A little bump in the road threw me yesterday. Someone I respect suggested that part of what we do around here sounds….negative. Specifically, the ‘Stop Doing Dumb Things’ part. As a cyclist I’m used to the odd wobble and even the occasional crash! What to do when someone throws a stick in the spokes? I had some time to pause on my journey so I put a question out to Twitter.
Which do you prefer, ‘stop doing dumb things’ or ‘better engagement for better service’ – couple of folk saying the first is too negative?
The responses were rapid and very useful.
Hackofalltrades I really dig the 1st, but can see it could be off-putting to those who do dumb things to customers. But stands out a lot more. 2nd is more bland, but safer. What’s more important (to you): initial interest, or not ruffling feathers (at first)?
Martincouzins I like the first one – shorter, sharper, direct. I know exactly what it means. No 2 is more ambiguous IMHO. The positive sounds a bit mealy mouthed. Take point about negativity, but maybe those words work well for what you do?
Inthecompanyof 1st one. More powerful, more direct.
Claireboyles Depends what you want it to achieve. For marketing purposes, getting your brand well known & talked about #1 wins hands down. And it’s apt, because it’s true, so many people doing so many dumb things, even if they don’t realise they are dumb things!
Changecontinuum Personally the first – loud and proud will always defeat mediocrity. #whatdoiknow What does your gut say? Have you read Simon Sinek on “why”?
Jasonlauritsen I like the first. That probably means it’s appealing to a narrow audience. 🙂
Sarahjsargent Dumb things is straight talking – 2nd one is a bit corporate speak
Theatreacle Late reply – things always better expressed in the positive – how about “start doing great things”….
Stirthesource the first. I have spoken about you and your work to many. They ADORE the name. PS – I have to stop and think about the 2nd. The first is instant and makes you smile/has you nodding in agreement. Genius! PPS – I talk about it in its full name too, so my vote would be to stay with that (i.e. continue to include ‘customers’)
All great stuff coming in from all directions. Then things took another turn.
Bridge101 (aka Bridget Greenwood) Better engagement for better service sounds like corporate speak. I have to run it through my brain more than once to get it… they say keep marketing lit to level of an 8 year old. They say people engage more with what not to do than with what to do. So: “Stop doing dumb things to Your customers Your people, and start…..*fill in the benefit….” Then I’d keep reading… creating a movement, stand out, be strong on your vision, don’t fluff, do shock – you want a movement right? Let passion show. This considered and passionate input was followed by a text message containing more useful insight. Yep, Bridget went to the trouble to find my number and text me, so I called her back and we had a great chat about marketing, about purpose, about a whole bunch of exciting things. And Bridget also pointed me towards Why? By Simon Sinek. I checked out this very interesting talk by Simon on TED and I’m happy to repost it here, it’s worth a look if you are interested in self-definition, in ‘what’s it all about’?
Later in the day I read this great blog post on HBR by Lucy P Marcus. It’s all about being connected and she cites Twitter as a great place to throw out a question and get great thinking back in return. Couldn’t agree more!
So the bump was hit, the wobble had, the why whyed and with some minor adjustments we’re back on track. Truth is it would have been easy for me to just ride on past this one, but sometimes it’s worth taking a break and checking in with folks, I think I’m all the better for it.
What has the world of social media helped you with lately? I’d love to learn even more.
PS – two final thoughts on this. Jason popped back to say ‘different is awesome!’ and the wonderful jrkuhns simply adds – ‘Unconferences rule!’ thanks guys.
2 thoughts on “Wobbling and whying”
Doug – a great follow-up post. I love the name BTW – don’t get me wrong. As you know I am also all for aiming at the 8-year old level and keeping things simple. And definitely all for less b-speak.
The issue is that psychologically if we offer a negative, we have to work through that before we get to the positive. Take potty training. If you say “dry pants” the positive message is instilled. This far more effective than “don’t wet your pants” which encourages the negative practice before the understanding of the positive is reached.
So stating “stop doing dumb things” focusses us on dumb things. It is a problem-focus. What we really want to understand is what we are doing well, and do more of it – a solutions focus.
Hi Neil – thanks for your comment. I like the psychological angle, though I thought we agreed you weren’t going to talk about my pants in public! In terms of the November unconference I’ve played with the site slightly and it’s now intro’d as:
Stop Doing Dumb Things…to our customers and our people.
Start making work better.
Start delivering better service.
Start creating lasting value.
I think this creates a good mix of a daring to be different approach backed up with your lovely solutions focus positioning. It’s certainly attracting interest and bookings, can’t wait for the day itself!