The more I practice…
What do you think might happen if you took all of the self-proclaimed social marketing or branding experts in our region and sealed them in a dark room (one can only dream!) until they all calmed down?
You then made them a promise. You will release all those who had worked for a minimum of five years as a media or communications specialist (in a creative or planning role) in an agency, publishing house or marketing department, before their new vaunted status.
Just how many of them do you think would gain their freedom?
I ask this only partly in jest. After all, would you employ a chauffeur who was still on a provisional licence? I think not; yet many businesses seem happy to put themselves at risk in terms of driving their business forward with people who have done no more than attended a seminar, read a couple of books and had some business cards printed proclaiming their genius!
If you believe Malcolm Gladwell in his book ‘Outliers’, then one needs to spend 10,000 hours mastering a skill in order to be successful at that skill.
Although his theories and writing has had its detractors, he did back it up with some key references to successful individuals (Bill Gates for example) that would more than support his conjecture.
Interesting stuff, especially when the potential level and breadth of delivery for any given skill set can evolve at such a phenomenal rate. Can practice still make perfect? I think it can.
That is not to say that the latest guys to the party cannot impart some useful information on the appropriate systems and methodologies appropriate to your business – after all, they’ve read one more book than you!
It’s just that if one can apply rules to the shifting sands of social media and brand management in this brave new world, my first would be this: Don’t be blinded by the latest shiny thing in this ever-changing landscape because there will be another along in a minute. Get the basics right and know why you’re doing it before you jump in!