Your Clients Need To Know That You REALLY see them!
I clearly remember when she looked across the table at us and said “you are who you say you are.” Little did I know that when I heard those words three years ago, they would guide the trajectory of my life from that day on.
Pause. Rewind. Press play when you reach March 2015: before we started Marrow; before I worked in an agency; before I went on Nat Leave (more on that another day); before I would dare to self-define as creative; I was working at a job that I loved, in a company I adored and we had hired an agency to rebrand our identity.
On that particular day in March of 2015, my boss and I were seated at a boardroom table in Toronto about to see our new brand for the first time. If you’ve never sat through a brand reveal with an agency, it feels a whole lot like the TLC classic “Trading Spaces” where you let someone else into your home to redecorate a room with no input or insight into their work. You only find out that they’ve hot-glue-gunned sand and shells to your walls once the room is revealed and your reaction is in the spotlight. Super fun for control freaks like me!
My stomach was in knots. My breath was fast. This brand had become my baby over the previous 4 years and meant the world to me. This group of strangers was about to show me a whole new baby.
At the time, I couldn’t stop obsessing over the question: “Will we like it?”
What I’ve learned since though, is that people in the client’s seat during a rebrand/communication strategy/content plan/ insert marketing activity are not REALLY wondering whether they’ll like it. That’s just a surface level distraction.
The real question on a businesses’ mind when they’re in that seat; when they’re playing Trading Spaces for Business; when they’ve handed over thousands of dollars on the hope that something great comes out; what they're truly wondering is:
“Will they really see me?”
Will these people, this agency, really get me? Will they see why my organization is different? Will they be able to pull out our secret sauce? Will they be able to dig deep and find something about our organization that is special enough to stand out?
Funny thing about businesses: they’re run by humans. Human relations, human connection and human emotion are not only inescapable but really should be celebrated and acknowledged as the core motivators for most behaviours, good and bad.
As we sat in that boardroom in Toronto and waited to hear whether the agency had really SEEN us. They began reviewing their research by reviewing the calls that they had made to our clients - our beloved, precious clients. They had talked customer experience, quality and even after-sale service. I don’t remember many of the details of their findings three years later, it’s a bit blurry except for one part. The part when the Creative Strategist looked at us and said “what stands out here is that you are who you say you are.”
“YOU ARE WHO YOU SAY YOU ARE.”
They went on with the presentation. They saw us. They got us. They delivered a beautiful new brand. They had written an incredible brand narrative. Everything was perfect!! But I kept coming back to those words:
“YOU ARE WHO YOU SAY YOU ARE.”
She was right. We were who we said we were as a company, without a doubt. But, how would I score myself as a human? Was I the kind of employee that I would SAY that I was? Was I the kind of friend that I would SAY that I was? The kind of mom? The kind of wife?
Not a day has passed since that I haven’t thought of her words. In fact, her words have far extended beyond my personal life (although they guided me through some tough days) and have guided us straight into the work that we do at Marrow every day.
The insight that our clients want to be seen for who they are has guided us to build communications that do just that -that help individuals share what they’re made of; what ALREADY exists within their organization; who they really are in the first place.
The universal truth here is that we all just want to be who we say we are. We all want to be seen for who we really are and the good news is that your clients want to see who you really are, too.
You may have heard me say this once or twice but humans are wired for emotional connection. Your human clients, your human staff, your human self… we are all just walking around on this planet looking for opportunities to be seen, accepted and connected. When you accept this truth, how does that change your messaging? How does that change how you view your buyer persona? What truths does that inspire you to release?