It's just 'people'. People, People, People.

I was reading this post this morning, (courtesy of David Cushman) by Jamie Burke, called…

Some inconvenient truths about the networked world that could save your asses.

…which let’s face it, if nothing else it’s a great title for a post.

But rather than just a great title, it’s a great list of things that we should either a) be already thinking or b) start thinking about more. 

I’m not going to run them all out here (as you should read it all at Jamie’s blog) but my favourite one is this:

Don’t be so afraid of being seen to be real people? I can trust a fallible person far more than an apparently infallible one. Even if they were infallible how could I, a fallible one, ever connect with them? People buy people.

More and more this makes sense to me as a way to approach communications. 

Companies are very simply communities in their own right; a group of people forming relationships around the context of what they create together. 

The ‘brand’, back at the start of the industrial era, was only created because connecting those people to all the people inside the company to those on the outside wasn’t possible.  All of that had to be simplified into one bite-sized snapshot of the complexity of a company and it’s products.

But technology increasingly means that actually, yes, you can connecting the people on the outside to the people on the inside, easily, and meaningfully.  Like this diagram from the ol’ Communis Manifesto tried to explain:


The great thing about that is by encouraging people to connect to other people, the ensuing conversation is automatically more complex, real, personal, believable, engaging, wonderous… all those words that we used to use when trying to create ‘brands’. 

We no longer need to personalise brands.  Because people, well, they’re personalised already.

So, tomorrow morning, don’t think about ‘brands’.  Think about the company; the people who invent things, and the people who make things, and the people who share stories about things.

And don’t, whatever you do, think about ‘consumers’.  ‘Consumers’ is a bad word.  It makes us think everyone is the same, when really everyone is completely different.

Think about people.  Say it after me:  People, People, People.

Then start thinking how you might connect the two…