At the end of each year and into the beginning of the next, we take stock of where we’ve been and where we are about to go. TV shows and magazines look back on the significant events of the year, and then prognosticators predict what’s yet to come.
One of the best prognosticators out there (although he may not take to being called that) is Brian Solis (@briansolis ). In 2010 he wrote the book Engage , which leads you through the specific steps you need to take to conceptualize, implement, manage and measure a social media program.
I had the privilege of interviewing Brian Solis for an article I wrote for Personal Branding Magazine. In some ways, he reminded me of Matthew Broderick’s character Ferris Bueller; fun, smart and super-savvy about the ways of the social media environment and how to play it. Solis knows how to navigate, pull the technological strings and use these tools to business advantage.
But wait, there’s more
And new for 2012, Solis has released The End of Business as Usual: Rewire the Way You Work to Succeed in the Consumer Revolution . When I received a review copy in the mail I had high expectations and was not disappointed.
This book takes you to the next level, taking social media away from the context of tool and into the context of strategy. Let me put it another way: We don’t write about telephones or microwaves or stoves as revolutionary tools for communication or cooking. We’ve integrated these items into our lives. Business as Usual does the same thing for us in terms of social media. Solis is taking the tools and technologies we’ve been enamored with and pushing us into accepting them as tangible, real and unimportant as tools, but vitally important in terms of what we do with them.
The End of Business as Usual is a bellwether
If you like Groundswell, then you will love this. This is a business book, a social media book and a trend book all in one. It’s 20 chapters and 300 pages of lesson after lesson, insight after insight, and terrific charts and graphics that give you a perspective on what Solis is talking about.
There are so many facts and figures in this book relating to what’s going on in social media that you could probably tweet out a stat every day and have enough to last you a couple of years. I’m not sure if I’m exaggerating, but I think I’m pretty close.
Here are just a few chapter names that will give you some idea of what to expect:
Chapter 3: The medium is no longer the message. This is the core message of the book. People are spending more time on social networks, TV shows are live tweeted, news comes from Twitter online video networks – in other words, social is as integrated into our lives as phones and appliances.
Chapter 4: Attention deficit crises and information scarcity: This chapter addresses one of the key reasons I admire Brian Solis: “If you don’t have anything interesting or productive to say – then don’t say it.” While Solis is a social media expert and evangelist, I respect his integrity in terms of using social media as a valuable communication channel rather than a vehicle for pabulum.
Chapter 7: Your audience is now an audience of audiences with audiences: This chapter has terrific visuals and charts to show you exactly how communication and information functions in the social media world. This chapter is worth reading and rereading.
Chapter 11: The rise of connected commerce: You’ve already heard the phrase “blurring the line between personal and business. This chapter gives you the background on how and why this is happening. Mobile devices, constant connection and communication will force business to look and feel more personal.
Chapter 14: Reinventing the brand and sales cycle for a new genre of connecter commerce: The message in this chapter is to plug into decision making. We’ve never had better access to data about our customers’ behavior. Businesses will have to become masters at managing their brand promises.
Who should read this book?
To say that anyone who intends to be in business over the next three to five years should read this book is an understatement. Business owners will see data and research that will help them create a context for the world that they and their customers are participating in.
Sales and marketing professionals will get insights and be able to develop much more powerful marketing strategies that get to the heart of what’s important to their customers.
Social media practitioners will have evidence and resources to share with their clients that will show exactly why the strategies they are proposing will work.
At the risk of sounding over the top, The End of Business as Usual  is a book you absolutely, positively must read to succeed in 2012 and beyond.