February 25, 2011

Digital Peer Pressure

Be Yourself and Fit In

When we are born, we are at the mercy of those taking care of us. We are not laden with fears of career development or revenue growth. Our focus does not rest on gaining more prominence in our field of expertise. And any thought of what others may think of us, is years away. Then something strange happens – we begin to grow up in a world with others around us.

I have a colleague who has a delightful six year old daughter. She is one of those kids who just embraces life, laughs constantly and fills any room with a bright light and remarkable essence. This is one cool kid. But recently, her school mates have been making fun of what she wears to school. She doesn’t “fit in” with their conformed image of what a six year old should wear. Six years old! SIX? Are you kidding me!?! If you have kids, you may have similar stories.

What They Think

As children get into adolescence, peer pressure is unrelenting. They beg their parents to buy that brand of jeans and they can’t fathom using that inferior device when all their friends have an iPhone. They feel like outcasts if they don’t fall in line to a list of items authored by an omnipresent group known as 'them'.

In the online world, some have deemed themselves experts while others are self-proclaimed rule makers of all things digital. And what is scary is there are many who have very little experience helping businesses grow but have mastered how they look in the digital classroom.

“Them” Are With Us For Life

It is important that you and your company have a presence online. However some feel that means quantity over quality. While we focus on trying to keep up with the rest of the kids in the class, we forget one essential item and that is our unique selling proposition. It is not a faster, leaner, brighter, cheaper product – it is us and what we bring to the equation. Having a website, being on Facebook, mastering SEO is simply not enough. Your offer falls to pieces when a customer wants to buy something.

I read a post this week about the explosion of online couponing which isn’t surprising. Groupon is the fastest company to reach a billion dollars in annual revenue. There are hundreds who are trying to replicate that success. Many organizations are doing what they do because their competition is doing it. In the quest to differentiate, many are conforming to 'them'. And it began when they were six years old.

Learning what works for others and applying some of it to your situation may be wise. Copying them simply to fit in, may not be a compelling enough reason. What are your thoughts?


image credit: istock
© Kneale Mann knealemann@gmail.com people + priority = profit
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