Chris Brogan and Julien Smith have merged into one super marketing monster

The last time I suggested two business titans came from the same place, I had my tongue planted firmly in my cheek. Today, let’s go literal: Chris Brogan and Julien Smith have merged into one guy.

That’s Chrisjulien Brogansmith at the top of this post. Mr. Brogan and Mr. Smith came together almost too easily, and their latest book, The Impact Equation, like the earlier Trust Agents, is a similarly mashed-together set of ideas that simplify some none-too-simple stuff.

I’m not here to review books, and I’m not here to pick on Chris or Julien. I’ve written about Chris Brogan’s work several times, and Julien Smith’s work, too. Both of these guys are smart, and while I’ve noticed Chris seem to “get it” more over time and Julien feels to me as though he’s getting it less, the story today is about business change. And business be a-changin’ .

Last week, Chris Brogan pointed out something that brings together much of what we do at Answer Guy Central. Social Media is Boring. It’s a funny idea when you first hear it, but give it just a bit of thought and you’ll agree; there’s nothing happening in social media that gets you excited. There’s nothing new. There’s nothing that matters.

This is because, as Chris points out, social media has become about the tools, rather than what we do with them.

Facebook, of course, is the most egregious of these tools toys.  Everyone you know has an account. Every person starts out posting all kinds of stuff (PICTURES! OPINIONS! WHEEEEEEE!), reconnects with a few dozen long-lost acquaintances and then realizes, sometimes with a detour through Farmville, that other than its value as a stalking tool Facebook is a colossal waste of time.

Then they move onto Twitter. Or Instagram. Or whatever.

This was what we had in mind when we started the now-dormant Facelift a couple of years ago; social networks and social media are only useful if they provide some sort of real facility and a clear path to using them effectively. Social media only matters if you can create real Influency* using it. Doximity tries this, and gets farther, but ultimately suffers the same fate as Facebook.

So we get all excited about the tools at our disposal, but then we lose sight of the fact that they’re just tools, and we need to actually use them. And we lose interest.

Chris breaks the issue down into what he’s calling “5 Cs”. And the point is pretty simple; fail to Communicate to a Community through Content and Customer Service, and you’ll never see Commerce.

I’m going to get a little bit abstract, now.

Just as the word “romantic” has a commonly-accepted definition that has to do with love, hearts, and violins—but also has a meaning that’s about ideals in a more general sense—commerce isn’t always about money.

Commerce is about exchange. Commerce doesn’t happen without trust. Trust, as we have more and more tools but fewer and less-well-defined uses for them, is increasingly hard to come by. And when you use those tools the wrong way, you blow trust away. Just Ask Virgin America about Customer Service.

When the crap starts getting deep—and preferably before it does—your job as both a business change and trust agent is to readjust perceptions, reality, and the 5 Cs. And that, once again is where Influency* comes in.

Can’t wait to know more about Influency* ? Let’s talk.

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