When Julien Smith and I wrote The Impact Equation, we had a very specific goal in mind: help people get attention, understanding, and eventually a relationship of value. We built the book around the premise that well-defined goals were needed to craft ready-to-understand ideas, and that people could build a platform to spread those ideas to a network of people who cared enough to share those ideas with others. That’s the simplest possible summary of the book.
What people maybe thought they were getting was a book about social media and social networks, about marketing and campaigns. Some people believe that’s what Julien and I do. Social media are a set of tools. They’re not all that interesting to talk about in and of themselves. The “gee whiz” has left the station. We want to talk about action– or if you’ll pardon the self-reference, impact.
There are details and technologies you must master if you want to succeed. But that’s the keyboard-level and tactical part of what you’ll do. We wanted to give you something more encompassing.
The strategies around and behind The Impact Equation boil down to 5 Cs.
If you can’t convey your ideas in a way that stands out (Contrast), that are simple (Articulation), and that resonate with an audience (Echo), the game is over before you begin. So, The Impact Equation is a book about communication.
If you don’t start building a platform of value around ideas that are easy to share (Reach), those ideas won’t get around and get a lot of attention (Exposure). The Impact Equation is a book that talks about how to tell bigger stories.
Where people have the most ground to make up is in nurturing a network of people who care about what you choose to share. Without relationship-minded effort (Trust and Echo), you won’t likely get beyond capturing people’s attention for a little while. Meaning, people won’t be inclined to share. The Impact Equation is definitely a book about community.
We don’t write much about how to make money in this book. Both Julien and I have been successful in our businesses, and we’ve both helped other companies succeed with a lot of the tactics and strategies covered in this book. But this is a book about business and leadership and value-generation and extraction. Make no mistake, The Impact Equation is a book about commerce.
I believe in the principle of Service Craftsmanship, that service begins before a prospect has even become a customer. We talk a lot about how to nurture relationships (Trust) and how that sets you apart from people who don’t treat every touchpoint as a chance for service excellence (Contrast). There’s also the realization that if we treat people the way we want to be treated (Echo), we will earn more of an opportunity to serve. The Impact Equation is most definitely a book about customer service.
Why Talking About Social Media Got Boring
It’s boring to talk simply about the tools because the tools are just a way to reach people. We can argue the details endlessly (I don’t believe much in Klout, for instance), and we can announce the premature death of Tumblr/Twitter/Facebook and whoever. But it doesn’t matter. When we talk about restaurants (the tools), we mostly talk about the food (the content). When we talk about bands (tools), we talk about whether the music resonates (the content). When we talk about a good book (the content), we never ask what type of computer it was written on (the tools).
Should you put ads on Facebook? If that’s the worry point, you’ve got bigger worries. Is Pinterest worth your time? Who knows? Should you schedule your tweets? (Some of them!) What’s the company comment policy? Well, okay, that last one has some merit, but put it to rest and move on.
How I Apply The Five Cs and The Impact Equation Mindset to My Business
In all I do, I use these five concepts above as guideposts to approach success. When I’m working on a new product, like a course on writing, I think about how to communicate about the course before, during, and after the experience. I consider what kind of content will be involved. I determine how to build a community around each product experience, especially because Human Business Works believes that we need to deliver a vision, a plan, and a community of support for you to be successful. I consider how this product or service I’m creating should be priced and what value is reasonable to extract for the amount of value I’m creating. And I have very strong principles around how we go about customer service for each project.
When approaching business-making, I’d say these are the five aspects I work on the most. I look at marketing, sales, and service as a shared/hybrid role, where everyone has a part to play in the experience. I’d also say that these are the business aspects that we’ve tucked into The Impact Equation underneath it all.
How You Apply That Mindset to Your Business
From figuring out how to better articulate a contrasting idea that encourages trust and echoes the feelings of your prospective buyer to understanding how to get more exposure and reach from the platforms you choose to create or utilize, our premises line up nicely to marketing, sales, and service. Is it easy for people to contact you? Do you make it easy for them to buy from you? What have you missed in the process of shaping your ideas to fit their language and mindset? Do you have a plan for when and what and where to share your information? Whether you’re pinning or tweeting or poking or just putting a chalk sign out on a street corner, the attributes that make up The Impact Equation, are about delivering value.
Oh, and We Believe in Recipes
Both Julien and I set out to write a book full of actionable takeaways. We believe that there are lots of great books that stop right after the ideas and theories come out, but that don’t push you to take some actionable steps. Given Julien’s work on The Flinch, a book dedicated to getting us to take action, we both felt strongly that The Impact Equation should be written with a strong eye towards encouraging you to make something happen.
You can get the book in hardcover and digital formats, and the audiobook is almost ready to come out (really any day now), and I should let you know that the majority of my 2013 plan involves helping professionals from companies of all sizes to get more leads, sales, and satisfied customers via the principles in this book (and a few other concepts that make up the Human Business Way). If you want a head start on your success in the coming year, consider picking up The Impact Equation.