Photofy CMO, MC/Host of Brand Innovators Summits, and Co-Founder of Prevailing Path Ted Rubin is our resident rock star. Each issue, he’s sounding off on the challenges faced by the marketing industry today.
Sometimes, your favourite concepts take on a life of their own, and #FollowThePath definitely qualifies for me. It's an idea that encompasses much of what I believe is important in business and in life – so naturally it's based on the ideas that have stuck with me most over the years. I look at it as a way to improve building relationships with customers and building a sustainable, long-term audience for what you have to offer. But it's also an approach to self-improvement – a way to stay motivated, and a reminder to keep your head up when the going gets tough. Staying focused, no matter where, when, and for what reason.
What does it mean to you?
The easiest way to look at #FollowThePath may be to view it as an extension, or a combination, of some of my favourite ideas. Your path is unique to you and your business, but there are also many commonalities in the path that we all share. I can tell you all day long what it means to me, but that’s not as important as what you take away from it for yourself. Everyone follows a path, and only you know what yours looks like, or what you envision it to be. Perhaps #FollowThePath can be a mantra for you to keep your eye on the prize… Personal and business.
That brings up another recent hashtag, #NoLetUp! It's an important concept to me as well. I still remember hearing it from my friend Tony Luisi for the first time. The term #NoLetUp! is about life. It’s about business. It’s about health. It’s everything, really. The concept became real to me when I was battling in the courts to keep my daughters in my life, and I realised that winning the court battle is just the beginning – it’s an everyday effort to stay connected to your kids, especially for single parents. But for all parents, heck – they’re your kids! So there’s #NoLetUp! there. We’ve got to always be going, communicating, staying connected and loving them. It never ends. That’s true of all relationships you cherish with family, friends and business associates. If you want to keep those relationships, your efforts are never-ending.
#NoLetUp! is true of business as well. So many of us think that, “Wow, if I can just get this next gig, or the next client then I can relax.” But no, there’s #NoLetUp! there. If we want to be successful we have to embrace that. That doesn’t mean you can’t take a day or a weekend to recharge, but you can’t sit on your laurels – you’ve got to keep working it.
To me it’s also about concentrating on human connection, even in this digital age when we’re connected 24/7 on a variety of social platforms that keep evolving. There’s #NoLetUp! when we wake up with our phones and are always checking in to see what communication is going on, what’s happening in the world – what’s happening in our day. You just can’t say, “Stop the world, I wanna get off!” It’s happening around us whether we’re involved or not, and if we slow down or stop, we lose something important.
How relationships fit in
We all need a healthy serving of Return on Relationship or #RonR, because you can't #FollowThePath without being conscious of the people around you. That's true whether you're talking friends, family, employees, clients, consumers, or anyone else. Relationships are at the heart of the whole process. You can't get anywhere meaningful without building them, and you can't build meaningful relationships by sitting on the sidelines.
Building relationships takes engagement, and a genuine desire to connect. It might mean breaking out of the easy and the ordinary, by becoming a social influencer, or simply making the time for people who reach out to you, no matter how they choose to do it. It definitely means listening to the people who matter to you, then taking what you learn by listening and using it to strengthen the relationship(s).
Being genuine is key
The common denominator in all of these concepts is being true to yourself, and authentic with other people. Social is one place where #RonR really shines, because it's so easy to fall into the trap of being just another business. Anyone can share information without ever making the effort to really connect. You won’t get any Return on Relationship there, and that's not what #FollowThePath is about either. Being genuine and honest with yourself and others is a prerequisite – not an option.
I guess the biggest takeaway is that all of these concepts relate to each other and build on one another. If you take #RonR, then mix in a healthy helping of #NoLetUp!, you can start to see what #FollowThePath really means for me. For example, let's apply it to retail. Think about how each of these concepts applies to the Path-to-Purchase. How can you build a better customer experience, and what can you do to create meaningful relationships with the people who matter most to your business? When things are going well, and you can see your hard work paying off, how do you stay motivated to tackle the next challenge?
One more ingredient
You can't accomplish any of this without being willing to say “yes” and embrace the possibilities that come next.
Be open to considering new ideas and take an honest look at whether the old ones are still working. Whether you're building your brand, improving yourself, being there for friends and family, or simply hoping to make the most of each day, being ready to take action is essential for #RonR and #NoLetUp! if you're truly going to #FollowThePath.