“It’s the year 2022… People are still the same. They’ll do anything to get what they need. And they need SOYLENT GREEN.”
I was only small when I first saw the film Soylent Green. Perhaps that is why it had such an impact on me.
It’s an old film, it came out the year before I was born, and to be honest it’s not one of my favorites. The film itself is not important. There is a famous line from the film that has become more famous than the movie.
In the film Charlton Heston has to dash around the distopian New York of the future trying to discover what the secret is behind the mysterious soylent green. If you don’t want to watch the film then look away now because I am going to reveal the secret and what it means for your business. It’s a big spoiler for the film but hopefully you will forgive that lapse in geek protocol this one time.
What is the Soylent Green Secret?
The secret, worth killing to protect in the film but only slightly less significant in your business, is simple.
Soylent Green is people.
Yes, disgusting isn’t it? In the future, apparently, we will turn to eating each other in order to survive. Nasty.
What on earth can this have to do with your business?
People Are YOUR Secret Ingredient
If you want your business to be a success you need to prioritize the people in and outside your company. This goes for any company.
- Determine your ideal customer and tailor your service and products to the intersection of what you have to offer and what they really want.
- Continuously monitor, survey, communicate, and listen so that you are continuously in-tune with your market.
- Show who you are, allow people to connect with you, be human.
When People Are Your Point of Difference
For some businesses, like my own for example, the people ARE the product. When I first left my marketing agency job and set up my company, I used the company name. People would make a point to ask if they could be guaranteed to work with me. They thought because of the “we”, “our”, “team” language that they would lose contact with me once projects were intiated. At the time I would explain who the freelancer team members were and how I was central to everything we did because I was the only full-time employee, but it was clear this was a distraction. I quickly changed all my communications so rather than from “the company” it was from “Chris”. Not long after my company site was closed and this blog became the focus of my content marketing. Rather than losing work because I didn’t look like a “proper business”, I gained clients who wanted that personal touch with someone with whom they felt trust and a connection. Win!
Now, don’t get me wrong. While we are all unique and special snow flakes, your people are not necessarily going to be the whole difference that makes the difference. Not enough to bank your mortgage on at any rate. But it will in many circumstances be the difference between making a sale or not. Given the choice, and all things being equal, people will always prefer to work with people they know, like and trust.
Product Versus the People
I know you might be thinking that this is obvious or common sense, and that might be true. But look around.
- Social media bots and sock puppets spewing messages into Twitter instead of building relationships.
- Blogs full of scraped, copied, plagiarised and regurgitated content.
- Products created and sold with no thought to if there is even a market.
- Companies putting dollars and their own brand before customers or communities.
By being people centric we can actually stand out in the market, have a clear concience, AND be more successful towards our goals.
Next time you take an action in your business, consider the other person. The recipient of your message, the customer of your product, the reader of your content. What result do you want? How can you make things better for them? How is what you are doing going to help them?
What better way to build your business?