Over the Christmas holiday I had a chance to read Tom Asacker’s new book, Opportunity Screams: Unlocking Hearts and Minds in Today’s Idea Economy.
Tom is also the author of another one of my favorite books, A Little Less Conversation: Connecting with Customers in a Noisy World. (By the way, if it weren’t for Valeria Maltoni, I would have never found this gem of a book nor met Tom.)
What I like about Tom’s writing—and I am sure you will too—is that he takes the most complex business challenges and marketplace shifts and breaks them down through storytelling and metaphors so that they are easily understandable and digestible. But more importantly, he provides actionable guidance.
But what I like best is that Tom concentrates on the importance of focusing on the customer. An outside-in and customer-centric perspective, if you will. The marketplace has changed (whether B2B, B2C, Non-Profit or other)—forever. Today’s customers are enlightened, empowered and educated. The question is how will you adapt to the shift? Understanding how, when and why ‘opportunity screams’ is your first step.
This Book is Dangerous
With Opportunity Screams, Tom shares three core principles (Engagement, Interest, and Belief) using the metaphor of doors and the locks and keys that accompany them. Why is this book dangerous? Well, from my perspective… If your competition reads it and implements the practices within the book, you might just find yourself being blind-sided and struggling to understand what just happened to cause such a drastic marketplace shift (a shift away from you…that is). Tom refers to it in the book as restless mind syndrome.
If you aren’t ready to do something extraordinary and passionate, don’t read this book. If you are, this book will be a guidepost you can trust.
The core principles of engagement include:
- Unexpected – Make them stop and think
- Expressive – Charm rather than inform
- Evocative – Provide a cue to value
The lock to this door is the one that most organizations suffer from today: Fear. The status quo isn’t working, but they are afraid to adapt and take risks. They fear being social. The organizations that are willing to engage their customers and stakeholders will benefit from the value that lies behind this door. The key to unlocking that value is being brave enough to become alive and captivating.
Door Two: Interest – Be Desirable
The core principles of interest include:
- Valuable – Feed their hungers
- Reflective – Enhance their self-identities
- Behavioral – Entice them to participate
The lock to this door is the myth of media exposure and persuasion. Ah, yes… the notion of “if we publicize and push, they will come.” Tom provides some compelling examples as to why this might not be the best mindset when it comes to customers and stakeholders. The key to unlocking a new mindset is making everything you say and do valuable.
According to Peter Drucker: “What the business thinks it produces is not of first importance. What the consumer thinks he is buying, what he considers ‘value’ is decisive.” I agree with Tom’s more updated statement that “…it’s what the customer feels he is getting in exchange for his time, attention and money that is decisive today.” (i.e. cost over price.)
Door Three: Belief – Be Real
The core principles of belief include:
- Vivid – Come alive in their imagination
- Tangible – Convey purpose through actions
- Social – Stimulate interaction and sharing
The lock to this door is not understanding customers and stakeholders (and what they are thinking). Being customer-centric is an operational and cultural belief that putting the customer at the heart of the business is where success lies. You cannot do that until you understand your customers. Until you do, people will not believe you, your actions or your intentions. The key to unlocking this door is the most simple (for some)…be real.
“…when people don’t care, when they are not emotionally invested, they get analytical and start comparing ideas. And comparing often leads to a non-decision, or a decision based primarily on cost.”
From Tom’s book to your memory… Don’t allow yourself to be comparable. (Sobering and truthful words, thank you Tom!)
Start Unlocking Doors
I know I haven’t done Opportunity Screams justice. But just know that I have literally dog-eared half of the book and highlighted the rest. There are so many compelling examples and pieces of advice that it would be difficult to capture them all in one post. Go ahead and read it yourself, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
P.S. This is the perfect book to get for your management team or clients who are struggling with the idea economy and social media.
[Disclaimer: I received a free copy of Opportunity Screams from Tom. This in no way reflects my post or opinions, as I only share books that are smart and focus on providing advice and guidance on being customer-centric. Yep, I am extremely and narrowly focused that way.]