During last weekend’s college football drama, fun to watch because you just never know what surprising turn is in store, I witnessed a play where a muffed punt was fumbled and recovered by the opposing team, resulting in quick touchdown. If you watch college football, you’ve seen this. When the cameras panned the sidelines, focusing on the guilty receiver, we saw his coach smiling and patting the kid on the helmet. The coach couldn’t have punished the player any more than he was punishing himself. And, at that moment, the coach needed the kid’s head back in the game, with confidence.
At my son’s cross country meet this past weekend, his time was off. My initial reaction was to review what my son could have done differently to better his position. Should he change his breakfast on race day? Was it the flu he fought earlier in the week? New shoes? The coach’s reaction: “Glad to see you didn’t let that other kid pass you, even if you weren’t quite yourself this meet.”
These coaches have found the love. And they know that in order to solicit the best performance, when they need it, a bit of honey is better than a bit of vinegar.
I know it’s corny, but I’d like to see the marketing team asking itself more often, “Did we find the love?” And the CEO/owner asking “Did we find the love?”
In media, it’s a matter of questions like:
– Is this online ad unit an annoying interruption, or a welcome engagement?
– Is our frequency in balance so that we have the opportunity to connect with listeners/viewers but we don’t turn them off with too much repetition?
– Is our media and creative strategy customer-centric or competitor-centric?
All too often marketers are more influenced by the need to out-voice the competition than the need to keep consumers’ needs in mind. (Look at the heat Kmart took for running a Christmas ad before the leaves turned red.)
We’re all trained with business needs as goal. That won’t change. But what if being empathetic, producing the kind of advertising we’d want to consume, WAS good business?