Recently a Positive Marketing client in a branding workshop had a problem. The diagnosis was quick and easy – Groupthink. This problem, research shows, occurs most in highly cohesive groups who talk in jargon. Remind you of technology marketing teams?
Having endured such impasses, I mean worked at, some very large organizations in the past, I was sympathetic. With a little brainstorming we stopped boiling the frog. The disappointing truth is that although frogs do not actually stay in boiling water, marketing teams will stay with tired old messages for much longer.
It was not that any of the well-educated, intelligent and passionate people around the ‘brainstorming’ table were not interested in getting the right answer – just incapable. Years of satisficing, cutting corners on marketing and frankly internal politics, had them paralyzed into being scared of the big, bold move they needed to make if their brand was ever going to ‘cut through’ the noise from their competitors. It took some time, but we got there and produced some ambitious, relevant and salesworthy content. Look out for future blog posts on the results.
Contrast that with the feisty PR and marketing work we have been doing for our smaller clients. Hungry for coverage they will listen and position to where the market is and will be, not where it was. Their strategy? Just. Get. Noticed. When you are more afraid of inaction than action, like David Helgason, CEO of Unity Technologies, then good things tend to happen.
Of course, for consultants as outsiders, certain things are easier. If you are smart and deliver value, you don’t worry about a ‘career’; just the next exciting challenge and meeting new teams. The opposite rule applies. Which means kissing arse to create the wrong results (or worse non-results) may win favour short-term but it emphatically won’t keep consultants engaged forever.
If clients wanted to be told only what they want to hear, it is a ticking timebomb until they (and you) are found out. Better to be brave and jump when the water is a little too comfortable.
Love to hear your views on discomfort versus value-add. Add a comment or email to firstname.lastname@example.org