The Thank You Economy: A book review by Bob Morris

Posted on: May 10th, 2011 by bobmorris

The Thank You Economy
Gary Vaynerchuk
HarperBusiness (2011)

Business begins with making people feel appreciated…and goes nowhere unless they do

In recent years, an avalanche of research data generated from marketplaces throughout the world reveals that when asked to identify what is most important to them, workers and customers identify “feeling appreciated” as being either #1 or #2.

Re-read that sentence and you will understand what Gary Vaynerchuk has in mind when observing “we have entered a new era in which developing strong consumer relationships is pivotal to a brand or company’s success.” The challenge is to create at points of contact with each consumer “an emotionally charged interaction” because the cultural changes social media have ushered in “are already having a big impact on marketing strategies, but eventually, companies that want to compete are going to have to change their approach to everything, from their hiring practices to their customer service to their budgets. Not all at once, mind you. But it will have to happen, because there is no slowing down the torpedo-like speed with which technology is propelling us into the Thank You Economy.”

Long ago, Southwest Airlines’ then chairman and CEO, Herb Kelleher explained his company’s sustained success this way: “We take good care of our people, they take good care of our customers, and then our customers take good care of our shareholders.” In the “Thank You Economy,” appreciation is the coin of the realm. The aforementioned “emotionally charged interaction” involves two components: an employee who appreciates a customer or (yes) another employee and the person who feels appreciated.

Throughout his lively and eloquent narrative, Vaynerchuk inserts a number of insights that caught my eye. Here is a representative selection:

On his use of exaggeration: “I’d rather shock you into paying attention, and admit later that business rarely requires an all-or-nothing approach, than take the chance that you won’t take the situation seriously enough.” (Page 7)

“Right now, I’d say that social media is a bit like a kidney – you can survive with only one, but your chances of making it to old age are a lot better with two. Eventually, though, I think social media will be as important to a business as a strong heart.” (80)

“Creating a Thank You Economy culture will become easier and easier as you begin hiring people who share your commitment to caring. It will be easy to spot the people already on your staff who can’t adapt or just don’t get the concept, and as they leave you will replace them with those who share your DNA.” (102)

“Developing a powerful emotional connection could be all it takes to convince [consumers] to consolidate their spending with you. Plus, now that purchasing decisions are directly affected by consumers’ relationships to the people they communicate with on their social networking sites, staying aware of who your consumers know and who they talk to regularly [i.e. those by whom their preferences and purchase decisions are most influenced] will become increasingly important.” (196)

“Care – about your customers, about your employees, about your brand – with everything you’ve got.” (233)

I selected the title for this review (“Business begins with making people feel appreciated…and goes nowhere unless they do”) because I realized decades ago that I could not accomplish much of anything in my life unless I cared, really cared, about what I wanted to do and really cared about those on whom I depended for help to achieve my objectives. I also realized something else that proved to be even more important: Really caring about helping others to achieve their own objectives. It is easy enough to incorporate a company and obtain a license to do business. What happens next depends almost entirely on how much you care about who you are, how much you care about what you want to do, and how much you care about those with whom you will be associated. If you care enough about all three, you’ve got a shot. Otherwise, don’t bother.

In the Thank You Economy, the “winners” will be those who care the most…and are cared about the most. If you are determined to be among the “winners,” this is a must-read. In fact, it is a must re-read.

Think about it: If you don’t care, why should anyone else?

 

 

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