Dan Schawbel of Forbes.com had the opportunity to recently interview Social Media, Digital Marketing, and Personal Branding Expert Mitch Joel on Mitch’s new book, Ctrl Alt Delete:
Why do you think businesses should reboot right now? What’s changed in the past year to make them do this?
We have seen the business world enter the era of exponential growth. We’re no longer in a world where smartphone penetration grow by ten percent every year and it’s something that we can track. The iPad didn’t exist four years ago. When I started my digital marketing agency, Twist Image, in 2000 we were (and still are) considered very cutting edge in terms of merging marketing and technology. Today, I am hiring people in positions with job titles that didn’t even exist back then in areas of professional excellence that didn’t even exist. Every business is going through this exponential growth through the digitization of industry. If you don’t reboot your business and your career, what do you think the future holds?
How can big brands re-build their business model when they’ve been using it for decades?
This is one of the hardest questions to answer and it’s not something that can be answered in a few off-the-cuff sentences. I’ve written a book about it (and there have been others as well). Every day, I post a 1000-word blog post about this world. The truth is that they have to make a decision as to what kind of company they want to be. In CTRL ALT Delete, I divided companies into two segments. Segment #1 are the perpetual entrepreneurs: those who are envisioning a future for their industry that doesn’t exist. Segment #2 are the ones who had this type of thinking at their beginning and then spend the rest of their time optimizing this one-time innovation. By the looks of things, segment number one is where most business should strive to be, if they’re truly going to rebuild their brands and business models.
How do you know when you have to evolve your model to take into account all of the new technologies?
It’s not a moment in time. It’s a process. Brands need to understand that exponential growth and change is not something that is easily measured. Key performance indicators for this type of evolution are everywhere for most businesses these days. It’s hard to find an industry that isn’t being dramatically impacted and disrupted (either on the front end or the back end) of digitization and the connected consumer. If this still freaks a company out, my recommendation is to have a lunch n’ learn every couple of months and invite people to present on current trends, technologies and how consumers are connecting. This usually opens the floodgates to new and forward-thiking strategies.
What are the first steps to rebooting your business?
Admitting it. Most businesses refuse to acknowledge this change. I’d recommend that every business pick up and read Clayton Christensen’s The Innovator’s Dilemma. It maps out – in a very academic but functional way how to see it coming to your industry and your business. That being said, the first true step is not only buy-in by the senior most executives in the organization, but their ability to communicate the new vision and direction to the entire team. If it doesn’t come from the very top, there will be no culture change.
What are three ways that professionals can reboot their careers by leveraging social media?
1. Know that your personal brand is three-dimensional. We have moved beyond the typical 8.5 x 11 white piece of paper resume. Your resume is now links. These links should take everyone to who you truly are and how you make yourself connect to the rest of the world.
2. Embrace the squiggly. It used to be that professionals would change jobs a handful of times throughout their careers. Now, we have individuals changing careers as much as they used to change their jobs. It’s not clean. It’s not a straight line. It’s very squiggly. Embrace the squiggly.
3. Publish. Reading isn’t enough (but you should read as much as you can everyday). Reading plus publishing = success. Whether it’s a blog, Twitter, tumblr or Pinterest, publishing to the world demonstrates how you think and what you care about. It doesn’t have to be the biggest blog in the world… it just has to be you and it has to be intelligent. That act of critically thinking and publishing it (on a regular schedule) will help you transcend the ordinary.