First, let’s go back to 2007, before I even started blogging. I had been reading Seth Godin’s blog and was really inspired by his writings. I emailed him a couple of random thoughts (as a completely unknown 16 year old). And he replied, giving me encouragement and saying that my thoughts weren’t all bad. That encouragement was what spurred me on to this blog, and one of the reasons why I admire him so much.
When I first started blogging, I reached out to Chris Brogan, asking him for advice and suggestions on how to improve my blog. He not only replied and gave me good advice, he even made a post about my blog, giving me my first boost of subscribers. Since then, he’s continued to be really helpful in everything.
Just last week, I finally got a hold of Trey Lockerbie‘s EP. How did I get it? I emailed him asking him for it, basically saying that I wanted his EP, but it’s only available on the iTunes music store which is inaccessible from Singapore. Long story short, he left a copy of the CD at the hotel’s front desk last week when he stopped by Singapore for a show. I’ve always really loved Trey’s music since I first heard him a couple of years ago, but this brought my appreciation (and fanhood) of him to a whole new level.
What am I getting at? Firstly, from an individual’s perspective. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. Your heroes are not always really that out of reach. More often than not, they’re happy to hear from you. Even business owners have said that what matters most to them is “customers who appreciate what we do.” Reach out, ask for what you need, and you never know, you might just get it.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, for brands (both personal and corporate). How open are you to your customers? How approachable are you? Do you communicate with your customers, are you willing to help them when they reach out to you? Because you should. That little bit of approachability goes a long way.