Circle of Conversation

This image was not created to represent a market. But it does. And it shows a dimension of a market that’s often overlooked.

I found this on FaceBook, it’s an application called FriendWheel. You are at the center of the circle (this is a sample by the author of the application) with all of your friends around you. The lines represent the connections among your friends. If you were in high-school, it might show the potential for people gossiping about you.

But, a market? YES!

Your market – the collection of people (businesses – or actually the people in them) who buy from you, who want to buy from you, who have bought from you and might again (or might not) – is not a straight-line list (though that’s how we often think of our customers and prospects – as just a list). Your market is the group of people who have gathered around your company and your products because they find you interesting and engaging (the same reason your friends hang around you). And you (your company and all the people in it) are at the center of that crowd.

But the conversation is not just bi-directional (you’re doing pretty well if you are truly having a bi-directional conversation). There are conversations happening in all directions around you. Most don’t include you, but if they are happening around you, they are, more than likely, about you.

Your brand (the total experience and impression of you in the collective minds of the market) is being defined in these conversations. So look carefully at those lines that connect the members of your market community to one another. They show you how closely your market participants are connected, and how they are connected. They’ll help you understand where the conversation is taking place and how you can get closer to it.

Why? Because the conversation that defines your brand – and your success – is happening. And when your market is about to be disrupted, it is in these conversations that you’ll learn about it. Are you listening?

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