When I was given the job to help my company adopt New Media technologies, I was told that I could call myself whatever I wanted. So, I decided to call myself a “New Media Evangelist,” partially because it was cool and different, but more importantly, to remind me of what I need to accomplish. I need to change the way that we represent ourselves as a company.
But change is scary. In order for people to change, they have to “believe” that the change will be good for them. And so, as an evangelist, my job is to stand on top of the conference table and shout reasons for my “congregation” to “Believe!” As any evangelist, I’m in the business of faith.
The hardest part of my job is helping folks believe in transparency — the fact that this medium demands it; and will not tolerate anything else. Unfortunately, most companies have never been transparent. Traditional marketing is contrived and controlled. It is wordsmithed, polished, and approved via committee. In the mind of the old media marketeer, non-transparency is considered safe. It paints a product or service in a very positive light, never revealing any warts, to potential clients, or in some cases more importantly, to competitors who will use that information against them.
But alas, that’s the point…non-transparency isn’t safe anymore; it never has been and never will be. The difference is that the customers have always known the warts in your product…they just didn’t have a way to tell anyone out of earshot of the watercooler about them. With WordPress, iTunes, and YouTube, they now can spread that message around the world — and for a cost of nothing!
So why not beat them to the punch? Why not speak to them, in non business speak, without big fancy words that nobody understands? Why not communicate with customers, prospects, investors, and yes, competitors too?
Sound scary? “You gotta believe!”