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For a business to be successful, it needs to focus on being an influential force in the lives of its customers and employees. However, true influence can only be gained through trust. This book will show you how to build that trust.

It’s clear there’s been a seismic shift in business thinking over the last decade. The agenda is no longer being set by large corporate enterprises, but by large collections of individuals: You and me.

We’ve always known that change is a fact of life, even if we sometimes struggle to acknowledge and cope with it. From early in life, we were subjected to statements like “Change is the only constant.” Over the last 350 years, we have experienced accelerated human development, and hopefully, we have become used to the idea that change is all around us.

The twenty first century has ushered in change at such an accelerated pace that we have been left breathless. Science tells us that as you approach the speed of light some very strange things happen. Our perception changes and the universe no longer seems to play by the same rules. Time slows down; mass becomes dense and heavy; and gravity plays impossible tricks.

It would appear that similar quirks and anomalies are occurring within the rapid rate of change and accelerating pace of business that we are now experiencing. The established rules of the business universe no longer seem to apply, or work in such different ways that we struggle to make sense of it all.

While this presents a constant barrage of obstacles and challenges, it also makes it the most exciting time in our history to be alive and in business. When we adjust our view toward the wonderful opportunities that lie before us, business, and life in general, becomes wildly exciting.

And what an opportunity this offers to those who embrace this new environment and commit to the journey. Never before was it possible or practical to build such deep relationships with customers or to target your market in such a detailed manner. However, success requires a willingness to learn the new fundamentals of marketing and business.

Many businesses become so comfortable in the familiar “tried and tested” way of doing things that they fail to notice when they begin the slide towards irrelevance. The more change that comes, the more such businesses remain obstinately rooted in twentieth century ideas and outdated industrial values. As a result, these companies struggle, and many have already slipped below the surface, never realizing they simply missed the point.

Iconic brands like Kodak, the inventors of digital photography, resisted the actual digital revolution and are no longer with us. Microsoft, one of the architects of the digital age, misjudged the Internet sea change and still struggle for relevance. To Microsoft’s credit, their CEO, Satya Nadella, has acknowledged the problem, and the Company is reputed to be undergoing a massive effort to overhaul their internal culture. Ironically, the target market for Microsoft is within their own walls: those thousands of highly intelligent digital natives who work in their development labs. How bizarre it must be to know instinctively what the world wants but be guided in a different direction by high-level strategists on a “close but no cigar” corporate agenda.

Consider Blackberry, the inventor of the original smartphone, who may soon be a part of digital folklore since they apparently ignored what the iPhone, with its sexy apps and touch screen, would do to their sales. Unlike Microsoft, there appears to be little hope of Blackberry salvaging the situation. They simply left it too late!

Unless you’re in “digital denial,” you feel it every day. Look at how new technology, processes, and ideas quickly become standards, in contrast to the last century.

Today, we don’t have the luxury of time. The very idea of social media is younger than this century. Even so, six years from launch, Facebook is established as a global standard in communication. Six years! From a business perspective, that’s the blink of an eye. Traditional business often demands six years of test and trial before launch and implementation. No wonder the new digital tigers are leaving the establishment dead in the dust.

Three years after Facebook’s entrance, Twitter too took its place in the social media scene. As with all social platforms, it seemed ridiculous at the outset; who would actually use such a thing? They said it was a fad: a novelty that would quickly pass. Nevertheless, it grew to millions of users and by 2009 was beginning to threaten traditional news media. Journalists loved Twitter, but the media houses that employed them didn’t know how to use it or where it would take them. Meanwhile, their consumers became addicted to Twitter and its new way of informing them. They switched from traditional news channels and chose what they wanted to follow and what they would ignore.

Because social media and networking platforms were being shaped by their users, businesses found themselves out of the loop. There were no boardroom consultations, no marketing brainstorms. Individuals simply took these platforms and adapted their personal interface to suit their own purposes. When old world businesses finally caught the train, it was in an attempt to push their terms and agendas, which they were often startled to discover no longer worked.

Alongside social platforms, technology itself has taken us to places no one could have predicted. In the fifties and sixties, futurists predicted flying cars and commercial space flight. While those technologies are in development today, no one foresaw the revolution that would come with personal technology. In an age when software was barely a concept, how could anyone have predicted that, for example, we would all be carrying personal communication devices so powerful that they literally shrank the planet!

For the individual, the digital citizen, the ongoing advances in internet, mobile, social media, and technology have caused this radical shift in business thinking. Customers (and by extension, your workforce) are going their own way and making up their own minds. Their decisions are now formed through their virtually limitless access to timely, relevant information.

The reliance that today’s consumers place on the Internet, social media, mobile, and numerous other lifestyle technologies has dramatically changed the business-t0-customer relationship, from one of control to one of trust. A Social Business is one that is constantly working to build this trust in order to win influence in its market.

Social Business is also the process of building trust. Essentially, it is a business that understands and relates to its customers and workforce through the lens of these lifestyle-convenience platforms. A social business understands its people and the technology they use.

Excerpted from: How to Win Influence and Friend People. #1 Best Seller on Amazon for  Global Marketing. Click here to download

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