Stop selling. Start enabling.

This is a guest post from Spike Jones — Group Director of Engagement at WCG and co-author of the book Brains on Fire: Igniting Powerful, Sustainable Word of Mouth Movements. See the original post this is adapted from and more like it on his blog.

In our day-to-day marketing lives, when we’re all down in the weeds, dealing with regulations or crises or product launches or whatever today may bring, it’s easy to forget the basics. But once you step back, it helps everything come into focus.

In this case, the thing that I’m talking about is the way you see your brand (or your client’s brand for us agency folks) and the way your customer sees your brand.

When those two things align, everyone wins. When they don’t, well, we live in a world littered with those very companies trying to solve that problem by yelling louder and outspending the next guy.

To be more specific, any word of mouth program — short-term or long-term — that I’ve had the opportunity to work on that was a success all started with one thing in common: they saw the brand, the product, or the service as an enabler for their customers. A conduit, if you will, between a customer and what that customer is passionate about.

Mind you, passion comes in many shapes and sizes.

Sure, it can be about exploring the world or sailing the open seas. But passion can also come in the form of helping others. Putting good food on the table for your family. Creating and capturing memories. Exercising. Or yes, even cleaning the garage. You’d be amazed what people get excited about. It’s not just the sexy things.

When we reframe the conversation, we force ourselves to view the selling process differently. We no longer are begging the customer to buy and focusing all of the attention on us, but instead we are focusing the attention on them and what they love. Simple in theory, but to stay true to that concept in execution isn’t always easy.

So as you build that next campaign, think about how you can connect people to what they love most in the world. How can your brand be that thing that helps them love what they love even more? Because when you do, word of mouth ensues. And it doesn’t get any better than that.

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About Spike Jones

Spike Jones is a results-proven communications professional, specializing in digital and offline word of mouth marketing. With more than 15 years of experience, the career path goes something like this: Baylor University; a decade at Brains on Fire; SVP of the Customer Experience team at Fleishman-Hillard; Group Director, Engagement at WCG; and now SVP, Managing Director SW Region at Edelman Digital. Spike is also a co-author of the book Brains on Fire: Igniting Powerful, Sustainable, Word of Mouth Movements.

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