Posted by Andrew VanderPloeg
Last week I was re-reading the April 2009 issue of Fast Company in which there was a feature called “10 Ways to Jump-Start the Auto Business”. Each of the 10 ideas came from a different person with a unique perspective on the auto industry. The most intriguing submission to my mind was that of Mike Rowe, star and Executive Producer of the television show Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe. Here's a snippet from the thoughts that Mike submitted:
I believe the majority of people in this country are deeply disconnected from the Americans who still make our stuff. Forty years ago, it was easy to buy American. Not just because our stuff was better than theirs. We bought American goods because we actually knew the people who were making them. It was a powerful and personal connection that tied us to the products we bought.
The seismic shift from manufacturing to services has not only changed the composition of our gross domestic product, but also changed our national mind-set toward work. We no longer celebrate the way things get made, we are more interested in the way things get bought. In this global economy, we focus only on the finished product, which makes the Americans who still make them largely invisible.
I love these comments because I think Mike is right on...5 years ago.
Thing is, the times they are a-changin' folks and as they do, they are starting to come full circle back to a model where the relationship between the buyer and the seller is as important as the quality of the product or service they offer.
Social Media is an example of this truth. What we're seeing on the Internet is a huge push by many organizations to begin to build person-to-person relationships with their customers. More and more, we no longer interact with faceless companies who patent every idea and bunker themselves in so as to be impenetrable to the very people who pay their bills. Rather, CEO's, Project Managers and even front-line employees are creating Twitter and Facebook accounts and beginning to represent their companies online.
And whereas this brings with it elements of great risk, as tends to be the case with risk, it also comes hand-in-hand with such amazing potential. And when I think in terms of a non-profit or faith-based organization...well, your relationship with your audience(s) is what you live by and for, is it not?
All of this leaves me very excited about the future of marketing and communications for ministries and non-profits. We love to advise our clients to be real with your customers and this new/old wave of relational marketing forces us all to be real, transparent, considerate and responsible – all the kinds of things that faith-based and non-profit organizations need to be in order to succeed in their work.
So an old idea is becoming new again and there is great potential here on the cusp of this new cycle - a perfect time to get involved.