May I please borrow your opinion? It’ll only take a sec.
Thing is, for the past year, I’ve been working on a book about the dawning Relationship Era, in which brands must find human connections between themselves and stakeholders as opposed to purchasing attention for the purpose of persuading strangers to buy something. It’s about how to emerge from the rubble of mass media and mass marketing to forge sustainable relationships based on shared interests and values -– and to lower marketing costs in the bargain.
Never mind the year of tapping at the keyboard. For me, this book represents the evolution of my thinking, a process that began in earnest 7-1/2 years ago. I’ve staked my reputation on it, and my career. For my co-author, Doug Levy, CEO of MEplusYOU, it represents something more like a spiritual awakening. This is a man who a decade ago had a soul-shaking conversion experience through which he came to understand that brands lacking a core purpose are hollow vessels, disadvantaged in cultivating any meaningful connection with stakeholders.
And so our book is about how to simultaneously find customers and yourself. It’s part economic analysis, part case histories, part best practices, part data evidence and part manifesto. We got a handsome advance from a major publisher. We have a pub date in the spring. The manuscript will be finished in six weeks. There’s only one problem:
What to name the damn book.
The book will not be called The Human Element, although that was the working title for months. It will not be called The Relationship Era. No matter what you read in the publisher’s spring catalogue, it will not be called True Like. Nor That Thing Called Like or Money Can’t Buy You Like, because they may seem too Facebooky, and our book goes far beyond Facebook and social media in general. It won’t be called Meaningful Returns or Return on Intent. It won’t be called Significant Others or Virtuous Circles.
Even though the book is the natural evolution of my 2010 The Chaos Scenario, it won’t be called The Friendship Scenario, The Harmony Scenario or The Sustainability Scenario. It won’t be called The Trust Axis, The Trust Circle, The Trust Economy, The Trust Effect, The Trust Factor or The Trust Multiplier. It won’t be called Treat Me Like a Friend or Truth, Trust & Hot Donuts. It won’t be called We or Unmarketing, because somebody else published them first.
For better or worse, it won’t be called How to Venn Friends and Influence People.
And it won’t be called 150 other things. Nearly 200 possibilities have been tossed around, and every single one has been rejected by one party to the process or another. This may have something to do with how elusive a good title is. It also may have something to do with the dynamics of a committee. We have two authors, an agent, an editor, a marketing director and the publisher himself working on the problem -- and after months of back and forth, we are exactly nowhere.
Consensus is hard. Unanimity seems to be impossible. The only title everybody absolutely agreed on was Oprah’s Miracle I Love Cats Diet. It was unanimously rejected on the grounds of stupidity..
So do me a favor. Name the damn book for me. The title requirements are that it must jump out from the cover, fairly describe the book, be neither too narrow or too broad, be novel and memorable -- and in a perfect world, represent a call to action. Please hurry with this.
Seriously, how hard can it be?