Angela Ahrendts, the CEO of Burberry, thinks that the language of business is no longer English, she believes the language of business is social. She goes on to say that until we “feel felt” by each other, we will not be in a trusting relationship. Right on Angela! Social language is the way to feel felt and build trusting business relationships.
In a bold move Burberry opened up all their employee and stakeholder platforms to a Facebook model, created by the original developers of Facebook themselves. This bold play has had some striking paybacks in terms of teamwork and high performance. Angela reports the massive uplift in trust creates greater collaboration amongst employees and stakeholders, driving significantly higher performance. Social media is also a platform in which grass roots up innovation gets uplift. The conversations in the business and the natural spark of ideas are the source of innovation.
What’s more, Angela claims by making “social” the language of their business, they are attracting the best talent and working in the natural world of the employees, who speak and no doubt think, social. Social crosses language barriers, by showing ourselves on social media, we can feel felt even by those we cannot speak with.
I am in Angela’s camp. We need to be seen, expressing our character, our lifestyle, our knowledge, and our experiences to be trusted. Think of trust as the pipeline, or the capacity to do business. Business is after all based on an exchange of information and value, and is therefore directly proportional to our ability to develop trust.
Trust and developing a clear values based identity is at the core of brand building, and so increasingly social is the language of brand.
Hear Angela says this and more in her own words (in English not social) at
Hearts and Minds
Founder the Thought Leaders Circle