The most overrated thing in life is being liked. Worrying about likability is partially what has brought us this miserable state of political correctness that we suffer through each day in the United States.
If you’re going to break new ground and do great things, face it…you’re not going to be liked or understood by the majority.
I have clients that hate me, but they stay with me because I’m painfully honest about every aspect of their business that I’m engaged in. I don’t tell them a bad idea that they’ve invested in can be saved if it can’t. I don’t lessen the blow with flowery words. I simply tell them they have an ugly baby and look for new ways to dress the baby or recommend they start over and try making a prettier baby.
Worry about making a difference in the world, but don’t worry so much about being liked. Let people like the results, that’s even better.
James Dean, picnics, whiskey, red lipstick…some things never go out of style. They may not be the current trend, but they’ll always be there in the background.
There are also those things that simply don’t have the staying power. Cupcake stores, Duck Dynasty, Gangham Style, Crocs, Honey Boo Boo…they may have moments of extreme popularity, but they die out over time.
You have to stay on top of trends, and you have to adjust communications to fit the fickle nature of the world we live in. You don’t, however, have to be a brand that will pass like just another fad. Always be cognizant of your positioning, and unless you’re simply trying to make a quick buck, be a brand that never goes out of style.
Whatever you do, whatever service you provide or product you create, you have to be memorable.
Maybe you’re memorable for being the absolute best, maybe it’s because you’re a square peg that fits into a round hole, or maybe you’re like me and you make up for your shortcomings with loud clothes and tattoos…however you do it, you have to stand out.
Each day I work with people that offer perfectly suitable products/services, and there’s often absolutely nothing memorable about them or the service. Providing quality simply isn’t enough in today’s world of constant input and competition. You have to be memorable.
Kick back with Simple Minds and enjoy ‘Don’t You Forget About Me’ a few times. Think about your brand. Do what has to be done to make sure that you stand out.
I have more than 200 absolute favorite quotes from Mad Men. This one is my absolute favorite today, because it fits so many projects at-hand.
A hefty percentage of my time in the public relations side of life is spent with clients in a sort of crisis mode as they concern themselves greatly with the conversations that are currently talking place. My role is to help them focus on communications strategy and the CONVERSATIONS THAT THEY WANT TO BE TAKING PLACE.
Don Draper put it perfectly. “If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.”
In today’s world, it’s easy to do. You have the tools at-hand to keep tabs on what the public is saying about you and/or your brand. It’s well within your grasp to change these conversations. If you can’t do it yourself, professionals can help.
I’ve lived through this regarding professional and personal topics, and I’m sure I will again. When you’re hearing something you don’t like, you have two choices. You can live with it, or you can change it. Be a winner, and change the conversation to something more suitable to your goals.
We’re all human, so there are certainly clients and projects that we get more excited about than others. Times that we wake up motivated and want to redouble our efforts to be the best we can be. There are also times that we would rather give a bath to a wildcat than deal with the client walking through the door.
Regardless of how excited or demotivated you are, you have to approach each client like they’re the most important client you’ll ever have, because they are. In a world of instant communication (Yelp, Google reviews, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), we have to consider just how quickly someone can tell the world how wonderful their experience was. A few years ago, you had to provide service to a news anchor to suddenly have 1000s of people see how talented you are…now, almost every customer can share satisfaction (or lack of) with the world.
Clearly, social media reputation management is not the only reason to treat clients like they’re the wonderful creatures they are, but it’s a strong enough motivator to keep it top-of-mind. Personal pride in your craft and a goal to move the industry forward are your driving force — just think of social media activity as those little bumps on the side of the road that alert you as you drift off the sides of the street. They aren’t the motivation to not die in a fiery crash, they’re the reminders to keep your ass in the road.
[originally published for Salon Today]