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Rhohit Barghava – Cutting Through the Spin to Deliver ‘Likeonomics’

Men­tion pub­lic rela­tions or mar­ket­ing to most peo­ple and you’ll be greet­ed with rolled eyes and accu­sa­tions of spin and untruths, how­ev­er Inter­net mar­ket­ing guru Rohit Bargha­va has posi­tioned him­self as the man to cut through the spin and give us ‘Likeo­nom­ics’ instead.

Any­one look­ing for media jobs should cer­tain­ly make sure they have the like­abil­i­ty fac­tor before head­ing to those inter­views, accord­ing to Bargha­va.

Bhar­ga­va is an alum­ni of George Mason Uni­ver­si­ty and has pre­vi­ous­ly worked at Ogilvy, Leo Bur­nett Aus­tralia and Dimen­sion Data (for­mer­ly Com Tech). He cur­rent­ly teach­es mar­ket­ing at George­town Uni­ver­si­ty.

As a proud expo­nent of putting human­i­ty back into busi­ness, Bargha­va cites him­self as a ‘non-obvi­ous’ mar­ket­ing expert with two best-sell­ing books under his belt. Per­son­al­i­ty Not Includ­ed intro­duced read­ers to the fact that more com­pa­nies need­ed to show that they had a human side in order to gar­ner the trust of their stake­hold­ers, while Likeo­nom­ics dealt with how like­abil­i­ty is the key to busi­ness suc­cess. The book was an Ama­zon best sell­er in six cat­e­gories and the fourth biggest sell­ing busi­ness book in the US in the month of launch (May, 2012).

He has over 1000 arti­cles on all aspects of online and offline mar­ket­ing on his award-win­ning blog ‘Influ­en­tial Mar­ket­ing’ (ranked by AdAge as one of the 25 most influ­en­tial mar­ket­ing blogs in the world) and he was the first to intro­duce the idea of Social Media Opti­miza­tion as well as defin­ing Con­tent Cura­tion.

 Drag­ging Mar­ket­ing and PR Back From the Brink

Accord­ing to Bargha­va, tra­di­tion­al PR and mar­ket­ing suf­fer from deep mis­trust. After bom­bard­ing con­sumers with spin and mar­ket­ing mes­sages for years they have dis­tanced their clients from their cus­tomers, who now treat such com­mu­ni­ca­tions with sus­pi­cion. Rohit believes that cus­tomers are con­stant­ly wary and always on the look­out for the motives behind each claim, mot­to or mes­sage.

Bargha­va feels that cur­rent­ly, mar­ket­ing and PR are under­go­ing a ‘believ­abil­i­ty cri­sis’, as con­sumers feel that all infor­ma­tion is moti­vat­ed by greed or decep­tion. How­ev­er all is not lost.

“Affin­i­ty has become the new secret weapon — we believe in peo­ple and com­pa­nies that we like,” he said.

Likeo­nom­ics, he con­tin­ues “explains the new affin­i­ty econ­o­my where the most like­able peo­ple, ideas and orga­ni­za­tions are the ones we believe in, buy from and get inspired by.”

He states that in order to become ‘like­able’, an organ­i­sa­tion must first be ‘sim­ple, human, bru­tal­ly hon­est and emo­tion­al’.

Becom­ing Like­able

It may seem an alien con­cept – even scary – to some busi­ness­es to open their hearts and show their human side, but the social media rev­o­lu­tion has made sure that com­pa­nies that choose to engage, have nowhere to hide. Mar­ket a car as the next big thing and it doesn’t work? Your cus­tomers are going to tell you and the rest of the world while they’re at it. Acknowl­edge and embrace the pow­er of hon­esty and you’re halfway there.

By sup­port­ing char­i­ties, encour­ag­ing their cus­tomers to get involved with the brand and by engag­ing with stake­hold­ers on a less for­mal lev­el, com­pa­nies can lever­age the pow­er of their human­i­ty and reap the rewards. Sim­i­lar­ly, by being hon­est and admit­ting where you might have gone wrong, along with being open about how you plan to cor­rect things, will help peo­ple get over the fact that pre­vi­ous­ly, they may not have trust­ed you. And by admit­ting faults, you are encour­ag­ing peo­ple to emo­tion­al­ly invest as you begin to show that human side.

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