CERTE: why do you exist in your industry?

My economic reason to exist in my industry

I have one request: determine your core values and reasons for your existence in the space in which you play and work.

And after that, go eat! 🙂

Writing this post, I am reminded of a mesmerising presentation I delivered with a team of amazing individuals at global consulting firm, EOH, in August 2015. I had this privilege because I was representing DIGIFY (the Google-backed programme where I completed my digital marketing training).

With that talk and consultation, we sought to answer a simple yet critical question: what is the one reason EOH seeks to exist online?

Now, many businesses — and individuals — never stop to consider the reason(s) they want to extend their brands and operations to digital platforms.

Walgreens, a pharmaceutical business, is a company in the that was struck badly by the dotcom bubble in early 2000’s. Their share price took a dip to an all-time low as other companies jumped on to be part of the revolution. Companies spent a lot of money making expensive transitions to having web sites and other stuff and they didn’t know why they were doing those things!

Other businesses are jumping on — that was reason enough for them to do it, too. Me-too tendencies.

Anyway, Walgreens lost money. That’s never good. But they did something ingenuous during this storm — they revisited their founding values and business model. It turned out they could do just fine without a web site. They stayed clear of that dotcom frenzy.

Subsequently, they preserved their business, legacy and most importantly, they expicitly understood their compelling reason to exist. (And that helped them think clearly about a direction they needed to take.)

CERTE: Compelling Economic Reason To Exist.

The team hanging out with EOH South Africa Sales Director

To the 30 high-level executives in attendance, waiting to hear me tell them that they NEED to jump onto the social media bandwagon, I suggested the opposite! My submission to them was: you do NOT have to do things because other businesses are executing them.

“Does your business need you guys to have a Facebook page? Perhaps a LinkedIn account because the stakeholders with whom we associate have a presence on that network. Why do we need to be on Instagram, though?” I asked them.

I take pride in not telling my audiences what sounds romantic to them. However, what they really need to hear and execute on communication-wise.

The end result was an executive team that was convinced they needed to scale down on the number of digital assets they use because others laid dormant and no content was published on them. I pulled a Steve Jobs, if you will, when he came back to Apple after a decade following his ouasting. He cut many of the company’s menu to just four core products.

His rationale: do a few things and do them really well. (If anything, be the best in the world at offering those things.)

From this point onwards, never be found jumping on trends for the reason that other people are embracing them. I will ask again: what is your (economic) reason to exist in the social media space?

I first set out to become the best version of myself, and be the best at the things I love doing — Writing, Speaking, Communications Advisory and creating compelling content around that subject and my overall journey through it all. And then take all that makes me and communicate it genuinely to the world using online platforms I deemed fit for MY personal brand.

Before jumping onto every single social media platform there is, first find out why you exist in your industry, package that and then begin building an online presence based on your CERTE.

All the best with your endevours! 🙂


Communicate Your Genius