Influence comes from the bottom, and four other new business maxims

It’s an ongoing process, but it is becoming clearer day by day that the dominant business practices that direct the activities of the pharmaceutical industry, among many others, are not merely simply becoming residual, but are spiralling towards destruction.

Here are just a few examples:

Influence comes from the bottom

With the acquisition of Klout by a CRM company, the departure of Kred‘s CEO, and the company I memorably overheard described as ‘PeerSomething‘ now principally promoting a marketing tool, the moment of influence appears to be over.

However, the era of influence is just beginning.

What has been difficult to recognise during the boisterous infancy of social is that whilst luminaries of all stripes command attention to a point, the fractured gaze and near-infinite number of perspectives a saturated media afford us mean that real power belongs to those who can acquire the attention of everybody else.

The fact that influence is received not conferred has become almost too embarrassing to point out to those in positions of seniority within legacy industries. It would come as something of a disappointment for them to learn that beyond the confines of their own business and their immediate peers within their industry, they have very little influence to speak of. Along with the mortified coughing fit and the ironic golf clap, the addition of quotation marks when speaking of industry ‘influencers’ is perhaps the most polite way of pointing this out.

Relationships are the new data

Sadly, the sheen of the bar chart and glint of the data point have lost none of their radiance in the eye of the pharmaceutical marketer, who remains transfixed by the lambent glow of the social dashboard.

Poring over data instills in the observer the reassuring sense that something is getting done. However, the status of our relationships with customers provide the only data that matter.

Analysts may interpret it, but only practitioners can make this sort of data.

Small is the new big

It is possible to be big, and think small. All you need is a little humility, and a willingness to consider the possibility that what you currently consider to be best practice may in fact resemble its exact opposite. We can’t do everything. But it’s in our power to do what we do well. Here’s how a new company I admire expresses this idea through its work.

Only Bond villains have a masterplan

You need mini-plans. You need to produce them constantly. You need to embrace criticism as a welcome gift, not an impudent challenge. You need to learn to recognise failure as a cue to iterate anew, not to revert to the safety of redundant practices.

Local is the new global

As the Internet grows and the social web becomes larger and more complex, in order to remain visible and relevant we must tighten our field of vision, and sharpen our focus upon it.

The ‘global brand plan’ is now a set of loosely defined guidelines rather than an unwavering diktat.

Your focus is no longer global or continental, but rather national, regional, and even local. In reality, with the affiliate structure that multi-national companies customarily adopt and the regional differences they manifest, it always has been.

The difference is that now you have the digital tools to do something about it.

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