When you think of servant leadership, it is typically within the context of internal business relationships or organizational structures. There are dozens of books on the subject and even an entire certificate program at UGA dedicated to teaching the subject. While organizations can obviously benefit from this model, I believe it can be applied to business-to-business and business-to-consumer relationships.

The essence of servant leadership is to treat others better than you treat yourself; that is, to go beyond the golden rule. What might this look like in a marketing context? For starters, we produce content that is for our target market’s good and not just our gain. We innovate ways to exceed consumers’ expectations for service and commerce. We brainstorm how to show that we recognize the consumer need more than our need to make a profit. We don’t cut corners. We say thank you for business and ask for other opportunities to add value. We honor others by celebrating their success and not looking for ways to cut them down. We see competition as a challenge to run toward excellence and serve more humbly, diligently, and generously than anyone around us.

I have a few ideas of companies who do this well. Who comes to mind when you think of servant-leaders in the marketing world? Comment below!

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