What are the nuggets that guide us professionally every day, whether we’re discussing product development, crafting marketing strategies or drafting news releases? Those things that we remind ourselves – or should be reminding ourselves – of as we plan how our brands will be presented to news media and customers.
Here are three truths that I try to live by daily.
It’s not about me.
By me, I mean the brands I represent. Of course I think they are the best things around. I drank the Kool-Aid. But most consumers don’t care that your brand has been around for X years or that your business led an industry-wide revolution in 1983.
We consumers are a selfish bunch. I want to know how your product or service helps ME. The burden is on the brand to show how it makes my life easier in a meaningful way and that should shape everything from product development to marketing messages.
It’s not about my gut.
We sometimes make broad generalizations about a demographic based on our individual association with it. I can’t tell you many times I’ve seen female marketers blurt out assumptions about all females. Or marketers with children make assumptions about all consumers who happen to be parents.
I bet you’ve seen this, too. You’ve probably been guilty of doing it. I know I have. But I don’t speak on behalf of all white males in the marketing industry who are married with two kids. I remind myself of that often.
It underscores the importance of research. Seek insights about the group you’re reaching out to even if you fall into its demographic. On second thought, ESPECIALLY if you fall into its demographic.
It’s not about yesterday.
What worked last year, may not work this year. Likewise, what didn’t work last year, may work miracles this year.
I was in a meeting during which a new employee shared a promotional idea. A wet blanket was immediately tossed on it by a 20-year veteran because a similar idea didn’t work in the 1990’s. The new guy’s boss asked about the previous execution. They decided to give it another shot while tweaking the specifics. Six months later it was the most successful promotion the company had to date.
If someone brings up an idea that the brand tried before unsuccessfully, don’t automatically kill it. Talk about what didn’t work the last time and whether changing the specifics may lead to different results.
That brings me back to “It’s not about me.” I’m interested in your insights. What truths do you live by professionally?
*Image by Paul Downey.