Let me start by simply stating, I absolutely loved this book. It was a pleasure to read (yes, some “business books” can be quite fun!) and the subject is an important one. The general theory proposed by Vaynerchuk is that today’s economy functions similarly to how it did some 50 years ago when small, family businesses were a way of life and everyone shopped locally. It’s an idea that I wholly agree with.
During a special visit with my grandparents as a child, I remember sitting in the front seat of their old pick-up truck between the two of them as we headed to town to run errands. On this trip, we stopped off at the local deli. It wasn’t a grocery store; no, it was just a small shop downtown. We walked up to the counter and the butcher talked with my grandparents as if they’d been friends forever. In fact, they probably were. Supporting small businesses such as this local deli was the norm for my grandparents and each shopping trip was an experience built on relationships with the business owners and employees. At this point in time, there were large chain groceries where my grandparents likely could have gotten their bologna and pepperjack cheese for much cheaper. Instead they chose the deli.
In my grandparents’ later years, big business took over (though like I said, they, unlike many, continued to shop locally). Societal changes along with the explosion of the internet era made it possible for businesses to become larger and more spread out, and as a result, many small businesses died along with the relationship with the customer.
Today relationships are making a come-back, and it’s all about social media. Even as distanced as a business may be (literally) from its customers, social media provides the opportunity for a personal, authentic relationship to exist between the two. Vaynerchuk gives countless examples of businesses, both large and small, that have succeeded in creating meaningful relationships with their customers, building a word-of-mouth fan base, and growing their businesses as a direct result.
I could go on about the specifics of creating these relationships, but what I suggest instead is getting your hands on a copy of The Thank You Economy and reading it cover to cover. It’s truly an exciting era that’s been emerging over recent years, and right now, there’s still time to get on board.