Way back in 1912, Otto Rehwedder invented a machine that would change the lives of people all over the world…
…but it wasn’t until 1928 that a product from his machine was sold, and not until 1930 that it was rolled out nationally.
The machine in question? A bread-slicing machine.
That’s right, the next time you reel off those well-used words, ‘it’s the best thing since sliced bread’ remember to thank Mr. Rehwedder.
So, why did it take 16 years to hit the shops? 18 to gain national appeal? And why did it take three more years for sliced bread to out-sell non-sliced bread after its national release?
The answer doesn’t lie in money, tradition or product quality. It’s people.
A business with a brilliant offer, amazing content and ground-breaking product has absolutely no guarantee of success without the right people behind it (just look at the number of business closures every year!).
When Rehwedder invented his initial prototype in 1912, bakers scoffed at the idea, saying that the bread would go stale too fast and their customers wanted to slice their own bread.
These are valid arguments, particularly when something as traditional as bread-baking is challenged, but if Rehwedder had been a different type of person (or had somebody on his team or in his phonebook that was) the wait for sliced bread would have been much shorter.
The Einstein Marketer team expanded a lot in 2018 (and it’ll probably be the same in 2019), and with me being the type of man I am, this led to a ton of research about people.
I’m sure that most businesses would point to experience, skills and education as crucial factors in the decision-making process, but the success of a start-up, small or medium business relies on something else…
In fact, I’d argue that there are just 3 different types of character required for your brand to hit the big time.
These people don’t necessarily need to be employed by your company (they aren’t easy to find!) but you should ensure that you have a close affiliation with at least one of each.
When you’re able to combine these three personalities, use their skills accordingly and motivate them towards a common goal, you’ll see Einstein Marketer style growth (in a very short space of time).
Before we dive into the three types of people your business needs to hit the big time, I need to make a quick disclaimer…the original theory for these personalities was created by Malcolm Gladwell (one of my favourite authors). He used these characters to explain how ideas can reach a social ‘tipping point’.
I’ve used this ‘agents of change’ theory to come to my own hypothesis about how they apply to staff, brands and marketing.
If you haven’t already, check out some of his work. Learning is earning.
The 3 Types of Personality
#1: The Maven
What is a Maven?
A maven is crucial for your business’s success, more now than ever before.
The maven is a passionate learner and teacher. They are the type of person who always knows the answer and when they don’t, they actively hunt it out and share it with others.
They want to accumulate information to educate and help others, as well as satisfying their own bottomless hunger for knowledge. Mavens have a message to share with everyone.
This personality type are the sparks that cause change, because they often know what’s happening before anybody else. They constantly research, learn and share their knowledge, keeping the people around them in the loop.
If you know somebody who you can ask anything (on nearly any subject), you know a maven. Equally, if you’re the type of person who others always rely on for information, you are (probably) a maven.
Maven’s take satisfaction from being in-the-know and advising others. They don’t actively seek commendations or rewards for this behaviour, being the knowledgeable spark is usually enough.
A maven in bullet-points:
- They always know the answer
- Avid reader and learner
- They generate lots of ideas (sometimes too many at once)
- Prefer to offer constructive feedback rather than positive praise (just for the sake of it)
- A true expert in at least one field
- They hate being beginners and will do everything possible to skip this stage in their development (with loads of research and time spent practising)
- Stubborn (because they are used to being in the right)
- They challenge others to work and learn more
- Respected by peers and colleagues
- Fast learners
- Trend starters (but never receive any credit for it)
How to Utilise a Maven
Mavens always want to learn and share their information, making them perfect for:
- Content Creation: They take pride in being the most knowledgeable person (on almost any subject) but they don’t learn for themselves. They want to share their expertise with everyone and they love to help others. A natural maven will not produce thin or weak content. They will ensure that their content is extensively researched and well put together. Content marketing is a fundamental element of modern digital marketing success, and thus, if you can find a maven and put them in this position, they will contribute heavily to the growth of your business.
- Strategic thinking: Mavens are (usually) one step ahead of the game. They always want to contribute ideas and can feel inhibited if they aren’t able to. They have a great head for ideas and can use their knowledge (and extensive knowledge) to predict future patterns.
- Leadership: At the heart of everything a maven wants, is the desire (to use their knowledge) to help others. This creates mutual respect, hard work (from employees) and high levels of trust. Mavens are less likely to make decisions based on emotion and are never afraid of challenging others. They think creatively, go above and beyond and never take their finger off the pulse.
#2: The Connector
What is a Connector?
A maven might be the spark that causes change, but without a connector, their ideas will never reach other people (just look at the sliced bread example!).
Connectors make change happen through people. They seem to know everyone (although this doesn’t make a connector) and love to meet new people and make introductions.
Everywhere a connector goes, they take a network with them and are always (subconsciously) looking to increase it. They are the type of person who has an incredible ability to make new friends and acquaintances.
If you have a friend who can’t leave the house without talking to somebody new, you know a connector.
Connectors have a solution for nearly any problem, because they always seem to know somebody who can help! Ideas spread quickly through them and they are well-loved wherever they go.
A great way to uncover who the connectors are in your life is to make (or think about) your social tree map.
In order to do this, you will need to create a list of everybody you know (and interact with regularly), and then trace your relationship with them back to the start. Who was it that introduced you to them? Or put you in a position to meet them? Who do you know these people through? Who helped you get your job? Who knew your partner before you?
It’s highly likely that you can trace almost everyone you know through just a handful of people. And of these people, one of these will (probably) be a connector.
Of the three personality types, you are most likely to know a connector because they are so socially hungry. They possess intrigue, confidence, boundless energy and are incredibly sociable.
A connector in bullet-points:
- They know everyone
- Always seeking interactions with new people and will spark interactions with anyone
- High self-confidence
- They ask lots of questions and their conversation focus is almost always on the other person (not themselves)
- An early adopter and spreader of trends
- They seem to have been everywhere, or know somebody who has
- A walking-talking phonebook of experts
- They love networking, just for the sake of it
- Incredible energy levels
- Owners of 100’s of stories about PEOPLE (not ideas)
- They take pride in connecting people
- Naturals at starting conversations and keeping them alive
- They seem to be everywhere you go (because they hate being inside without interaction)
How to Utilise a Connector
Connectors are incredibly versatile characters that can fit (almost) anywhere in a team. However, if you’d like to get the most from your connector, try placing them in:
- Social Media Marketing: If your connector is stuck inside, it’s likely that they’ll spend lots of time on social media, growing their network, scrolling through the social world and interacting with others. They are masters of kicking off conversations, building engagement and growing followings, making them a super-valuable member of any modern marketing team. Their personal social media accounts have a higher than average following and they’re always growing. They have a real-eye for a quality post and their ability to put the audience at the centre of the social content, makes them incredible social media managers. A connector can take a maven’s ideas and give them tons of exposure. Their self-confidence, energy and social skills make them the perfect candidate for turning regular posts into ‘viral’ content. A connector will make sure your social channels reach their highest potential.
- Product Development: Connectors know everyone, and as such, make amazing product development members. If they aren’t pooling their collected knowledge (from their broad social circles), they’re asking others what they think and always searching for feedback.They might struggle to create a ‘pure’ idea by themselves, but they will use accumulated opinions (from their audience) to develop products successfully.
- Business Relations/Account Management: Going above and beyond a client’s (or customer’s) expectations is a sure fire way to ensure repeat (and long term) business. A connector will always go out of their way to ensure a client is happy. They make people feel special, and are always willing to share their connections. Their energy and enthusiasm for people shines through in this position.
#3: The Persuader
Businesses cannot reach their full potential without the crucial third and final personality.
Persuaders convince others to change. They possess an incredible amount of charisma that causes people to want to agree with them (without the persuader having to try hard).
They have powerful negotiation and sales skills, and others can be completely mesmerised when persuaders are in full flow.
Persuaders always find the most suitable angle to make a product, idea or plan (just about anything), sound irresistible. They have a huge influence over others, and are masters of storytelling.
Persuaders don’t generate many original ideas, but they are able to take an original idea and mould it into something super-valuable.
This personality type uses both verbal and non-verbal communications to convince you to agree with them (even though they may not realise). The very best persuaders can change your thinking, adjust your mentality and have you agree with them about anything.
An incredible persuader can make even the worst business into something valuable.
A persuader in bullet-points:
- Results obsessed
- People are hooked when the persuader speaks
- An expert communicator
- Focussed on angles
- Trend clinchers (they don’t come up with the original idea, but convince others to join them)
- Always seem to get amazing deals from other people
- Charming and charismatic
- They incite belief from others
- In constant need of a challenge
- They are always on the look-out for opportunity
- Always in-demand
How to Utilise a Persuader
A persuader’s place in your business might seem obvious, but this personality type is certainly more versatile than you’d think:
- Salesperson: A persuader’s natural ability to convince others makes them the most successful personality type in sales. They can sell anything (no matter the product) to anyone. They possess an incredible personality that is very difficult to knock down and are extremely competitive, raising their levels even further when they are placed amongst others.
- Advertising (digital marketing): Persuaders are always able to find the most valuable angle, no matter the idea, product or content, making them incredibly good advertisers. They know what people want and they know how to present it to them. Their ability to always get the ‘yes’ can be spread to a much broader audience by placing them in advertising.
- Leadership: Persuaders instil belief in others and can make even the most unattractive ideas sound appealing. They are always searching for opportunity and often the first to seize it. Their charming nature and natural communication skills make them very strong leaders.
How Do the 3 Personalities Fit Together?
It’s important to note, that while many of you will have found instant affiliation with one of the personalities, it’s very rare to find somebody who is a pure maven, connector or persuader. Most of you will be a mixture of (two or all three) personalities.
The key to your success and that of your brand, is being able to pull out your strongest attributes, align them with the correct character and apply these skills to your business.
When you have a good understanding of yours and your team’s strengths, you can play to them, ordering them into a powerful three step chain that has unlimited potential.
This ‘chain’ simply involves fitting these three personalities together:
Step 1: The Maven
Ideas and creation always begin with a maven. They are the business’s idea factory. As they are at the top of the steps, leadership is a natural fit.
Step 2: The Connector
The connector shares and spreads the maven’s ideas. They receive feedback, engage with an audience and make the business feel personal and unique. A connector polishes the maven’s idea.
Step 3: The Persuader
The persuader makes the idea, content or plan appealing. They are able to frame it so everybody wants it and can get an entire team behind it. The persuader makes ideas a reality. As they are at the final step, they also make good leaders.
The value of these three personality types immeasurable in modern marketing. When they are put together and ordered by their strengths, they can make content go ‘viral’, social followings (and audience size) go through the roof and sales reach record levels.
The most important thing is to play everyone to their strengths and this includes personality.
Experience and education might be good indicators of suitability, but I’d argue that nothing is more important than personality. Lessons can be taught and wisdom is naturally accumulated, but very few things affect a person’s character!
Which one of the three personalities are you? Does it fit with your job?