If your brand can’t laugh at itself, you’re in trouble. When we build brands without imperfection built into the brand, we are choosing to NOT connect. When we build brands where a certain distance or facade is always present, we're choosing to NOT connect. In my B2B and B2C experience, connection is where the longest lasting, deepest and most satisfying customer relationships live. Facades are boring and EASY TO SPOT.
I was recently a guest on a podcast about the Marketing industry. And because the podcast is about the good, the bad and the ugly of Agency Life, the host asked me to share the worst client experience I’ve had. And I almost answered because it’s fun to tell stories about how other people suck and I don’t want to pretend everything is shiny-happy-sunny-all-the-time. But I didn’t want to talk shit about a client in public. Maybe it’s because I’m the daughter of a Canadian Librarian, but the thought of it made me feel kind of sick. So-in about 2 seconds-I considered my options, remembered I don’t mind being the butt of my own joke and told a story about a moment where I screwed up.
Here’s what happened: I finished a client’s web copy. I deposited their payment. My ego was strutting around the room, chest puffed out. I’d created amazing words! About a special person!! About the things that made her special! But while the copy might have looked ok in a word document, it didn’t translate to a formal website. The website was Cheerleader-y. The word equivalent of a smiley emoji waving pom poms. It didn’t connect because it wasn’t really her.
I apologized profusely and asked for the opportunity to re-write the copy for free. And now it’s GREAT because her true self, as opposed to my marketing idea about her true self, comes through loud and clear.
One of the GREATEST things about being in my 40s (there are approximately 40,000 great things about being in my 40s). I can receive feedback about my imperfections without getting angry or initiating a 3-day shame spiral. That kind of even handedness exists because I know I’m really good at what I do and I have the ability to hear requests as feedback, not a personal attack #hardwonknowledge DO YOU SEE WHERE I’M GOING WITH THIS?
Brands: KNOW THYSELF! Be the equivalent of a woman in her 40s. Because your potential customers are dying to find some BELONGING. And belonging is knowing who you are, telling YOUR story and never changing who you are for other people. That's vulnerable and that's what connects you to your clients and customers. Need some inspiration? Let’s talk!