The Generosity Economy


“Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Jesus.  Luke 6:38, The Bible.

There are two places your business can operate from, the Fair trade economy or the Generosity economy. Most people are aware only of the first choice.

Fair trade is simple, predictable and easy to understand and plan around. I give you something of value, if and when you are willing to give me something of equivalent or greater value in return. If you are unable or unwilling to give me something of value, then there’s no way I’m going to give you anything of value either – even if I can. It’s fair trade, it’s an exchange and both parties, business and customer, understand it.

The problem with this fair trade economy is that it limits the power and depth of the relationship your brand can form with the market. People most trust, and are most loyal to friends and fair trade is just not how the best friendships are formed.

Friends don’t say to each other, “look I know you’re going through a hard time, but I’ll only help you out if you help me out”. Friends (good ones) don’t say “I’ll only lend this book/ invite you to the party/ hook you up with a date – IF you first do something of equal or greater value for me”.

No, friends regularly share tips and tricks, secrets, time and money and all kinds of things with each other…often without thought to personal benefit.

Businesses don’t -thus, we have much stronger and longer lasting relationships with our friends than we do with most businesses.

The ultimate strategic position (USP) for your brand, is to be perceived as a trusted friend who happens to be an expert advisor. To get there, you’ll need to leave the world of fair trade, and enter into the generosity economy.

Here’s how it works.

When you give, without requiring something in return, you open the doors to developing meaningful relationships with people. A free tip that could make me money, a resource that will save me time, advise that erases my confusion and helps me make a smarter buying decision – when you provide me with stuff like this, I start to understand two things about you.

  1. You care about me, not just my money  – you’re a friend.
  2. You know what you’re talking about, you’re an expert

No one is going to have more influence on how I form my buying criteria than you are. Trust will fast forward the sales cycle, the likelihood of referrals and the loyalty i show toward your brand (even if i find a cheaper option). You’re going to leagues ahead of the guy who simply says ‘trust me’

Living this way, allows you, even on a smaller budget than your competitors, to build a super brand. The more people you can reach, to be generous to, the more powerful your brand is going to be and the greater the impact will be on your bottom line.

Be careful though…this is not a gimmick. It pays to actually care, not just pretend to. If you’re just doing it to manipulate me into liking and trusting you, you’ll soon be found out. Having a genuine concern and real expertise is a must.

In Zimbabwean business, we’re entering a new age. Now, much of how marketing used to work, doesn’t work nearly as well anymore…and it’s going to get worse.

Social media platforms like Facebook have made the relationship dynamic much more important to business than ever before. In a world dominated by relationships, the battle for trust, loyalty and purchases, goes to the most generous expert.

You’re not going to build a successful business by copying what others did 10 or even 5 years ago. The world’s, and Zimbabwe’s next lot of successful brands and businesses will be built with the understanding that selfishness or even fair trade just isn’t enough anymore. The Generosity Economy is becoming the most profitable economy in the world.

You’re going to have to acquaint yourself with fluffy words and concepts like love, and caring, and friendship, stuff that many big brands previously did not really have to pay real attention to.

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One thought on “The Generosity Economy

  1. Generosity economics ..I think this article helps explain the importance of valuing the customer and fellow busines associates beyond profits..and I think that is very important. Service has got to go beyond just money, while we should at the same time admit money is needed to sustain any business among other factors

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