Last week, I spoke at the Carolina Connect Conference. It was an all-day event for large and small businesses in Western North Carolina. Guy Kawasaki was the keynote speaker. (Not surprisingly, he was great.) My own talk was called, “You Get the Idea: How to Kick Start Your Creativity & Become an Idea Magnet.”
After I spoke, several people approached me. One was a salesman from a national corporation. He told me he was surprised by what I said in the presentation, and that my ideas about creativity and idea generation were different from everything he knew about sales. He said, “A lot of what you said is based on the idea of trust.” He went on to say that in sales, he had always been taught to instill distrust in his prospective clients. “Distrust and fear,” he said. “Make them distrustful of the competition and scared of what will happen to them if they won’t use your product.” He cited manipulative tactics to further make this model work. To his credit, he was trying to make sense of it all, and asking good questions.
So, today, if I had that salesman’s email address, I’d refer him to this post.
Then, I’d say this to him: This is why trust works better than fear. Maybe the blogger who wrote this post has a few hundred readers. (Maybe more. Maybe less. I don’t know.) Maybe 15 of them get introduced to Zappos because of what she wrote. Maybe that’s not a big deal in the world of a huge corporation like yours. But it’s exactly what Zappos has relied upon to become a big deal on the internet.
Then, three months later, Seth Godin writes about it – and now you start to see why it’s called Viral Marketing. Then many of Seth’s readers write about it – like me. You see the power of the internet. You see the power of trust. This doesn’t mean businesses have to run around delivering flowers to all their customers. But it does mean that Zappos didn’t have to run around telling people that PayLess sucks and that customers shouldn’t trust them at all. Or worse, that we should fear the shoes at PayLess. No. One person at a big internet shoe company was present enough and creative enough (and given permission) to connect and make a customer happy. For no reason. And it just ended up creating a buzz. Not a fake buzz. Not a marketing generated buzz.
This is creativity. This is courage.