I’ve read dozens of business books.

I’ve founded 8 businesses of my own and helped hundreds of people to start or grow theirs.

I’ve employed hundreds of people in the field of Creative Business Communications.

I’ve, somehow, persuaded hundreds of businesses to pay me and my teams tens of millions of pounds to help them build brands, to market compellingly and to create design that has won awards all over the world.

I’ve met, listened to and learned from some of the worlds greatest business people and brand builders.

And, after all that, I think I am able to sum up in two words what the most important thing for any brand is.

It’s ‘eye contact’.

Eye Contact.

Great brands look you in the eye and they listen.

They track your eyes and they learn from you.

They answer your questions honestly and immediately.

Todays best retailers do this.

LUSH do it.

Hotel Chocolat do this.

Todays crappest retailers (which is most of them) don’t.

The best brands look you in the eye because they want to learn from you so they can make the best next move.

For you and for them.

I say ‘eye contact’ because, as a person, you and I just know when people are listening to us don’t we?

I mean, properly listening.

Sincerely listening.

Repeating back to you what you said to them.

Acknowledging what they understand, probing what they don’t.

And all the time they are locked on our eyes.

Not just looking at us, or through us, waiting for their turn to speak.

They are honest and open and sincere.

Uninterested brands are like uninterested people.

They don’t make eye contact.

They sit around board tables navel gazing.

Waiting for storms to pass or ‘the good old days’ to return.

Thinking it’s OK to lie or to bluff or to deflect.

Then, not unsurprisingly, they die.

And I’m glad.

Because that’s what they deserve.

So after all those books, all those businesses, all those team members, all those projects and all those teachers – I’d say that just one thing is the most important thing in business.

Eye contact.

P.S. (This is a private note to a friend and a reader of 50odd)…Carlo. I am not sure but I think that this kind of subject is what the book could be on. It’s a simple notion. But one that I find to be true. Chat soon x

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