Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) is passionate about purpose.
He urges us to join him in this pursuit with such fervor that it lifts him literally out of his seat. He eagerly begs every marketer and business owner to become vulnerable in order to connect more meaningfully with key audiences, and to ruthlessly challenge ourselves and our teams to create real value for customers.
Where does this passion germinate? He’s perhaps best known for having played the “dumb guy” in many movies and TV sitcoms (and maybe in more to come?) but he’s also the first person to build a Twitter following of more than a million people (done in service of helping children in poor, rural communities); he’s invested so far in 95 data-driven companies including Skype, FourSquare and Uber, and recently launched a “positive” media site called A+ (aplus.com) and he graciously shares his struggles with the same modern life issues we all have: Moving our careers forward, Staying personally connected in a tech-centric world, Privacy, Being present for our children, Work-life balance, and Doing good in the world.
During a keynote Q&A at the Teradata ONE Festival in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Mr. Kutcher offered some tips on how to purposefully innovate in our personal and corporate brand presence:
- Seek data driven solution to harness and release your own creativity. “The data knows my audience better than I know my audience,” he said of a predictive algorithm that identifies content most likely to go viral. “Turns out, the machine learning algorithm is a better predictor of what people want.”
- Be vulnerable. We live in an age of mass transparency – both individuals and companies can (and do) routinely share details of their values, mission and motivations. “It opens up the room,” he said. “It creates an environment of trade and share which drives the connections between people and brands.
- Focus on adding value. Keep in mind that being useful today may tee up a sale tomorrow. “Be willing to question everything you do in marketing,” he said. “Be a true data scientist. Good marketing is proving an assumption is wrong, and then finding the truth to fill the void.”
- Technology takes the predictable action and automates it. Our marketing has become machine-driven. “But the one thing that is not machine-predictable is creativity.”
- Only create content that is ICEE (say it: icy). Inspire. Connect. Educate, Entertain. Marketers must deeply understand the audience and what would generate an emotional effect – a share, a click, a sale. Context matters – syndicate your content to fit the brand ethos and authentically connect with audiences.
In this age of mass transparency, it’s important not to let your social inbox be your “to do” list as a marketer, he advised. “Wake up every morning already knowing what you want to do to represent yourself and your firm as a brand. Do that, and not just what people want from you.
“When things go wrong, the only thing that you can do is get busy being the best you can be, and move that negative marker to be down further in the Google search ranks,” he said.