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Contents

Foreword

Katie Couric

Introduction (R)evolution: How Internet Culture Has Created a
New Era of Social Consumerism
This Is None of Your Business, So Make It Your Business

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

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A Quiet Riot: The Information Divide and the
Cultural Revolution

1

The Human Genome Meets Digital DNA
Don’t Blame It on the Youth
Ch-Ch-Changes

4
5
6

Youthquake: Millennials Shake Up the
Digital Lifestyle

8

Boom
Digital Darwinism: Controlling Your Way
to Obsolescence

10

The Medium Is No Longer the Message

15

Social Networks as Your Personal Operating
System (OS)
Don’t Google Me, Facebook Me
Twitter Me This . . . The Facebook Generation

17
19
19

The Attention Deficit Crises and
Information Scarcity

22

Remorse and Social Network Fatigue
Poster’s Remorse
Does Attention Bankruptcy Loom Behind the Thin Veil
of Popularity?

12

23
24
25

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CONTENTS

Chapter 5

If You Can’t Tweet ’Em, Join Them
The Progress of Progress

27
29

The Evolution of the Network Economy and the
Human Network

32

Content Was King
Context Is King: Defining Our Experiences
The Shift in Networking: Nicheworks Bridge Social and
Interest Graphs
Recognizing the Value of Nicheworks
Interest Graphs Are the Constructs of Maturing
Information Networks

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

33
35
36
43
45

The Nextwork: Defining Tomorrow’s
Information Network

48

Do I Know You? Oh Yes, You’re Friends with Their
Friends Who Are Friends with Those Who Are
Friends of Mine
It’s a Smaller World, after All
Information at the Speed of Tweets

50
51
53

Your Audience Is Now an Audience of Audiences
with Audiences

56

Short Attention Span Theater
An Audience with an Audience of Audiences
The People Formerly Known as the Audience
The Psychology of the Audiences with Audiences
Zuckerberg’s Law
Interest Graph Theory
On-Demand Networking: Investing in Narrow and
Wide Experiences

57
60
61
62
63
64
68

Convergence: The Intersection of Media and the
Human Network

72

The Digital Footprint
I Want My Web TV. . . . Be Careful What You Wish For
Channeling a Connected Audience
The Living Room Is Alive and Clicking
New Consumerism: From Clicks to Cliques
An Audience of Information Ambassadors

73
75
77
78
79
81

Measures of Digital Influence and Social Capital:
From Nobody to Somebody

83

The Human Algorithm
Digital Influence Creates a New Media World Order

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Contents
Defining Influence
Seeking Relevance: The Social Consumer Hierarchy
The Social Stock Market
The Square Root of Influence Is Social Capital
The New Era of Endorsements: When Nobodies
Become Somebodies
Influence Is Not Popularity and Popularity Is
Not Influence
The Tools of the Trade
Influencing the Influencer

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

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86
87
88
91
93
95
98

The Dawn of Connected Consumerism

100

You Are Now Entering the Trust Zone
A Day in the Life of the Connected Consumer
Checking In to the New Reality of Geolocation
Steering Action through Incentives
When Purchases Become Social Objects
It’s Not How You See Me, It’s How I Want You
to See Me

101
103
106
111
112

The Rise of Collective Commerce

117

On the Web, One Is a Lonely Number:
Socializing Commerce
The Fifth C of Community = Social Commerce
Buy with Friends! The Savings of the Crowds
Build It and They (Won’t) Come
The Laws of Attraction and Affinity
ABC: Always Be Closing

118
121
123
126
127
132

Creating Magical Experiences

136

m-Commerce: The Smartphone Makes
Shoppers Smarter
Reality Bytes
Price Comparison Apps Lead to Purchases or
Competitive Purchases
Discounting Prices, but Not Loyalty
Virtual Mirrors Reflect the True Persona of the
Connected Customer
Excuse Me While I Check Out
Designing Shareable Experiences

Chapter 13

113

137
139
140
141
144
145
147

Brands Are No Longer Created, They’re
Co-Created

151

Branding the Customer Relationship
If Ignorance Is Bliss, Awareness Is Awakening

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CONTENTS

Chapter 14

In the Human Network, Brands Become the Culmination
of Shared Experiences
The Awakening Flips the Switch
The Poetry of Language and Media

154
159
163

Reinventing the Brand and Sales Cycle for a
New Genre of Connected Commerce

169

Plug into the Grid of Decision Making
Once More, This Time with Feeling
I’m Not Just Listening to You, I Hear You; I See and
Feel What You’re Saying
Bring the Essence of Brand to Life
Brand Essence Exercise
A Model for Emotive Engagement
Funneling Through Time
The Collapse of the Funnel and Emergence of New
Consumer Touchpoints
The Decision-Making Circle

Chapter 15

Aspiring to Reach beyond Conformity to
Inspire Customers
Market Fragmentation Leads to Diversification
Behaviorgraphics
The Interest Graph Is Alive: A Study of Starbucks’s
Top Followers

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

The Last Mile: The Future of Business Is
Defined through Shared Experiences

170
171
172
173
174
175
177
180
185

190
192
197
201

212

The Apple of My Eye: Designing Magical
(and Shareable) Experiences
The Laws of Engagement
Like a Virgin: Treating Customers Like They Were
Touched for the Very First Time
Distribution of Engagement Resources and Strategies
A Market in Transition Begets a Business in Motion

219
224
227

The Culture Code: When Culture and Social
Responsibility Become Market Differentiators

229

The Zappos Story: The Customer Service Shoe Is
Now on the Other Foot
Zappos: Putting the Customer in Customer Service
Zappos: The Culture of Customer Advocacy
Zappos: Delivering Happiness

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Contents
The New CEO: Chief Experience Officer
In Good Company: Philanthropic Capitalism and the New
Era of Corporate Social Responsibility
Giving Back Is the New . . . Red
One Day without Shoes: A March toward Prosperity and
Social Responsibility
Empathy Loves Company

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20
Notes
Index

Adaptive Business Models: Uniting Customers
and Employees to Build the Business of
Tomorrow, Today

ix
235
237
238
239
241

244

The Adaptive Business Learns through Reflection and
Leads through Projection
The Dilemma’s Innovator
Rethinking the Future of Business: Building
the Framework
From Bottom Up to Top Down and Outside In to
Inside Out
Dell’s Bells
The Dellwether of Customer Sentiment
The Future of Business Is Up to You

255
257
258
265

Change Is in the Air: The Inevitable March toward
Change Management

269

245
246
250

The Future of Business Starts with Change and
Ends with Change Management
The March toward Change Leads to Relevance:
A Blueprint for Change
Phase 1: Setting the Stage
Phase 2: Managing Change
Phase 3: Reinforcing Change
Connecting Value Propositions to Personal Values
This Is Your Time

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272
273
274
274
278

What’s Next? The Evolution of Business from
Adaptive to Predictive

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Introduction
(R)evolution: How Internet Culture Has Created
a New Era of Social Consumerism

This is a book about the new era of business, consumerism, and your
role in defining the future of everything. . . .
Let me start by saying thank you for picking up this book. If you
read only these few lines, realize that you are part of a consumer
revolution that is changing the future of business, media, and culture.
You did not intentionally enlist in this movement, but you are indeed
part of it.
Consumers are connecting with one another, creating a vast and
efficient information network that shapes and steers experiences and
markets. Whether you’re a business professional or a consumer, you
are part of this new era of connected or social consumerism and
individually and collectively, the effects of your actions and words
are nothing short of extraordinary when concentrated. Together,
you . . . me . . . we have the power to change things around us. Every
day, we’re learning and practicing how to make sense of these emerging privileges. Businesses and consumers have the power to change
the course of the economy and it’s nothing short of disruptive.
People are now investors in and beneficiaries of a new genre of
collective intelligence that informs and guides people in real time.
Information, whether we contribute or learn, is now a wonderful
commodity that’s on demand. Needless to say, people are informing
and are informed.
In just a few short years, we witnessed how people-powered
Wikipedia displaced industry giant Britannica as the world’s encyclopedia. The so-called wisdom of the crowds is now forming a power
of the crowds, creating a new form of group buying to unlock amazing
deals online and in the real world. Groupon, LivingSocial, Facebook
Deals, and the countless others that are emerging empower groups of
people to buy and save together, and in turn, share these opportunities
with those to whom they’re connected online and offline.

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INTRODUCTION

Simply by discussing the experiences we’ve had with brands and
businesses on review sites, in blogs, and in online communities, we’ve
created a new world of consumer influence. People make decisions
based on the shared experiences of others. And that influence is sweeping, as consumers are increasingly connecting to one another.
Remember the Yellow Pages? Websites such as Yelp, Craigslist,
Angie’s List, and even Foursquare collectively displaced what was
once the community staple for local businesses and service providers
by moving information and experiences to online communities and
social networks.
Once “too big to fail” businesses such as Borders, Tower Records,
Wherehouse, Circuit City, and Blockbuster are now gone. Each business is a victim of Digital Darwinism, the evolution of consumer
behavior when society and technology evolve faster than the ability
to exploit it. Digital Darwinism does not discriminate. Every business
is threatened.
This is just a little taste of how consumer behavior has changed
the landscape for buying and selling—and this transformation is just
getting started. It’s nothing new. What is different, though, is that
change forces just that: change. Those businesses that recognize disruption and develop a culture and process for innovation now and
over time will survive the perpetual threat of Digital Darwinism.
The consumer revolution is already underway. The question is:
How do you better understand the role you play in this production
as a connected or social consumer as well as a business professional?
As a stakeholder, it’s now your obligation to study how, when, where,
and why consumers are connecting and how they’re making and
influencing decisions. Doing so brings clarity to your work to create
and steer consumer experiences to your advantage.
This book reveals how digital culture is changing the landscape of
business, consumerism, and the workplace, and what you should do
about it.

■ THIS IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS,
SO MAKE IT YOUR BUSINESS
This book was written to groom a new generation of leaders, people who want to lead and are looking for the answers and inspiration necessary to guide others into uncharted territory. It’s an
exploration of culture, society, and how to unravel trends and hype
to find the meaning in all of this. It’s how we’ll grow personally and

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Introduction

xv

professionally. For many of us, applying these insights at work will
also teach us how to embrace new media in our personal lives.
What are the pillars of a successful business? Competitive prices?
Great service? Widespread distribution? Better products? Maybe. But
experience has taught us that ambition, practicality, and achievements are the traits of successful leaders. As a result, we sometimes
compromise consumer experiences for numbers . . . business goals,
minimized expenses, and increases in efficiencies, forecasts, and
sales. Find any business owner or executive and they’ll tell you that’s
just good business. But is that enough to survive Digital Darwinism?
If marketing and PR departments serve as the voices of companies,
how are we to really know?
It’s the difference between being market-driven and marketingdriven. The true voice and personality of a company is rarely heard
unless a customer calls in to the service department or visits the
business in person to demand personalized attention and resolution.
Suddenly marking is no longer “the voice.” The front-line service representative is in charge of defining the consumer experience and the
next steps a consumer may take, including sharing that experience
with others. But how are representatives instructed to steer experiences today? How are they rewarded for cultivating memorable and
satisfying engagements to encourage the sharing of positive experiences? Representatives are instead often motivated with incentives
for increasing sales or churning through customer calls and emails
faster than their peers, measured by time to resolution and transactional satisfaction.
Following these interactions, customers would walk away percolating with emotion. Whether positive, negative, or ambivalent, it’s
human nature to share these experiences with peers and quite honestly, anyone who’ll listen. Again, none of this is new. It’s human
nature. Businesses have long known that a happy customer tells a few
people, but an unhappy customer tells many, many more.
But everything was business as usual, until it wasn’t. And, that’s
where this story begins.
Of course, no matter the business, the only factor as significant as customer acquisition is customer retention. But it’s exponentially more expensive to acquire new customers than it is to retain
them. Some businesses embrace this reality and hold it sacred. Others see the allure of saving money at the expense of positive experiences to placate customers rather than continually earn their affinity
and loyalty.
The true character of any business is revealed in the collective
experiences of its customers. It’s about what people say when you’re

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INTRODUCTION

not around. With the rise of social media, people are connecting with
one another to create vast networks rich with interaction. The social graphs that people create as a result are increasingly becoming
interconnected, creating an audience that, too, boasts an audience
with audiences. And guess who’s in control of the information that
circulates within each network? It’s not the brand or its clever messaging, attractive promotions, or creative gimmicks. People are in control. The choices they make and the experiences they share through
their words, relationships, and actions, influence those around them.
This book will introduce you to the connected consumer and how
they search for, discover, and share information, and ultimately, make
decisions. In many significant ways, they’re not at all the customer
you think you know.
Some of us are becoming the very consumers we’re trying to reach
and as a result, we are changing everything. By placing ourselves
in the spotlight, we gain a more personal view of the change unfolding before us, without the obstruction of our business blinders
we unknowingly wear in our professional lives. It’s this perspective
that’s usually missing from today’s business approach and prevailing
philosophy.
Understanding this new connected consumer will help us gain
two critical business traits long absent from the hallmark of typical business culture, the ability to feel and show empathy and the
ability to change. To best earn residence in the minds and hearts of
customers, we must invest in shaping exceptional experiences worth
sharing.
Understanding this new consumer and what moves them will help
businesses compete for tomorrow, today. It’s the acceptance of this
perspective that will allow us to uncover and affect the decisions that
orbit and define the brands we represent.
The businesses that aspire to a higher purpose will outperform
businesses that focus on the bottom line.
People aspire to be part of something bigger than themselves. Give
them something to align with to create a sense of belonging. Give
them something to talk about. Give them a reason to share experiences. After all, you are part of the new digital culture that is defining
the future of all of this. Change is upon us. Change is because of us.
It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that
survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.
—Charles Darwin

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