S Train Steam Train FINAL

It seems like the year has barely begun, and already Tom Peters (@Tom_Peters), known by many as the “Red Bull of business management thinkers,” has rolled out several important imperatives for 2014. His first directive came in early December, presented as an essential, yet easy to forget, reminder to us all to be grateful for those around us—and especially those who work either with or for us.

Peters’s reminder about gratitude, reaffirming community bonds, and bringing that spirit to the workplace led to a very fun exchange of ideas via Twitter and Facebook, culminating in something he called “The S-Train Imperative.” Peters uses this metaphor to describe the ways in which social business components come together. At Blue Focus Marketing, we were so enamored with Peters’s initial concept that we decided to pad it out a little bit, elaborating on the essential components Peters listed and adding the social executive (SX) as the engineer of the S-Train.

The S-Train in motion

The premise of this visual metaphor goes something like this: if your S-Train (social business train) is running smoothly, if all other components are working as they should, your customers will feel the thrill of the train whistle every time your brand reaches out on social media. The spirit of this metaphor is very much in line with the philosophy we lay out in our Amazon best-selling book The Social Employee where we claim that a brand cannot communicate externally unless it first learns to communicate internally.

S_Train_Tom_Peters.SX_fwThis means that every aspect of the S-Train, from the tracks (social business) to the conductors (social employees) is essential to its performance. They say 85 percent of the work that goes into branding is never seen by the public, but it’s this dedication to maintaining an efficient, well-rounded system that makes that last 15 percent ignite the imaginations of the public. Invest as much energy—if not more—into your employees as you do with other aspects of your organization, and they will reward you with years of unflagging brand ambassadorship. 

Time to get your S-Train off fossil fuels

Steam Train.old

The great thing about Peters’s metaphor is that it applies to every business. The older, command-and-control business models are certainly S-Trains in their own right. But unfortunately for them, the “S” in their S-Train stands for “steam engine.” Social businesses on the cutting edge are more like sleek, efficient bullet trains. They operate on collaborative models that empower social employees to generate, share, and curate valuable ideas and content for peers, customers, and prospects.

A strong organizational philosophy that promotes a culture-first mentality through adherence to a brand’s mission, vision, and values will always form the foundation of social business, the tracks on which the S-Train cruises along.

Blue Focus Marketing offers training and workshops to help your business ride the S-Train right into the growing @SocialEmployee revolution. Contact us today to find out how we can best help bring your brand into the future!

Tom Peters Avatar Twitter

Tom Peters (@Tom_Peters) Some (Really) (Important) Stuff

Click Here (13 January 2014)  (see pages 25-28)

+ Tom Peters 100 Book Reading ListThe Social Employee (McGraw-Hill)  – Page 90

             +   Tom Peters Questions for newly anointed CEOs



Below are recent endorsements for The Social Employee (McGraw-Hill, August 2013) by Tom Peters and David Aaker on their social networks, but if you want to see more of their endorsements click here.

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Tom Peters (Twitter) attribution PPT

Tom Peters signature copy
In The Social Employee, we go behind the scenes with several leading brands—such as IBM, AT&T, Dell, Adobe, Southwest Airlines, Cisco, Acxiom, and Domo—pulling the lid off the inspiring social business success stories that have propelled these companies into the 21st century. These cutting-edge brands have all come to the same realization: the path to social business lies through empowering the social employee.

See what others are saying about The Social Employee and order your copy today!


Please check out @SocialEmployee media buzz! Click Here

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“Great brands have always started on the inside, but why are companies taking so long to leverage the great opportunities offered by internal social media? . . . The Social Employee lifts the lid on this potential and provides guidance for businesses everywhere.” JEZ FRAMPTON, Global Chairman and CEO, Interbrand


Amazon_agold-bookThe Social Employee offers an unparalleled behind-the-scenes look at the social business success stories of some of the biggest brand names in the business world, including IBM, AT&T, Dell, Adobe, Southwest Airlines, Cisco, Acxiom, and Domo. These cutting-edge brands have all come to the same realization: the path to social business lies through empowering the social employee.

The brands that leverage their employee base in order to engage customers and prospects through social media are the ones destined to win the marketing wars. This book not only details the astronomical rise of the social employee, but also outlines the innovative methods that leading companies have employed to foster cultures of enthusiastic and engaged workers.

FORMcGrawHill_RedEWORD by David C. Edelman, Global Co-Leader, Digital Marketing & Sales Practice, McKinsey & Company

AFTERWORD by Kevin Randall, Vice President of Brand Strategy & Research at
Movéo Integrated Branding, and a columnist for Fast Company and The Atlantic

Download ~> Free Chapter 3 – “Brands Under Pressure”


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