Paul M. Rand Speaks at Northwestern University’s IMC Convocation

This post was originally posted on the Zocalo Group blog and was recently shared by Brian Solis on his blog.

Living a Recommendable Life.

Zócalo Group President and CEO, Paul M. Rand, explored that topic when he delivered the convocation address for Northwestern University’s IMC (Integrated Marketing Communications) program June 16, 2012.

Paul explained that “if you want to succeed personally and professionally, live a recommendable life.” He went on to talk about the power of recommendations, citing a Nielsen study that found 92% of people said that a positive recommendation from a friend, family member or another trusted person is the biggest influence on whether they buy a product or service.

Social media, he said, has taken word of mouth and put it “on steroids.” How a product or service is talked about is becoming recognized as one of the most essential parts of the marketing mix. And for the new graduates, an especially relevant stat: at least half of all jobs come from referrals from friends, families and colleagues, according to a recent Businessweek article

Here are Paul’s 5 key takeaways for living a recommendable life:

1. Develop a clear and purposeful story of how you want to be talked about and recommended. How do you want to be talked about — as a person, a son or daughter, a parent, a grandchild, a business leader? Live that way. The same thing applies to brands.

2. Live your brand. Think of yourself as a brand, one that’s worthy of a passionate recommendation by friends, family and coworkers. If you want to be recommended as a great friend, for example, make sure you’re always a thoughtful and caring one.

3. Be human. When you make mistakes, own it, fix what you can and ask forgiveness if necessary.

4. Stay engaging and interesting. Both on a personal level and when representing a brand, spend 90% of the time listening and engaging, and 10% of the time talking about yourself.

5. Evaluate and evolve, but stay true to your core. Lives and markets change. Take time to be introspective. Take ownership of your life and your brands.

That simple and powerful advice is worth remembering. To read Paul’s speech, click here, or tune-in below to watch his full address.