“I see the world of leadership differently than most people. I don’t see leadership as a title or a role in an organization. Instead, it is about how people function in their lives, about the difference they can make. I don’t divide the world up into leaders and followers. We need to know how to be both. Leadership isn’t a position of authority, but of personal responsibility. It is best practiced in a social setting where people share the responsibility for leadership. I believe we live in a leadership-starved world, and the future belongs to leader-rich organizations and societies.”
Taking the initiative to start a conversation with someone gives us the opportunity to broaden our sense of what is happening in the world. This is what I do every day. From this learn how people are experiencing the transitions that we all face.
Small talk are those random conversations that we have with people. Most of us are missing out on these chats because our lives are so regimented. Many people have closed themselves off to these random conversations. They feel exposed, vulnerable, that they must have something to say that impresses people. It isn’t that way. People aren’t interested in whether you can impress them. They just want to be treated with respect and dignity.
Recently I toured The World of Coca Cola in Atlanta. Since I rarely drink soft drinks, my interest was in their brand philosophy and marketing approach.
The Coca Cola Company is the master of product marketing. The tour celebrates the secret formula for Coke and the experience of sharing it with friends. There is a film at the beginning of the tour that associates warm, sentimental feelings with drinking and sharing a Coke. It is very effective.
Coke is selling a brand experience. The drink is associated with the experience. They want you to believe a serving of Coke is a vehicle for creating a happier, more peaceful world. Other beverage companies, like those who sell beer, market their products in a similar manner. It is about the experience of the drink, not the drink itself. It is a very clever, sophisticated approach that has made happiness synonymous with having a Coke with a friend.
As I walked through The World of Coke, I kept thinking about my brand in comparison to Coke’s. Like many people who speak, write, coach and consult, we also provide a brand experience. We have stories. We have brand colors that are intended to associate our brand with the experience of working with us. As I wandered through the exhibits, I wondered if I needed to change things. Later, I reviewed my brand design using the Circle of Impact model. Here’s what I learned.