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Oct 4, 2011

How To Win in the “Thank You” Economy

We at Kudos have been thinking about this question quite a lot in the past year as we worked to develop the recognition and engagement programs on kudosnow.com - so I was interested to listen to Gary Vaynerchuk’s perspective during his recent Webinar given via GoTo Meeting Corporate on “How to Win in the Thank You Economy?”

Mr. Vaynerchuk is a very enthusiastic presenter, and believes in what he says and writes 100% - which is refreshing - as anyone who has ever read his book Crush It can attest to! Listening to this Webcast, I was especially struck by his passion on how and why a simple “thank you” really matters in this day and age, so long as it is authentic and meaningful. This is what I believe in too – and I trust many of you feel the same way: We don’t want platitudes, but rather, we become engaged via meaningful recognition for a job well done, &/or for helping out whenever we can. The current status of Social Media certainly helps people become more engaged with one another, including managers and their teams – and this is precisely where Kudos fits in. Its rather kismet and beautiful really, in its simplicity – but it wasn’t always thus.

Mr. Vaynerchuk began with taking us back to the days of Windows95 & AOL = does anyone really remember those days? They were exciting times for those that do = there was an air of a new era, kinda like when Nirvana & GNR released their seminal albums months apart = remember that? You just knew that times they were a-changing…but it wasn’t until a full decade+ in the mid-naughts, 2007 specifically, that social media really became a catalyst for change – and not just in the social mores of University students and their younger siblings, but in the corporate and political worlds all together – not to mention entertainment and all things media-centric (basically everything).

Turning back to the original question: Its just in the past few years that the need to create powerful, legacy-building, corporate cultures helped focus the content of everything that’s posted in the name of a brand in context, where every single social media post – be it via Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc., becomes a part of your legacy. So that social media now dovetails into traditional PR and marketing, and this is where good intent matters! Its where you can post “wins” on the economic scoreboard – and this is precisely where it can get confusing for the traditionalists: Social media is NOT a pushmedia platform, such as advertising on TV. Social media is meant to pullin your audience. Mr. Vaynerchuk puts it another way – which I think is a brilliant metaphor:

“In the past 100+ years, everyone wanted to be the star QB; but now its all about who’s the best Wide Receiver?”

Another way to look at it is via the analogy of “small town living” moving online – where everyone is curious to know your business, and then share the gossip with the neighbours! Some people flourish in small towns; and some flee. Either way, it’s all about the reputation of the (corporate) individual. This is where good intent, and a polite “thank you”helps make a real difference in how the legacy is perceived &/or remembered – and thereby monetized.

Now its not all warm and fuzzy online, and Mr. Vaynerchuk is concerned with how newcomers like Klout are changing the landscape of social media. Where people chase popularity by adjusting behaviour to what they think their audience wants vs. just being themselves. Klout is becoming the online Nielsen’s – which can only make creativity and authenticity flounder….

Not unless people let it! There’s still room online – lots of room – for the authentic voices to be heard. We’re not all just voyeurs – so when you see or read or hear something authentic and great online (or in the real world), don’t just click the “Like” button (although that’s cool too) – send “kudos”!  [Find out how on www.kudosnow.com]

Meanwhile, as Mr. Vaynerchuk says – every person who follows you on Twitter, or friends you on Facebook, or becomes your fan on countless other sites deserves a response via recognition during “subtle moments in time”. The trick is to “erase the lines in the sand”  - don’t let them know you’re doing it and make certain you’re on the “right side of history” – easier said than done, as V. admits. He recommends we consider ourselves the platform, i.e. as Marshal McLuhan said it: “the medium is the message”.

Saying Thank You is one way to win!

Tom Short

Tom Short is the President and Co-Founder of Kudos Inc, where he is pioneering his vision for an industry leading recognition and engagement SaaS solution. Tom’s expertise in branding, marketing strategy and cloud-based SaaS development allows him to chase his passion of changing the world one thank you at a time. When he’s not showing the world that recognition matters, Tom enjoys coaching football, the Black Keys and a steaming vanilla latte to start his day.

Other posts by:
Tom Short

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