The world regards him a people’s champion, a proponent of democracy, and an inspiration to purpose-driven initiatives. He inspired many through principled living and by turning the other cheek; he overcame odds that many considered insurmountable. His life and teachings apply to politics, life in general, and yes, even business.
Today, we join citizens around the globe in the celebration of Gandhi Jayanti, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi.
Gandhi’s business acumen was evident in his credo on the value of a customer. Here are seven lessons from Mahatma Gandhi to apply to your own business.
1. Live your Life: People will follow you only if you are sincere. Gandhi used to say that his life was his message and he tried his best to live his life as perfectly as he wanted people to follow him. Your branding needs to be sincere, as your brand truly needs to stand for the things you promote.
2. Your Consumer is Your Boss: Treat your consumers well because at the end of the day, the pursuit of potentially profitable relationships will only come from good customer relationships.
3. Make Real Friends: What is the point in asking your customer for their birthday if you are not going to wish them well? Why bother asking them about their preferences if you are not going to personalize their marketing campaigns? You need to know your customers. Be sincere, listen, and learn as much as you possibly (and practically) can about your friends. Don’t just have them list their preferences. Learn their preferences so you know how best to serve them.
4. Tell the Truth: Your dialogue with your consumers – both customers and prospects – needs to be transparent. Do not delete negative comment; it is an opportunity for you to fix things and to even showcase to others that your brand truly cares. Solicit feedback from your customers about their experiences with your brand and thank them for it instead of trying to justify any negative feedback. An open dialogue is what drives interaction and long-term sustained engagement.
5. Be a Leader: Your brand has a value proposition and it is your duty to inspire and lead your prospects towards that brand promise. You can lead through your brand ambassadors; actively seek your fans, convert them into customers, and nurture them towards becoming your brand ambassadors. It is also just as important that you focus on driving a return on your investment from your efforts.
6. Learn Gandhi’s Quote: “A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.”
7. Listen-Reflect-React: Marketers should build use cases around customer scenarios and work to fulfill those scenarios. Having a customer or member satisfaction program does not mean anything if you are do not reflect and react. Consumer concerns should be addressed quickly. The ideal way is to listen-reflect-react – the same problem should not happen again.
Can you imagine how much more powerful Mahatma Gandhi would have been with digital media? We consider social media to be word of mouth messaging; I can only imagine how much further and quicker his word would have travelled.
Did you know that Mahatma Gandhi’s picture is the most published image in the world? Do you know why?
Answer: Every note in Indian currency has his picture.
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