It would not be reasonable to expect to be able to play at a golf club if you were not a member (or a guest of a member), yet many companies want benefits and revenue from our industry without paying their dues….without becoming members.
I just returned from Cannes and, once again, was struck by who was there and who wasn't. Who was attempting to part of the industry and who wasn't.
I am also deeply involved with the VCU Brandcenter. And there too, the distinction between those who want to be a part of our industry and those who merely want the benefits without participation are highlighted in bold relief.
We have attended enough conferences and trade shows in our lifetimes to know who really wants to be a part of and stands apart from.
There is an art to becoming a member, to becoming a part of something. It's not just about pouring money around. First of all you really need to believe in what you're doing. Phony enthusiasm is always perceived as phony. Secondly you need to pick your shots. No one has enough money or time to join and actively participate in everything. And lastly, only do things that make sense for your brand. Force fitting doesn't work…like trying to hit a golf ball with a tennis racket.
But however you choose to do it, it is vital that you actively join the community from which you presume to extract revenue. The rest of the community sees and knows. They appreciate sincere help from participants and sponsors. It earns you the benefit of the doubt.
Jerry has been at the leading edge for his entire 40+ year career. He may be the only executive in the digital arena to have created a new brand of soda pop (Mello Yello for The Coca-Cola Company) and he was the first person to conceptualize (and execute) a coffee-by-mail business (Gevalia Kaffe for Kraft Foods), and he helped transform a nascent online entertainment company into a powerful digital marketing services company that became so attractive that Yahoo! purchased it (Yoyodyne). Jerry can be reached at email@example.com
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