I have compiled six powerful lessons that our team has recently gleaned from Benjamin Franklin and are applying to our online engagement strategy. Yep, that’s right! The Benjamin Franklin– Father of Electricity, inventor, ambassador, efficiency enthusiast and really cool guy. Oh alright! His face is on the one hundred dollar bill and it’s “all about the Benjamins”. Whatever. Here’s what we’ve learned.
1. It’s never too late to start something new with conviction and courage.
At 42, Franklin retired from the printing press business and pursued science wholeheartedly. Sure, it was the Age of Enlightenment, but Franklin stepped into uncharted territories with no formal training or experience. His pursuit was driven by a passion to learn. Our brand is being built on the foundation of our collective experiences across the industries of marketing, web development and consumer engagement, but we are distinguished only by a commitment to constantly learn as we go. If you are considering a courageous move away from the corporate office or have been forced out of your cubicle and tossed out on your own, be inspired that great success is usually won by those willing to put in the work. There is no better time than NOW! We continue to apply this lesson at Pandora Project Marketing to our own journeys professionally and personally and encourage you to do the same.
2. A penny saved is a penny earned.
Franklin knew the importance of conserving resources and is often quoted for this coppery quip. Social media is free and requires nothing more than time, energy and some targeted guidance to get it right. Your brand doesn’t necessarily need an advertising budget to get started and continue to grow into a profitable venture. Check out @AJBomber’s in Milwaukee as a perfect case study. Built entirely on social media, Joe Sorge speaks openly about his success in achieving a five year sales goal in just 18 months. Online marketing through social and digital media could not only save you money, but help you earn some new capital too.
3. Get plugged in.
Through his prolific experiments, Franklin learned that electricity travels through a specific point and can be harnessed for practical uses. His progressive courage to explore just “how” to do this led to the invention of lightning rods, which initially protected buildings and later became an adaptable power source. Good job, Ben! As a new or established brand, we can use social media to “plug-in” to those who are successful and learn how to better adapt in our own niche market.
Maybe most importantly, this concept is also a great testimony to what happens when a powerful force is channeled properly. We are committed to evolving the use of our social media streams to our advantage and letting a proven track record become a part of our success story. Think Pinterest. It’s not just for crafters, buddy! Are you utilizing one of the most powerful resources in digital marketing? It’s literally right at your fingertips!
4. Be a (Wo)Man of the People.
A brilliant scientist that made time for the people? Get outta here! Yep! Personal accounts of Franklin show that he was skilled at intimate conversations. Good relationship building skills made him a well-liked guy and influential with other folks. When a frenchman. in turn, carried out his own experiment and constructed the first lightning rod house, it was Benjamin Franklin’s popularity that soared overseas in Europe. His ability to speak with people and to people made him invaluable in many ways, even through the efforts of his contemporaries!
Many of us have a significant offshore network based on this same concept. Today, we must continue to build real and lasting relationships with potential clients and peers by being open and forthright with others and showing that we truly do care. Do you cringe at the idea of reaching out to someone new? Rather drink cold Starbucks then strike up a conversation with a stranger? Then how do you ever expect to reach a customer? How will you convert a passerby to a CLIENT? Successful brands are built on the backbone of relationships. Regardless of industry, we must be passionate about people and those we mean to serve. Open your mouth and your self and practice engaging people. Perfect practice makes perfect, right?
4. Think BIG!
Big Ben gathered research constantly and never, ever, EVER stopped thinking. Did you know he conducted extensive research on Gulf stream temperatures while travelling on his transatlantic voyages? Hello, modern meteorology! He was also busy perfecting efficient heating stoves, while working on the treaty with the English in 1785. Sure, the first few stove models were a flop. But the final editions were adopted worldwide! What would happen if we followed suit and pursued those ideas that we just aren’t so sure about? How much are we leaving on the table every single day by limiting our vision to that which is only guaranteed to be attainable? With new brands popping up every day, your idea is just as valuable as anyone else’s idea…until they run with it. Go! Go! Go!
5. Don’t be afraid to gather + share information.
Once Franklin missed out on a lunar eclipse because some pesky clouds were blocking his vision that night. So, he wrote to every one he could reach, up and down the east coast to ask about the timing and scope of the storm. Using that data, he determined that winds traveled in various directions and not just from the northeast. Again, develop relationships. Start conversations by asking questions. Build a network that serve as a support system for your new venture. Most of us are always willing to share what worked well or what totally flopped. It’s a win-win situation when you carry on relevant conversations online.
6. Share Information Again!
Did I stutter? No. It’s really that important. Despite being a go-getter and handy with an inky feather, Mr. Franklin felt confident that there was no need to patent his many inventions. Why? Because wanted his inventions to benefit ALL.
I think we are all guilty of not following through with the “sharing” part at some point in our lives, if not every day. It’s human nature to selfishly protect what we think is valuable. But it’s hurtful. Yes, hurtful. Lock yourself away and you defeat the purpose of digital marketing for brand awareness and consumer engagement. We have to constantly ask ourselves, “Are we clinging to a our bits of valuable information and missing out on the opportunity to share in a wealth of knowledge?”
Competition is healthy and raises the standards in our industries, but especially in the digital marketing world. Brands and businesses that work together to share best practices build an authoritative reputation and are generally more trusted as subject matter experts than the cooped-up suit in the corner office.
In today’s climate, it’s small businesses and personal brands that are experiencing the most growth and yet we are surely struggling with the most challenges to sustain our visions. It can be excruciatingly difficult to grow a business. Where are those rewards we thought were on our doorstep? They might be in a different package than we expected. Bottom line- Each step is an opportunity to learn and constantly improve.
So, armed with what we continually learn from our peers and have just picked up from one of history’s most innovative, inspirational figures (Thanks Big Guy!), we press on in an effort to create a profitable brand, yet acknowledge the importance of making the journey meaningful along the way.
Do any of these points ring true to you professionally or personally? What challenges are you facing now as a brand or small business? Have you recently overcome a challenge that might help another brand better engage their online audience? Share your battle stories from the trenches by leaving a comment below.
You are reading , Six Powerful Lessons in Leveraging Brand Awareness from Benjamin Franklin posted on PollySentrick. If you’ve enjoyed this post, please be sure to follow PollySentrick on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest.
(Originally Posted: 14 Jan 2011 01:14 AM PST by PollySentrick for Pandora Project Marketing)