Clicks Versus Bricks – Where Are We Today, Are We Merging the Two With Mobile Personal Tech?

Have you ever wondered how some start-up online businesses go from zero to 1000 in a blink of an eye, while others fall on their face? Do you ever wonder how companies that make no money can get venture capital money, have an incredible burn rate with no income, and still go public garnering 100s of millions of dollars on an IPO? How is it that after all those fake Internet companies bit the farm in the Dot Com crash that, now new companies can still use that old tactic? Well, because some of those Internet companies did turn into something big; eBay, Amazon, Google, PayPal, etc.

Now then, if you are still skeptical about up and coming companies like Facebook and others moving forward into the future, you are not alone, Wall Street mostly agrees with you on even numbered days. Still, perhaps you’d like to know the difference between real companies made of bricks, and Internet companies with nothing more than clicks. I’d like to recommend that you read the book;

“Clicks and Mortar – Passion-Driven Growth in an Internet-Driven World,” by David S. Pottruck and Terry Pearce, published by Jossey-Bass, a Wiley and Sons Company, 2000, 257 pages, ISBN: 978-07879-5273-7.

The authors made some great observations back in 2000 stating that the Internet wasn’t going to kill the modern day corporation, rather enable it to do more, become more efficient, and those who could harness these synergies best would be the winners. Guess what, they were correct, and here in 2012 we see that reality. Those high-flying days during the Internet bubble are not longer, only a few were able to go to the next level, and enter the real world of corporate financial strength. We all know these companies by name, they are practically household names in fact.

Those companies that stayed the course with their passionate employees increased their brand-names even during the onslaught of new Internet competitors. Although this book at times seemed more like a tribute to companies, firms, and corporations associated in some way with the authors, they still were able to garner a reality check in the case-studies they presented for their main thesis and argument. That, leadership communication and buy-in from the employees as to the mission of the brand is what allowed companies later to win with consumers, which was true both on and off-line, or with clicks or bricks.

The author’s insisted that by leveraging your company’s voice and your employees passion, it hardly mattered if your company was reaching out to customers on or offline, but hopefully both. The culture makes the difference. It has always been said that good company branding starts at home, with the home team advantage. One of the best ways to get your employees on board comes from promoting your biggest brand-loyalist employees up the top of the ladder.

In the new world of personal tech, the merging of bricks and clicks thanks to mobile devices is going to blur this line completely, thus, I imagine there will be more winners in the future, and less fakery getting by or passing for IPOs, instead companies will need a following, cashflow, revenue, and clicks too. Indeed, I hope you will please consider all this.