Soul Business Blog 4 – Aspire to inspire

Soul Business is an ethos to inspire and enable people, business and organisations to communicate better by connecting deeper.

Okay, so here’s the conundrum – most of us like to buy but few of us like to be sold to.

So what’s the answer? Go to win buy-in instead. It’s easier, more enjoyable and works better.

Oh, and it is value driven and an inevitable outgrowth of character marketing.

In fact, you may never need to sell again. How so? Because great things can happen if you create your own vision and mission for others to buy into.

If you’ve followed Soul Business rules 1 to 3 (and used our templates if you’re doing this via one of our development programmes) you should have some pretty strong messages in place.

Now I want you to make this public by shaping it into a clear vision and mission to inspire others to get on board.

Setting a vision and mission requires clarity rather than elaborate detail (I’m assuming you have a business plan with all sorts of projections in place to set your entire stall out).   

Your vision is where you’ve come from and, more importantly, where you want to go.

This is particularly important if you have employees, partners, investors, directors, colleagues, suppliers and the like who you might want to involve in helping chart the course and buy in tightly to the mission.

The mission is how you’ll do it. More than tactics this is more about motivation and belief. Great results are achievable by inspiring people to act for all sorts of social, cultural, political, lifestyle and plain old consumer reasons.

That’s why people support good causes or campaigns they believe in. They do so for their own reasons – their own morals, beliefs and values. It is about them not you.

Customers can become more than mere consumers. They can be fans with ravenous appetites for new products and services – and almost evangelical advocates.  They do your bidding having bought into what you are, what you do and how you do it. It’s about belief. 

Selling becomes secondary. No one forces people to queue at midnight for the latest iPhone (or other Apple products for that matter), or when IKEA open a new store, or to view the latest Bond film, or buy a new album or sportswear brands like Adidas or Nike.

Okay, there may be lots of promotion and marketing involved (these are rich and successful brands after all) but somewhere along the line people have bought into their story big time.

Winning businesses get the best teams on board. They gain investment, market themselves effectively, promote themselves proficiently, use the power of PR to generate positive publicity, source the best suppliers, work with funding agencies, regulatory bodies and membership organisations and so on. They aspire to inspire.

An uber example is Tamla Motown, which became one of the greatest influences on 20th century popular culture despite being founded as a black-owned independent record label with little money, a home-based studio, no established artists, songwriters, arrangers and with session musicians plucked from Detroit’s jazz clubs.

Motown’s bold vision was to create the ‘Sound of Young America’, indeed its own ‘Motown Sound’ – an almost unbelievably simple but ambitious set of mission statements that were entirely about winning buy in among the team who made the music at Motown – and onto distributors who want to sell Motown records and, of course, fans who wanted it for their own reasons – to heighten the joys or pain of love and to dance to.

Indeed Motown’s popularity endured long after its demise – it influenced artists and changed the face of pop music.

But then the whole against all odds rise of soul music is testimony to the power of buy in despite being rooted in slavery, segregation, discrimination and indescribable poverty, initially as blues, a call-and-response music originating from Africa, developed in the gruelling cotton-picking fields of the southern USA, which had rhythm added in gospel churches and by travelling bluesmen who, literally, electrified the blues as it migrated to the northern US cities.

Blues influenced rock & roll, jazz, swing and, obviously, R&B. Soul music and all its offshoots emerged from all these musical forms. Motown was simply its most pop driven form.

The lesson? If you’re a small impoverished business, don’t say you don’t have the potential, or ability to achieve great things just because you aren’t sufficiently capitalised.

Vision, mission, spirit and inspiration matter more – and that’s a key soul business ethic.  

Chris Green is an award-winning author and broadcaster – and managing partner of Chris Green Media – which inspires organisations to communicate better by connecting deeper.