Thursday, July 8, 2010

Do what you say

Mitch Joel wrote a great blog post recently about why more brands don't market products that simply do what they are supposed to do.  I liked it because it said so many things that I have been thinking about recently and so I commented on it.

In fact, it was such a good post that I was even thinking about it last night as I was walking down to Ottawa Bluesfest but in a broader context: what if weren't talking about brands, what if we were talking about people.

If we were forced by some magical law of physics to do everything we said we'd do, how much better of a place would the world be?  If this magical law applied to everyone, then wouldn't that mean that every marketer would have to deliver on the promises they make on behalf of the brands they manage?

Personally, I think integrity is one of the most important qualities a person can have and I wonder why more people don't make this a priority for the brands they manage.  I suppose that some of the reasons why people don't are:
  • They don't care because their job is only a paycheck anyways.
  • The company is not configured to provide integrity.
  • Even if they wanted to act with integrity.
This lead me to look up what integrity means and according to Wikipedia (which is a terrible source but I'll use it anyways) is

Integrity is a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations and outcomes.

Interesting.  The entry goes on to say that in western culture, it has come to mean the opposite of hypocrisy and many of the other secondary meanings we have given it but my point here is that I think it is hard for people to act with integrity because we live in a world that changes and because of that, we are constantly changing.  

I might agree to play in a tennis tournament today because I feel like playing tennis but as the weekend draws closer and I see that the weather is going to be really hot, I might change my mind.  I might be nice to my customers today because I'm in a good mood but tomorrow I will be tired and cranky.  I might think that I am marketing the greatest widget in the world but tomorrow I realize that it's no different than anything else out there.

In the end, I think that both people and the brands they manage need to understand that integrity is important.  Much like trust, it takes a long time to build and only a short time to destroy.  I have always said that you need to live your life in the way you want people to remember you when you're gone.  

The real question then becomes, what do want written on your gravestone?

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1 comment:

Geoff said...

Excellent commentary - and one that should be required reading for every first day job orientation.

Have you seen this one from @lisalarter

One thing here where I would disagree with the masses on wikipedia - where I come from integrity is a synonym for honesty.

Consistency of values does not capture it for me, as many people do not necessarily honour the value of honesty. They can be entirely reliable in their consistent application of dishonesty!

I would describe an individual with integrity as being honest and reliable.