I hope you have not been leading a double life, pretending to be wicked and being really good all the time. That would be hypocrisy. [Oscar Wilde]
The secret handshake can be something really powerful and binding.
It can help you when you're passionate about building something with a group of people who are as passionate about it as you are, in their own ways. The secret part makes the people in the same circle spread the word, because of the value they get from being a part of the conversation -- and action.
More agent, a little less conversation works well, and it does tap into human psychology. The handshake is the contract between people who respect each other -- with the understanding that doing business is part of that contract. Homus economicus by imitation, the best form of flattery.
When these are the conditions and attitudes present, it's a joy to be part of the deal, and to share with everyone you know.
There is another kind of secret handshake.
Shall we call it secretive? It's made of wink, winks, nod, nods, out of scene whispers and under the table deals. It's a conversation that is taking place behind your back, even when it's right there in front of you -- in the public arena.
In this case, the conversation thrives on the kind of thinking that excludes, which doesn't convert so readily into word of mouth -- influential or not. Even when not designed intentionally that way, it tends to separate and build walls.
Eventually the walls are built more to keep the people locked on the inside than to block the people outside from being "in" -- they and the conversation have since moved on to more connective dynamics.
It's helpful to have a framework to guide your thought process and resulting behavior. One that puts your motivation -- or that of your brand -- in a broader context and sets the tone for the rest of the community. Focusing on something greater is what Randy Pausch called head fakes.
Ways to shift the attention so that we do the work and learn the lesson with it, without feeling it like a hardship, something we do because we have to. It benefits people and businesses alike. That's when you talk about community facilitation vs. management, for example.
Marketing communication is a service. It's an opportunity to have the kind of connective handshake that helps the community tell a story that in turn attracts like kind energy and builds community. If you want to make something that spreads, let others make it what they want it to be.
"In" or "out" depend from your point of view and approach.
[images courtesy of Will Lion -- check out the whole set]
© 2010 Valeria Maltoni. All rights reserved.