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A guide to launching an enchanting cause

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Over the last several years I have worked with hundreds of speakers. And it seems for every event we put on there is one star of the show, a speaker that gives us practical, tactical information to take back with us. Every once-in-a-while there is even a speaker that truly inspires us. At Innovate 2011, that speaker was Guy Kawasaki, former Chief Evangelist at Apple and author of the recently released book, Enchantment.

Kawasaki was the closing keynote speaker at this year's event, surprising the crowd with two presentations in a 90 minute session. His first presentation focused on “The Art of Innovation” and then later, on the transformational power of enchantment in your lives, your businesses, and beyond.

While his “Art of Innovation” presentation was fantastic, I wanted to dedicate this post to his Enchantment presentation, to inspire you as retail marketers to think about how you can enchant your customers. In his book, Kawasaki quotes, “When you enchant people, your goal is not to make money from them or to get them to do what you want, but to fill them with great delight.”

Kawasaki’s comical, entertaining, and inspiring keynote dove into the steps you need to prepare and launch your own engagement “campaigns” to change hearts, minds, and actions. I’ve shared a few of these steps below:

1. Achieve likability. No one ever enchanted a person that wasn’t likeable. Plainly stated, jerks seldom enchant people. But how do you make yourself more likeable? Kawasaki dove into four factors tied to a first impression including a smile, a dress, a handshake, and vocabulary. Smile at people, dress for a tie (or an equal), perfect your handshake, and use the right words to communicate as words are the facial expressions of your mind. This was the first time I’ve ever heard someone glorify and proudly show off “crow’s feet” wrinkles.

2. Deserve and gain the genuine trust of others. If you want people to trust you, you have to trust them. Kawasaki’s used Zappos as an example of a company built on trust with free shipping both ways for shoe purchases and returns. Customers do not abuse the privilege by returning worn shoes.

3. Prepare a great cause. Your cause might be a product, service, organization, or idea that would make the world a better place. Do something “DICEE” – Deep, Intelligent, Complete, Empowering, and Elegant.

  • A deep cause has many features and capabilities, like Google does for online needs of search, email, aggregating RSS feeds and more.
  • An intelligent cause helps people solve their problems in smart ways, like Ford’s MyKey product that enables you to limit your car’s speed when you have two teenage sons.
  • A complete cause provides a great experience with service, support, and enhancements.
  • An empowering cause enables you to do new things or old things more efficiently.
  • An elegant cause means someone cared about the user experience. The first product that came to mind for me was the Apple iPhone.

Also, when creating the cause, always remember to conduct a “pre-mortem” to help prevent “death” rather than having to worry about explaining it afterward. Have your team assemble during a launch phase to determine all the reasons on why it would fail and eliminate those reasons, increasing the likelihood of success before launch.

4. Launch your cause and tell an illustrative, captivating, compelling story to get your cause off to a strong start.

Kawasaki encourages professionals to "plant many seeds" as it’s not just about the most “influential” people. If we have learned anything from the rise of social media marketing it is that you don’t know who the next person is that can make you successful. He also touched on how to overcome resistance, make your enchantment endure, and how to use technology to bring your story to the people you want to enchant.

According to Kawasaki, enchantment transforms situations, relationships, and companies and changes skeptics and cynics into believers. Enchant fast, enchant many, and enchant often.