Let’s ask this question today and see what kind of responses we each have.  As Wim Rampen reminds us, it’s the outcome that customers want, not the relationship.  At the heart of business, we should be providing value to the people that we are ‘targeting,’ so let’s do a quick inventory of how we’re doing in this area.

We hear the words ‘provide value’ or ‘engage the customer’ all the time, but often the actual follow-through is lacking.  Our communications should be primarily designed to help the people we are communicating with, not just fill empty space for the sake of filling it.  I’m guilty in my own writing and musings online of not taking this into account fully, but it’s something I keep an eye on as much as possible.

Take Facebook for example.  For many individuals, Facebook is a great place to keep up with the people that are in their networks, but sometimes the content that is being shared doesn’t appear to be providing much value.  This sense of over-sharing can be detrimental to the ongoing engagement people have with their friends if they wear out the news feeds with random dribble and little valuable content that matters to their friends.  The same is true for brands, and arguably to a greater degree.  The endless ‘buy our stuff’ posts can have the effect of numbing the brand’s fans and desensitize them to the content that is being posted, or worse, they can hide the updates altogether, which defeats the point of having them as fans in the first place.

The remedy for the above scenario is contributing to the conversation in a way that benefits the recipient of the communication.  This seems so basic, but it’s often not practiced in day-to-day business.  If we want to engage our community and provide value, then we should be passing our communications through some sort of filter that determines the value of the communication to the recipient before they go out. An approach such as this might very well nudge participants into elevating the dialogue to a level that truly builds value for all involved.

So, what is the last thing you did, as an individual or as a brand that provided value to your community?  I’ll start.  I tweeted a few articles that I thought were very worthwhile reading this morning.  One was on the Agency of the Future, and the another was Does Being Happy Make Your Healthy? Both of the articles resonated with me and I thought they would be seen as valuable to the people that follow me on Twitter.  Hopefully this blog post also provides some value to those who are subscribed or have connected in other ways.

What about you?  What was the last thing you did to provide value to your community?

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