19 Apr Listening to #CoffeeADay
I remember the first time I paid attention to the phrase it’s just business: a coworker was fired, with no notice, and was really upset. Someone said “It’s just business.” Over the years I’ve never heard the phrase used for anything good. I am a big proponent of bringing your humanity and kindness to work every day. And that’s one of the reasons why I put empathy at the center of what I do as a marketer, right alongside interconnection and authenticity. A great reminder of the wonderful relationships you can build through work was my recent virtual “coffee meeting” with Jeff Echols, a fellow marketing consultant I’ve now had the pleasure to know for a few years.
A couple of years ago Jeff started a wonderful initiative called #CoffeeADay – He grabs a real or virtual coffee with an individual Monday through Friday, and then writes about it on social media. It’s an amazing project and people are grabbing onto it around the country.
During our conversation, we explored many topics. The highlight for me was to hear Jeff talk about his passion for storytelling: he approaches all his marketing as if he’s writing a story, analyzing characters, and building a narrative arc. I was not surprised to hear about Jeff’s success as a meeting facilitator and trainer, either. That’s what makes #CoffeeADay such a great project, Jeff is really interested in what you have to share.
Listening is at the heart of successful marketing. People often think it’s crafting copy or designing a great site: these things are important, but to be effective, they have to be rooted in real empathy, understanding, listening of your customers and potential customers. Business interactions rooted in building community create a more genuine and mutually beneficial connection. It’s not just about buying and selling, but creating a great experience for all involved. #CoffeeADay doesn’t sell anything, and yet, a connection can sometimes lead to business transactions. The difference is that the sharing and coming together is genuine.
It’s always important to listen to your community, and the best time to start is right at the beginning: Jeff and I discussed how it’s great when we are approached at the beginning of a project, at the start of a business. When you listen from the beginning, your marketing, your message, you brand’s look and feel will grow faster, and reach the right people.
Lastly, we talked about the importance of building the right work environment: too many people quit a corporate career and end up working grueling hours and having no work-life balance as entrepreneurs. What would it be like to listen to yourself, your friends and family, and to build a business that takes care of everyone, including you? That’s what I am here to explore and help entrepreneurs with – to build companies and business models that work by listening to our community.