don’t know who we are. We don’t know what’s important to us or what we believe in. We don’t know what we care about or even how to take care of ourselves (beyond the universal basics of food, water and shelter). If we have a poorly defined relationship with Self, how can we possibly understand what we think or feel about any of our other relationships? This is why this is the first of the Key Relationships; the journey to awareness always starts with Self.

From a ‘life’ point of view, disconnection from Self is pretty bleak:

  • You feel lost, because you haven’t gotten to know who you are.
  • You’re probably not taking good care of yourself, because you don’t know what you really need or want.
  • You probably have no sense of purpose, because you don’t know what you believe or where you are heading.

But how does disconnection from Self affect us from a business point of view?

  • If you are disconnected from your Self, you might be a workaholic with no work/life balance – life feels purposeless and empty, so you focus all your energy into work.
  • You might struggle to get your business off the ground, because you are constantly flitting from one business idea to the next – you don’t have a clear sense of what you’re here to do.

To sum up, if we have weak or disconnected relationships with Self, it’s very difficult for us to understand or develop the other six Key Relationships.

Disconnection and Your Relationship with Source

By ‘Source’, I mean the planet and everything on it. To understand more about the 7 Graces definition of Source, I recommend you read this article.

If you feel disconnected from Source:

  • You may well feel like you don’t ‘belong’ anywhere.
  • You may feel no responsibility for – or control over – what happens in society or to the planet.
  • You may not be aware of (or simply not care about) the impact your decisions have on society as a whole, the environment, nature or the planet.
  • Ultimately, you may feel small, insignificant and powerless to change or influence things on this large scale. This may leave you thinking, ‘Why bother?’

Disconnection from Source will inevitably also influence how you run your business:

  • You will be more likely to focus on the small day-to-day details of running your business than to take time to look beyond this at how those details influence the bigger picture of Source.
  • If you don’t feel like you ‘belong’ to the planet, humanity, society or nature, you may feel as though it’s all none of your business; for example, you may feel that environmental issues are not your problem or responsibility.
  • You will also see other people – your audience, your clients/customers, your business associates, etc. – as separate from you rather than as part of the same whole. Your feelings of disconnection will be reflected in how you conduct your business, in your marketing decisions and in all your communications. The tone and choice of words addressing someone we see as ‘outside’ us is likely to be more aggressive, colder or even more manipulative than when we feel connected to them at a primal (Source) level.

And that leads us nicely to the next Key Relationship…

Disconnection and Your Relationship with Others

Unless you live the life of a complete hermit, never leaving the house, not owning a phone or a computer, never reading the papers and living entirely self-sufficiently, it is impossible to avoid other people. ‘Others’ includes family and friends, of course, but it also includes also the postman, the person behind the till at the supermarket, the person on the other end of the phone who cold-called to try to sell you double glazing, the person you sit next to on the bus.

When you are disconnected from others, you’re unlikely to be interested in what they think, feel or say, preferring your own stories and experiences. You might be perceived as aloof or self-absorbed, because you don’t see the relevance of others to you and your life, apart from how they can serve your own wants. Your interactions with other people may be unsatisfactory to you and to them, as you give nothing of yourself and see nothing of interest in them.

We’ve all had those days when we got up on the wrong side of bed, when everything and everyone is irritating to us and we want to be anywhere other than where we are. On those days, if we go into a shop, we don’t look at the person serving us (never mind going for eye contact!). We don’t smile, and we say as little as we can get away. Then we leave, often hating ourselves and them, bemoaning the poor customer service we’ve just received. And on those days, that bad service probably had absolutely nothing to do with the poor person on the till and everything to do with our own feelings of disconnection!

In business, disconnection from other people can have serious consequences. Our businesses are dependent upon others, whether they be customers, clients, colleagues, employees or service providers. If we feel no connection to them, we might see them as interchangeable and not take the trouble to find the right people for us. Or we might not care about all the niceties of human relationships and create a bad-tempered, stressful and unhappy working environment. When we neglect our relationships with other people – in life or in business – the world becomes a dark and unfriendly place.

If we do somehow manage to bypass our disconnection and muster the energy to look at the person serving us in the shop, we might find a friendly smile and a kind word that lifts us out of our mood just a little bit.

Disconnection and Your Relationship with Your Business

If you have your own business, you inevitably have a relationship with it; and like all relationships, it has its ups and downs. Sometimes you love your business and are deeply inspired by the work you do. Those are the days you feel connected to it. But other days, you just don’t feel that connection at all. You wonder why you started it, you wonder why you pour all these endless hours into it, sometimes for very little reward, and you wonder why you don’t just give it all up and go and get a ‘proper job’.

When you feel like this about your business, it’s not going to get your best attention – the attention it deserves and needs to thrive. And, again like all relationships, if you neglect your relationship with your business, it’s not going to give you what you need in return.

Sometimes disconnection can arise when:

  • Your business is not in alignment with your own values, passion and purpose.
  • You’ve changed, but your business (which may have been right for you in the past) hasn’t kept up with you.
  • You’ve been working on this business a long time and you’re simply bored with it.
  • You’re not reaping the rewards you had anticipated and feel fed up with slogging your guts out without proper recompense.

Whatever the reason, when you have a disconnected relationship with your business, you feel like work is no longer as fun and inspiring as it used to be (if it ever was).

Disconnection and Your Relationship with Your Audience

Your audience includes your past, current and potential clients and customers. When you have a disconnected relationship with these people, they are unlikely to hire you or buy from you. Of course, this will cause your business to stagnate, falter and ultimately fail.

Unless you know who your audience is, what they are seeking and how you provide this for them, there is simply no way to communicate with them effectively.

When you are disconnected from your audience:

  • You might not know whom you are putting all this effort into your business for.
  • You might feel resentful, because you are constantly attracting the wrong clients (or no clients at all!).
  • You might feel that your audience is stupid, because they ‘just don’t get what we do!’

Disconnection from your audience is the kiss of death for business owners; after all, a business without customers is no business at all!

Disconnection and Your Relationship with Money

This is another big one. We all have to handle money; it’s pretty hard to live without it these days. One of the main reasons for being in business is to make at least a modest living. To do this, all you really need is a decent income that exceeds what you spend on the running of your business. But in spite of that simple equation, many of us have difficult and complicated feelings about money that can get in the way of us achieving it.

If you feel disconnected from money:

  • You might try to convince yourself you don’t need it.
  • You might feel you don’t have enough of it.
  • You might feel you deserve so much more than what you have.
  • Conversely, you might feel you have more than you deserve.
  • You might hate the fact that you need money.
  • You might be afraid of not having enough, or that money will dry up altogether and you will become destitute.
  • You might do everything you can to avoid asking people (i.e., your clients and customers) for money and, as a result, either not get paid for your work or not get paid enough.

Our relationship with money might well be one of the most commonly disconnected Key Relationships of all. When we have a disconnected relationship with money, there is no way we can run a truly successful business.

Disconnection and Your Relationship with Marketing

Finally, we must consider our relationship with marketing. We live in a world where we are constantly being marketed to and, even if we’re not in business, we are constantly marketing ourselves. Whether we’re talking about Facebook or the dreaded dating-site profile, it’s all a form of marketing in that we are telling people why they should be interested in us.

Marketing is about communication: communicating to others what we have to offer (either as people or as businesses). If we are disconnected from that communication, it will be very difficult to find a balance between beating people over the head with a shouty hard sell full of hype and exclamation marks (‘BUY NOW!!!! This is AMAZING!!!!’) and something more balanced, respectful and informative.

If we have a disconnected relationship with marketing:

  • We may not be aware of when we are being manipulated by marketers into buying something we don’t want or need.
  • We might believe that shouting at people and deceiving them is the only way to get people to notice us.
  • We might alienate our audiences by employing some (or all) of the 7 Deadly Sins in our marketing campaigns.

As business owners, understanding our relationship with marketing is crucial to our success because not only are we being constantly marketed at but we also need to do marketing of our own. If we feel disconnected from our marketing, how can we know whether or not it sits easily with the image and values we want to portray about our Self and our business?

Final Thoughts

While writing this article, I could feel how gloomy the topic of Disconnection is. This is because Disconnection is within the ‘shadow side’ of our Key Relationships. I noticed how much I wanted to make it better for you and even started writing tips on how to reconnect to each relationship. However, I made a conscious decision not to do that – to leave you in the shadow. This is because I believe it’s important that we spend a little while there from time to time: examining it, exploring it and playing in it. This way, we can come to understand what we don’t want, and what works and doesn’t work in our relationships.

Instead of leaving this article all nice and tidy, I invite you to get down and dirty in the shadows. Allow yourself some time to really wallow in the gloom of Disconnection. See what it feels like, and observe how it changes your perspective on your Key Relationships.

And don’t worry about getting stuck there. I know that when you allow yourself to dive down and really dig around in the depths, you will naturally bob back up to the surface of the water and into the sunlight in your own time.

And when you do, that sunlight will seem so much brighter and stronger and warmer.

I therefore make no apologies for leaving you in the gloom and am, instead, really excited to know what you discover down there. Please let me know by leaving a comment.

And, of course, if you’d like to learn more about the 7 Deadly Sins AND the 7 Graces of Marketing, I hope you’ll consider coming onto our 7 Graces Foundations of Ethical Marketing course, where we explore both the light and shadow of marketing, and how to use this awareness to create a more ethical, sustainable and satisfying way to run your business. To listen to the replay of a free information call about our Foundations course, just CLICK HERE.

4 Foundations of Ethical Marketing

Stay connected!

Nancy Goodyear
30 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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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 CICTwitter: http://twitter.com/7GracesMarketng

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

Posted in 7 Deadly Sins, 7 Key Relationships, Blog, Community Blogger, Disconnection, Foundations of Ethical Marketing, Nancy Goodyear, New Paradigm, Relationship with Marketing, Relationship with Money, Relationship with Others, Relationship with Our Audience, Relationship with Our Business, Relationship with Self, Relationship with Source | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Empowering Your Customers by Getting Rid of the Hard Sell

Empowering Your Customers by Getting Rid of the Hard Sell
Marketing consultant Lynn Serafinn shows how sales made from ‘hard sell’ marketing are not all they’re cracked up to be and offers a more ethical alternative.

Earlier this week, my colleagues at the 7 Graces Project and I hosted an information call about our upcoming Foundations of Ethical Marketing course. At the top of the call, I assured our listeners that I wasn’t going to do a ‘hard sell’ about the course or try to push them into signing up for the course with manipulative marketing tactics.

The reason why I said this right at the top of the call is that all too many of us have come to EXPECT to be ‘sold to’ during an online call. I wanted to dispel that expectation so it wasn’t the elephant in the room throughout the call. I explained that using hard selling was antithetical to the ethos of our social enterprise. After all, how can we teach courses on ethical marketing if we use unethical marketing strategies to promote them?

Today, I thought it would be interesting to explore this topic in a blog article, taking a look at what we mean by ‘hard selling’ and why so many old-school marketers condone it (and even teach it). We’ll look at how hard selling is guilty of many of the 7 Deadly Sins of Marketing we talk about in our courses and books. And finally, we’ll look at why its alleged effectiveness is illusory and how it fails to help you, your business or your customers in the long term.

What Do We Mean by the ‘Hard Sell’?

Simply put, the hard sell is when we try to coerce buyers into buying something before they’ve had time to think about it.In fact, old-school marketing methods typically try to bypass cognitive thinking altogether and trigger your emotions instead. More specifically, the aim of hard selling is to trigger the most primordial part of your brain – the amygdala. This is where your body responds to fear.

Typically, we react to fear in one of three ways – fight, flight or freeze. When we see adverts that tell us we’ll be losing out on a great deal if we don’t act RIGHT NOW, the fear centres in our brains are being triggered. Because fear is generated in the amygdala, it actually arises before conscious thinking kicks in. And it’s a good thing, too; if a tiger suddenly leaps out in front of us, we have a much greater chance of survival if we ACT NOW rather than sit down with a cup of tea and think about it.

When marketers use hard-selling tactics, they are actually launching an emotional tiger in front of you. Here are a few of the common Deadly Sins you’ll see in a typical hard sell:

  • The Deadly Sin of Scarcity, where the marketer tells the audience they’ll have to pay a lot more for a product if they don’t buy it right there on the spot, or that they’ll suffer in some horrible way (stay fat, get ill, lose money, be lonely, etc.) if they don’t buy this product RIGHT NOW.
  • The Deadly Sin of Persuasion, where the marketer concocts a convoluted argument for a product, offering a zillion reasons why you need this thing you’ve never heard of before to solve a problem you never knew you had.
  • The Deadly Sin of Invasion, where the marketer SHOUTS REALLY LOUDLY AT YOU…USUALLY FOR A REALLY LONG TIME.
  • The Deadly Sin of Deception, where the marketer spews a pile of so-called scientific or statistical information that is so nebulous, complicated or meaningless that it (deliberately) puts the mind into a state of confusion.

What is important to understand is that ALL of these Deadly Sin strategies have the potential to trigger fear (unless, of course, the audience is very switched on and aware – like our 7 Graces community).

Why Old-School Marketers Believe in Aggressive Sales Pitches

If we are shouted at, made to feel stupid or threatened with loss, we are going to react emotionally, not cognitively. And that’s exactly what hard-sell marketers want; they don’t want you to think – they want you to feel afraid.

Why? Because when you are afraid, you will always want to do something to relieve the discomfort of your fear. As long as they’ve got you in this position, there’s a chance you will click the big red ‘BUY NOW’ button.

Internet marketers know you are not a captive audience. They know you can click away at any time. That’s why so many of them intentionally aim to trigger fear right from the get-go and hold on to you like an emotional hostage. If they can bypass your cognitive brain and make the sale before you’ve had a chance to think, they’ve won.

Or have they?

Why Hard Selling Will Eventually Backfire

Hard selling works.

Well…it sort of works.

Admittedly, hard selling can sometimes result in faster sales than a marketing campaign that doesn’t use it. But what happens to us as customers AFTER the fear wears off, the amygdala calms down and the rest of our cerebral cortex comes back to life? What happens after we are no longer emotional hostages but thinking human beings?

We get pissed off, that’s what happens.

We get angry. We get angry at ourselves. We get angry at the marketer. We might start looking for flaws in the product. We might even ask for our money back. We feel like idiots for spending our hard-earned money so impetuously just because someone made us feel like losers. We feel like we’ve been coerced. We feel like we’ve been disrespected.

Then, we start to lose trust. First, we lose trust in the company from whom we bought the product. Or maybe we didn’t buy their product at all, because we started to lose trust in them the moment we began to feel manipulated during their sales pitch. Over time, we may start to mistrust marketing (or businesses) altogether. Worst of all, we may start to mistrust our own ability to discern fact from fiction.

Then, the next time we sit in on a webinar (if we ever trust them again), we find ourselves spending half the time not being fully present on the call, because we’re so busy waiting for the big sales pitch to hit us in the face. We don’t listen carefully, because we already know there’s going to be some ‘fine print’ we won’t like. We already anticipate the uncomfortable feelings of manipulation, even before they happen. We might even switch off halfway through the call because we know the bomb is going to drop any moment.

Really, when you look at the bigger picture, hard selling creates two kinds of customers:

1)      Passive, disempowered, frightened ones and

2)      Angry, mistrustful, disengaged ones.

Personally, I’d rather have no customers than either of those.

You Don’t Need More Customers. You Need Smarter Ones.

To me, ethical marketing is not about making sales, but about attracting your ideal customers. In my view, an ideal customer has these qualities:

  • Empowered
  • Informed
  • Thoughtful
  • Confident (in their decisions)
  • Engaged
  • Able and willing to express what they think and feel
  • Trusting in themselves; clear on when to trust others

Give me 10 customers with those qualities over 1,000 passive or aggressive ones any time. The amount of work, money and energy that is involved in supporting disempowered and angry customers is enough to send any business owner to an early grave.

On the other hand, it is a sheer delight to support smart, informed, empowered customers who have come to trust you for one simple reason:

You respect them and see them as people rather than sales figures.

So how do you do that? How do you grow and attract smarter customers?

Well, first of all, you stop spinning your wheels chasing after more customers through hard selling. True, you’ll have to learn how to be patient. No longer will you get the adrenaline rush of instant sales, the rush that’s kept you hooked on hard-sell marketing for so long. But when you’re in the middle of the rush, you forget that it’s always followed by the crash-and-burn of bad reviews and requests for refunds.

As you wean yourself off hard selling, you’ll eventually realise that your marketing has kept your business on a roller coaster that has taken it nowhere. You’ll start to see that you’ve been repeating the same process over and over without any true business growth and that the results you thought you were getting from your hard-selling were pure illusion.

Then, when you’ve finally gotten off that roller coaster and put your feet on solid ground, you’ll realise that – possibly for the first time ever – you’ll be able to see your customers. No longer will you be chasing after them, or planning your next manipulative strategy. Instead, you’ll finally be seeing them face to face and talking to them like the people they are.

You will stop talking at your customers and start talking to them. Then, over time, you’ll find you’re not just talking to them, but with them. You’re listening. You’re answering questions. You’re enjoying their company. You’re showing you know, like and appreciate them. You’re showing you trust their wisdom and opinions.

And then, one day, your customers will realise they know, like, appreciate and trust you too.

And THAT is when they’ll press the ‘Buy Now’ button (hopefully not a big red one).

Closing Thoughts

We at the 7 Graces Project consciously chose to market our courses in a way that is radically different from what the hard-sales gurus teach. As ethical marketing is what we’re all about, it’s essential that we walk the talk.

With that in mind, I’d love to invite you to listen to the replay of the free info call we gave earlier this week about our 7 Graces Foundations of Ethical Marketing course, which is starting in October. This course is for independent business owners (new or established) who are ready to bring a greater social focus into their businesses and become true changemakers through their work, and who seek to leave a legacy for the world through their ethical business and marketing practices.

If that sounds interesting and you’d like to access the replay of the call,
just enter your name and email at:

http://the7gracesofmarketing.com/attend-our-free-7-graces-info-call/.

The call is just a bit over one hour long. A slideshow accompanies the audio. We also answered a few questions from the audience at the end.

After you register, you’ll also get a link to download a very comprehensive information packet that tells all about the course. That way, after you’ve listened to the call, you CAN sit down with your cup of tea and engage your heart AND mind to make your decision about whether or not to join us on this course.

No tigers on the path. No elephants in the room.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Warm wishes,
Lynn Serafinn
26 September 2014

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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

 

Posted in 7 Deadly Sins, 7 Graces, 7 Graces Project, 7 Key Relationships, Blog, Connection, Deception, Ethical Marketing Courses, Foundations of Ethical Marketing, Invasion, Lynn Serafinn, Marketing Tips, New Paradigm, News, Persuasion, Relationship with Our Audience, Scarcity | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Snog, Marry, Avoid? How Do You REALLY Feel About Marketing?

Snog, Marry, Avoid? How Do You REALLY Feel About Marketing?Lynn Serafinn shows how our consumer attitudes shape who are as marketers and invites you to take a quiz to explore your own relationship with marketing.

These days, most marketers will tell you that marketing is ‘all about relationships’. In most cases, they are talking about your relationship with your audience. Who are your audience? How well do you know them? How do you communicate with them? What do they really think of you?

When I work with clients, we spend a lot of time exploring their relationship with their audience. But while I agree this relationship is indeed a major factor in the effectiveness of our marketing, I believe there are many other relationships that play a part as well. Surely the relationships we have with our businesses and even our relationships with money are major influences in how we behave as marketers.

But how many of us take the time to consider our relationship with marketing itself? Indeed, how many of us are even AWARE that we have a relationship with marketing? And if we do, what does that relationship look like? What are the factors that influence it? And how does it impact the way we actually market our businesses?

Our Relationship with Marketing – as Consumers

When it comes to marketing, I believe many business owners forget one crucial truth:

They are consumers first and business people second.

Like it or not, each and every one of us is a consumer for one simple reason: we buy things. Just the fact that we run businesses doesn’t mean we stand outside the parameters of consumerism or that we are immune to the influences of advertising. Even those (myself included) who like to believe we are not brainwashed by ‘consumer culture’ are consumers all the same. The only way for us NOT to be consumers in this day and age is to mine, manufacture, hunt, gather and grow everything we need and want. Personally, I don’t know anyone who falls into that category (and surely not anyone who would be reading a blog post).

Businesses do marketing so they can speak to the consumer – whether that consumer is the end user or another business in the ‘supply chain’ in a B2B operation. Thus, every one of us is subjected to some form of marketing as a consumer. And whenever we come in contact with marketing, we inevitably have an emotional response to it. We might feel resentment or anger. We might switch off and simply ignore it. We might be dazzled and allured by the entertainment factor or glamour of it. Or we might even feel the urge to ‘talk back’ (either positively or negatively) via consumer forums, reviews, social media, letters to the editor or other modes of communication.

I believe that our attitudes and behaviours towards marketing as consumers inform our attitudes and behaviours as marketers. For example, if we are attracted to the glitz, glamour and entertainment value of marketing, we will probably want to emulate it by being glitzy, glamourous and entertaining. We imagine that, because we find this attractive, our audience will be attracted to it as well.

But there’s a flaw in this assumption. Our audience are not necessarily attracted to (or motivated by) the same stimuli we are. Before we can understand what our audience thinks and feels, we need to be able to differentiate it from our own thoughts and feelings and understand what lies behind our own attraction. For example, maybe we like the glitz and glamour because we are unconsciously ‘hooked’ (as a consumer) by other people’s advertising campaigns. And if that’s the case, then our marketing isn’t coming from an empowered place within us. Rather, it’s a conditioned response. If we create marketing from this perspective, it will be inauthentic and superficial.

While inauthenticity and superficiality are fine for many marketers, I’m pretty sure it’s not fine for anyone who is interested in integrity, service, ethics and – most of all – their customers.

KEY POINT 1:
If we wish to become conscious marketers,
we must first become conscious consumers.

Our Relationship with Marketing – as Marketers

I’ve met many business owners who feel insecure as marketers. These people will often imitate what they have been told is ‘the’ way successful businesses do marketing (such as the ‘glitz and glam’ example above). But again, this creates a problem. Unless their styles of marketing are genuine expressions of who they are and what they do, their marketing will end up formulaic and incongruent with the businesses. With such incongruence, marketing cannot communicate effectively, as there is no real way for the audience to know, like and trust the company. Unless we are present in our marketing, there’s little point in talking about ‘our relationship with our audience’.

Some business owners actually HATE marketing, full stop. They may have many ‘good’ reasons for this. They might think marketing is inherently a form of manipulation. They might feel overwhelmed by the enormity of it. They might worry that other people will think they are disingenuous. They might simply think it’s ‘not them’.

While all these may seem to be perfectly justifiable reasons to hate marketing, they will inevitably create major problems for business owners. This resistant or avoidant relationship with marketing will result in their failing to market their businesses strategically or systematically. Sometimes, they won’t bother to market their businesses at ALL (I cannot count the number of new clients who have come to me for help when they’ve fallen down that rabbit hole). With any luck, it will eventually become painfully obvious to them they will simply go OUT of business unless they take a different approach.

KEY POINT 2:
Our relationship with marketing is often formed by
our own fears, hang-ups and insecurities.
To understand who we are as marketers, we need to look in the mirror first.

Snog, Marry or Avoid?

Here in the UK, there’s a TV show called Snog, Marry, Avoid. I don’t own a TV and I actually have no idea what it’s about (nor do I want to find out). But I thought the title was amusing and that it could be turned into a little self-assessment quiz to help you explore your own relationship with marketing.

So let’s give it a go. There are only two questions (with some reflections at the end).

QUESTION 1: Which of these relationship models MOST CLOSELY describes your relationship with marketing as a consumer?

  • A) Snog: You love TV commercials. You think they’re fun. You like seeing them on the big screen at the movies/cinema. You might even watch or share videos of them on social media. You love to look at glossy pictures in magazines. You like to look at and buy ‘stuff’. You spend money on products based upon the advertising you like best, but afterwards you sometimes feel ‘buyer’s regret’. You have lots of stuff, but you also depend on credit cards.
  • B) Avoid: You hate commercials. You channel surf when they come on TV. You come late to the cinema so you will miss the adverts (even though this means you can’t find a good seat!). You don’t buy commercial magazines. When you want to buy something, you don’t really know one brand from the other. You might delay buying things you need because you are worried about making the wrong choice. Historically, money has frequently been a ‘problem’ relationship for you.
  • C) Marry: You accept advertising’s right to exist, but you are not blind to its faults. You speak up (either online, on the phone or in print) when you think something is fraudulent. You are aware of brands, but do not automatically take things at face value. You read the ingredients on food labels. You read specifications on electronic goods. You read reviews and speak to other people about products before buying them. You buy things when you feel confident about your decision. You have what you need in life. You spend when you have the money in the bank to pay for it.

QUESTION 2: Which of these relationship models MOST CLOSELY describes your relationship with marketing as a business owner/marketer?

  • A) Snog: You love marketing. You hire the best graphic designers for your web pages. You use the most expensive software for your mailing list management.You love the thrill of the chase. You love having flashy sales pages. You set up six months’ worth of auto-responders in advance, going out to your list two or three times a week. You feel a thrill when you see your subscriber/follower numbers go up, up, up. But you always reach a ceiling where your numbers stop going up (and sometimes go down). By hey, that’s business, right? So when that happens, you find something else to sell and start the whole process over again.
  • B) Avoid: You hate marketing. You avoid it like the plague. Everyone tells you to get onto social media, so you set your accounts but haven’t a clue what to do with them. You set up a blog but have no idea what to write or how to get people to find you. You haven’t made a single penny from your efforts. You decide it’s all pointless and a big waste of time, so you don’t do it. You try going to business networks, but you feel awkward and you don’t know what to say to people. You have very few customers. You’re starting to worry about money. You’re starting to think, ‘Maybe I’ll have to go get a job…’
  • C) Marry: You see marketing as an integral part of business. You develop strategies and systems to get it done and always include it in your (or your team’s) timetable and your budget. You see marketing as an outward expression of your personal and professional values. You know the importance of creating a strong brand identity through your marketing. You take care to ensure your marketing communicates the unique quality of your company. You know that marketing is not really about sales conversion but about developing long-term relationships with actual people. You know that the stronger your relationship is with your customers, the more they will refer others to your company. Your cash flow is healthy, and you trust the ability of your company to ride out the occasional ups and downs you might experience.

REFLECTION: What did you notice when you answered these questions? Did you choose the same letter (A, B or C) both times? What can you do with this information? What would you like your relationship with marketing – both as a consumer and a business owner – to look like? How will you start to create that relationship?

Closing Thoughts

The Relationship with Marketing is one of the 7 Key Relationships in my book The 7 Graces of Marketing. It’s also one of the topics we explore deeply on our Foundations of Ethical Marketing course. We’ll be starting the next round of that course in just a few weeks, in October 2014.

If you’re a business owner (whether established or just starting out) who wants to create and nurture deep relationships with your Self, your audience, your business and your marketing and to create a business that supports you AND serves the world in a meaningful way, we invite you to attend our FREE information call about this course:

4 Foundations of Ethical Marketing

“>CLICK HERE to register for our free information call
Wednesday 24th September 2014
2pm EDT / 7pm UK time
about the
7 GRACES FOUNDATIONS of ETHICAL MARKETING Course
(Yes, the call WILL be recorded.)

You can attend online via webcast (all you need is your computer or mobile phone), or over the phone/Skype if you prefer. In case you cannot make it to the live call, it WILL be recorded. Just register, and then you can download the replay of the call and listen to it at your leisure.

I hope this article made you think about your own relationship with marketing. Let me know what you thought about my little ‘Snog, Marry, Avoid’ quiz. Just leave your comments at the bottom of this post.

Warm wishes,
Lynn Serafinn
19 September 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 7 Graces Project, 7 Key Relationships, Ethical Marketing Courses, Foundations of Ethical Marketing, Lynn Serafinn, News, Relationship with Marketing | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

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 Key Relationships, Blog, Business Tips, Community Blogger, Foundations of Ethical Marketing, Nancy Goodyear, New Paradigm, Relationship with Our Business | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment