The power of community and contribution for small brands

Yesterday I had the great pleasure of speaking at the National Speaker’s Association for the first time. I met so many amazing people and quickly realized that I was in the company of hundreds of small brands each working to build their own business. When I think back on the launch of We First, perhaps my strongest impression of the launch is how much I relied on the supports of peers and individuals in the successful launch of my brand. It was a direct experience in the ability of social media to reach others through our combined efforts and a powerful lesson in brand-building for myself and other small brands.

Whether you’re an author, speaker, musician, artist, photographer or consultant, we each must build our own community and then support the efforts of others. This is an expression of the We First mentality that I think will become increasingly important as the marketplace flattens and more smaller brands appear better suited to move with technology and the marketplace.

For example, when I launched We First, many peers helped me spread the word through tweets, posts and sharing the launch video because we shared the same values of working together to support the change we wanted to see in the world. Carol Quinn, who teaches a Digital/Social Media Workshop at USC Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism, writes about the contrast between offline and online courtesy sharing that in her experience the online world is often far kinder to peers.

Carol was, in fact, one of the many wonderful people that kindly supported the We First launch. She wrote blog posts on her sites 3lunches and Project Quinn as well as a targeted release on Pitch Engine through which one tweet reached 325,000 people in one day.

Carol is now releasing her own great book: Follow My Lead: What Training My Dogs Taught Me About Life, Love and Happiness using social media and peer support to gain and build for visibility for her brand. She has created a book trailer with music scored Terra Naomi, herself a social media veteran whose new album was 100% fan-funded by Pledge Music, and Terra and Carol have a long history of supporting each other.

My hope is that these stories of support and reciprocity demonstrate the value of investing in long-term relationships with your online peers especially if you’re a small brand. Together we can amplify messages that can change the world in positive ways. Given the state of the economy and how fast technology is changing, we need each other now more than ever and my deepest thanks to Carol and everyone who supported the launch of We First.

What other examples of peer support have you seen? How have your peers helped you build your brand?