getting past the lollipops
Awareness matters, action matters more #AOC3 #BAD10

learning not to listen

Just stop One of my favorite quotes of all time came to me by way of Converseon's Rob Key quoting Henry Ford who said,

If I had asked customers what they had wanted they would have said faster horses.

Listening has it's place.  The voice of the customer has it's place.  But let's be clear, your customers have feedback and ideas but they don't know what's best for any number of reasons, including:

  • Customers don't have all the information.  
  • Customers don't see the big picture.  
  • Customer's vocal feedback doesn't define your success. 
  • Your customer's necks and livelihoods aren't on the line.  
  • Your customers aren't professionals, nor do they have the sensitivity, strategy or skill of your dedicated professionals.

Whether it's the logo for the Gap or the latest horrible UGC commercials, customers aren't always smarter or even right.  Much of the time they are ill-informed or just wrong.  As brand communicators it is our objective to inform and empower our customers in the ultimate goal of generating sales, loyalty and advocacy.  We want these relationships to be collaborative?  But at what point did we stop leading and to be blunt, stop thinking things through?

Almost every update to Facebook drives huffs and puffs from the masses.  Yet six months later we cannot think of life without these innovations.  

Sometimes great thinkers know better.  Sometimes customers are wrong.  And sometimes we shouldn't be asking them for ideas of feedback to begin with.  Because at the end of the day, it's our jobs as marketers to build our brands.

YOU have to be more invested in your success than your customers.  To be honest, almost every brand and every business is replaceable.  And so, it is up to you to make your business tick.

I bet Gap had a good deal of thinking behind their logo redesign.  I hope they had good reason to change the course, especially the second time.  So please, stop looking at collaboration as an alternative to strategy, design or creative.  Stop bowing to the notoriously fickle whims of the Twitter universe.