I feel positively archaic talking about this, however, if you’ve never read The Cluetrain Manifesto, make sure you do.
It’s free, ten years old and a totally great read.
Let me whet your appetite with this extract:
“A powerful global conversation has begun.Through the Internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. As a direct result, markets are getting smarter—and getting smarter faster than most companies. These markets are conversations. Their members communicate in language that is natural, open, honest, direct, funny and often shocking. Whether explaining or complaining, joking or serious, the human voice is unmistakably genuine. It can’t be faked. Most corporations, on the other hand, only know how to talk in the soothing, humorless monotone of the mission statement, marketing brochure, and your-call-is-important-to-us busy signal. Same old tone, same old lies. No wonder networked markets have no respect for companies unable or unwilling to speak as they do. But learning to speak in a human voice is not some trick, nor will corporations convince us they are human with lip service about “listening to customers.” They will only sound human when they empower real human beings to speak on their behalf…”
The fundamental premise of The Cluetrain Manifesto is that companies have been blind to the sea change the Internet represents and this text shows them a pathway forward. The book can be read online, for free.