Lynn Serafinn, author of the 7 Graces of Marketing , looks at the evolution of the 7 Graces ideology from original concept to expansion into the wider community.
I haven’t been blogging very much lately because I’ve been having surgery on my eyes, so work has been challenging. Nonetheless, I didn’t want to end 2014 without wishing everyone a happy holiday season, and also to take a moment to celebrate the third anniversary of the publication of The 7 Graces of Marketing (and the fifth anniversary of the seed idea for it), and to reflect upon some of the wonderful things that have happened as a result of it coming into my life and, hopefully, the lives of many others.
December 2009 / January 2010. The story of the 7 Graces really began five years ago, when I first got the idea to write the book. Originally it began as a book to encourage sole proprietors – especially those in artistic professions (including authors) and holistic service industries – to take faith that they did not have to sell their souls or use aggressive marketing to build their businesses. However, as I began writing, I also started researching the history and impact of marketing over the past century, and saw that the issue was much, much bigger than I had ever imagined. The more I researched, the more compelled I felt to bring awareness to the public – both consumers and business owners – about how marketing on a broad level has affected our economy, our personal finances, our personal identity, our health and our natural environment. Thus, while the book was originally conceived as a small ‘feel good’ project, it took on a life of its own that felt beyond my conscious control, as it evolved into a historical and social commentary.
July 2010. This is when I began speaking publicly on the subject. To that point I hadn’t identified ‘the 7 Graces’ or even come up with the name for the book. The paradigm suddenly revealed itself one hour before I was to deliver a talk to a group of about 30 holistic business owners at the One World Camp in Gloucestershire, England. I had been sitting in my room, preparing for the lecture and felt I hadn’t yet hit on the ‘hook’ to communicate my thoughts, findings and feelings. I reached a point where I literally held my hands up to the sky and said out loud, “What IS it?” And then, faster than I could even write it down, a list of ‘The 7 Deadly Sins’ of marketing (as described in the book) almost magically appeared in my mind’s eye. Within seconds, their counterpart ‘The 7 Graces of Marketing’ appeared immediately after. My brain was firing at lightning speed, as I suddenly realised this was the paradigm through which I could present these important ideas, and with which I would structure my book.
January 2011. At the beginning of 2011, I travelled from the UK to California to speak about the 7 Graces paradigm. Again, the audiences were comprised mainly of sole proprietors in creative or holistic industries. At the time, I was deep into my historical research for the section in the book on the ‘ 7 Deadly Sins of Marketing ’. Thus, my talks tended to focus on these findings. Many people expressed how heavy and weighty the subject felt; some told me they wanted to hear about more positive things. This gave me pause for some reflection. I felt with every ounce of my being that the seriousness of the issue of unethical marketing simply could NOT be addressed without raising awareness about the methods behind it and the widespread effects it brings to our world. What I didn’t quite realise at the time was that the 7 Graces concept was actually a call for independent business owners to become leaders. For me, it was not enough simply to talk about ethical marketing ; my ‘dharma’ (my ultimate purpose) was to connect with and switch on those who would lead the way for change at a societal level. This meant that this was not about me and my book, but rather a life mission that extended well beyond my personal reach.
December 2011. This was the month I launched the book online, using the same book launch techniques I had used with my clients for the past several years. The book became an international #1 bestseller (on Amazon) in ethics, marketing and other categories. It later went on to receive various awards, including the silver medal in social issues from the E-Lit Book Awards.
June 2012. Almost immediately after the launch, I began planning a 7 Graces conference in London. My vision was that it would be a highly interactive event that would include live streaming, enabling people attending at a distance to participate in the break-out sessions. With the help of an amazing and highly-motivated team of volunteers from London, the 3-day conference took place in June. While attendance was somewhat lower than hoped (about 80 altogether, including live-stream attendees), and I spent at least four times what we brought in, the conference was a great success in that it marked the beginning of our 7 Graces community. This community IS the life-blood of the 7 Graces work.
September 2012. This is when we started designing the first draft of our ‘Foundations of Ethical Marketing’ course. It would take many months to get it to a stage where we felt confident to deliver a pilot.
December 2012. In response to requests from the community for a book that could help them apply the 7 Graces at a more practical level, I published the book Tweep-e-licious, a manual for using Twitter for ethical marketing. Unlike The 7 Graces of Marketing, this book seemed to write itself in less than two months.
February 2013. In February we officially registered the 7 Graces Project , CIC, a social enterprise created for the sole purpose of training, supporting and serving independent business owners in both the theory and practice of ethical marketing . My colleague and dear friend Nancy Goodyear came on board as a co-director for the project.
May 2013. We launched our first pilot of the Foundations course that month. Our participants were all business owners from our community.
September 2013 – December 2013. During these months, Nancy and I met two or three times a week via Skype to do a rigorous review of the Foundations course. We also used this time to design our Applications of Ethical Marketing course .
October 2013. This was the month we launched the pilot of Applications of Ethical Marketing with a small group of participants who had completed the Foundations pilot. This 6-month programme included a lot of one-to-one mentoring, which later became pivotal to our business direction.
Throughout 2013. In addition to these projects, Nancy and I were hard at work behind the scenes on many other projects. We focused on creating a substantial body of blog content for the site, so we could increase our flow of loyal readers. By the end of the year, we had received over 2.3 million page views (compared to about a half-million the year before, and only 100,000 in 2011). We also created a number of new consultation products, including our platform building packages, which are now our most in-demand offers.
February 2014. I was invited to deliver a lecture about the 7 Graces of Marketing to the department of business and marketing at the University of Greenwich in London. Although I came from a teaching background and had taught college and university students for years in the past, this was the first time I had brought this specific message to an academic community. The experience of speaking to an audience of students who (mostly) had never been business owners was a real eye-opener on the different kind of work needed to address these distinct audiences.
Throughout 2014. After completing the pilot of the Applications course mid-year, we also designed (and redesigned!) assessment strategies for the course. We continued to develop and expand our blogging content, opening our site to guest authors who had completed our courses.
December 2014 (today). It is now three years since the book was launched to the public, and nearly five years since the seed ideas first glimmered in my mind. By the end of this month, our blog will have received nearly 4 million page views, meaning we have had a 40-fold increase in traffic since the 7 Graces first started to appear online. Our Facebook community has almost 1300 members, which is the result of organic, word-of-mouth rather than any concerted promotional efforts.
Looking ahead to 2015
It is my desire that 2015 will not be a year of continuous expansion, so much as a year for consolidation and refining. Sometime in 2015 I will publish my book The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging. It’s been a long time coming, but I’ve discovered with some frustration that it’s hard to write a book when you’re designing and delivering courses – and serving a full roster of clients – all at the same time.
I have been invited to speak again at University of Greenwich, and they have also asked us to present a proposal for the possibility of delivering our Foundation course there. If this happens, I hope it will open the door to our delivering the material to other universities as well.
Also, by dint of our experiences over the past two years, Nancy and I discovered that active business owners actually want services and guidance more than they want courses. And so, we have created a new programme that combines our platform building package with mentoring. This programme is aimed at assisting business owners to create a sustainable business and marketing plan for their business, utilising the 7 Graces principles. We are excited about launching that early in the year.
We also look forward to awarding our new kite-mark ‘Certified 7 Graces Ethical Business’ to our first candidates in April 2015.
Truthfully, the 7 Graces is both a brand and an ideological concept. If it were merely my own business, it would look quite different. But it is not, and cannot be. Anything that is meant to create social change needs to be given time to grow, take root, flourish AND reproduce. It is only by expanding that ideology into the public – who then take it and make it their own by applying it in a multitude of different ways – that genuine and lasting social change can happen.
That thought is what keeps me going on those occasional days when I feel like I’ve sunk a disproportionate amount of time, money and effort into the project compared to what it has returned. However, in writing it all down, seeing the journey as it has evolved over these years, I realise it is still unfolding, one petal at a time. Just as fruit does not come until the tree is mature, so too for any project of this nature.
I do hope YOU will be a part of this journey in the coming year.
The best ways to do that are to subscribe to the blog (there’s a form at the top of this page) and join our Facebook community at http://facebook.com/groups/7GracesGlobalGarden. When you’re there, be sure to introduce yourself where it says ‘Hello, My Name Is’.
We are off until the New Year now. Please do use the navigation links on the right to read one or more of the hundreds of past articles we’ve published since we started.
19 December 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: 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 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, 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.