I’ve written a few posts already (both here and elsewhere) about this years SXSW conference. In an ongoing occasional series I’m going to jot down some notes about standout sessions or panels – sometimes they stood out for the right reasons, and sometimes not so much. One panel that really was an enjoyable way to spend an hour was the one by Guy Kawasaki.

Guy is another person in the mold of Tony Robbins – he’s ridden off the back of his success and fame as Apple’s chief evangelist to write numerous books all with such motivational business titles as Enchantment, Reality Check, The Art of the Start, Rules for Revolutionaries, How to Drive Your Competition Crazy, Selling the Dream, and The Macintosh Way. Kawasaki’s schtick is pretty much around how businesses can create lasting and genuine “relationships” with it’s customers, in order to maintain relevance over extended periods of time – something of a foil to the Warhol-esq churn that brands and products face in the modern age.

Kawasaki however manages to avoid the perils that other such speakers face, he doesn’t come across as a snake-oil merchant or some crazy adrenaline fuelled junkie. Instead he has, in the spirit of his latest book, learned how to enchant his audience and articulate a message in a way that feels you’re sharing a beer, rather than a multi thousand seat auditorium with him.

Over at NeonPunch, they came up with an infographic to show the content of Kawasaki’s presentation (see below). The thrust of Kawasaki’s speech was the advice to “sell dreams” to your customers. Advice that I’ve reflected upon a few times since SXSW in a number of different contexts. I’ve been talking with organizations looking to gain and maintain mindshare from their customers – many of these organizations have been looking for formulaic answers to the age old problem of how to do this. Kawasaki’s book essentially rewords the concept of surprise and delight. Rather than creating an expectation for customers – look to ways to delight them with the little things.

So to apply Kawasaki’s concept of enchantment – if you’re a small café, rather than introduce a discount coffee card with its formula driven “buy 10 get one free”
approach. How about just investing time to really get to know your customers and surprise them every now and then with a free coffee or whatever. If you’re an airline trying to gain the custom of high-value customers, rather than developing a policy driven approach towards the different status tiers, how about simply thinking about how you can enchant those customers and make their experience with your business surprising (keep it fresh) and delightful (it’s the little things that count).

Your not going to learn anything fundamentally new by watching Kawasaki’s talk, but you’ll be reminded of some key methods of really building genuine relationships with your customers – well worth a watch despite the poor camera work…


Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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