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You want word of mouth? You want your customers raving about you? You want to go viral? Do things worth talking about.

The status quo is easy, the norm is easy, continuing to do things the way they’ve always been done, is easy. But it doesn’t inspire, it doesn’t spark change and it definitely isn’t the right way to market to today’s enlightened & savvy guests.

I’ve had a few weeks to reflect on the few days I spent with 300 of my closest industry friends at the beginning of this month. The themes of the event have been unconcealed and intensely apparent in my mind; every single day. Experience, moments that matter, purpose, value, change, leaving it better than you found it, the list goes on and on.

For marketers, this win-win scenario is a goldmine. You mean, I can elevate my brand simply by caring about my employees and giving back to the community? All I have to do is tell real stories about real people – not the stories the marketing team storyboarded in our all day team meeting last month? Is it really that simple? The answer is a resounding “Yes!”.

“What goes viral is not a mystery, love goes viral, change goes viral, purpose goes viral, passion goes viral” belted my friend Brandon Hill, co-founder of BTC Revolutions as he talked about today’s Attention Economy from the Brand Camp stage. “In the attention economy you can’t buy eyeballs, you have to earn them” he said.

IMG_4753My experience of Summer Brand Camp is very unique. I’ve been a three time attendee/camper and been a Black Box Intelligence (formerly TDn2K) team member executing the conference for three years. As I’ve seen this event evolve there is one thing I am passionately proud of; the people that are a part of this community that continue to make it better, and leave it better, every single year.

I’ll admit, the Summer Brand Camp can be a little lovey-dovey at times and sometimes it’s even a bit much for me. But the event wasn’t three days of holding hands and singing Kumbaya (although we did hold hands for a moment when Joni Doolin asked us to – a quick moment to connect and reset our hearts and minds before Tommy Spaulding took the stage. An incredibly powerful moment, but that’s for another blog). The event instead was a community undivided by competition, sharing what works, what doesn’t and how we make it better tomorrow. It was powerful.

A few quotes that really resonated with me:

“People are never going to love a company until your employees love it first” – Chris Ebbeler, Senior Manager, Workplace Community | Chili’s Grill & Bar

“The trick in driving change is to be there for people when it really counts” – Kat Cole, Group President | Focus Brands

“Bravery is having an opinion and stating it, putting action around those words and doing it in light of the fact that it might be easier to not do it at all” – Wendy Clark, SVP |Coca-Cola

“As leaders, your job is quite literally to add value to people” – Ty Bennett, Author & Keynote Speaker | Leadership Inc.

How lucky are we as marketers, both from a consumer facing brand and an employer brand, that the easiest way to elevate our companies and our voices is to care about people? We no longer have to trick the marketplace. We no longer really have to pay to play if we’re doing relevant work.

At so many previous industry gatherings, it has been about what’s next, what are we going to do and who is going to do it. Not this time. This time it was about what IS happening – and how it is fundamentally changing our workplace and marketplace. “The hardest journey is from your head to your heart” said Tom Spaulding at camp. It’s time to start using more heart.

sarahSarah Atkinson is the Director of Marketing & Communications for Black Box Intelligence (formerly TDn2K). Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter!