Prudence and the LDRBRND
Cautiousness and discernment will shield us from major mistakes
I never intended this but once the word temperance came up in my mind, other such words started to follow. (We can thank the show Poldark for jogging my mind on these. I highly recommend it too). At first, I didn’t remember what they were called but in my mind I knew there was the flip side of the seven deadly sins. In theology, those concepts are called the 4 cardinal virtues.
I had to do a look up and quickly found them in Wikipedia. They come from Plato and he identified them as essential components of the Christian life. But I like to always think to myself: how can I pull important and foundational ideas like this into marketing?
Well today the idea of prudence is very useful in the modern marketing world. It brings to mind this age old idea that I used to hear from my mom frequently: “if everyone jumped off the Brooklyn bridge, would you do it too?” Being the smart mouth I was at that age (early teens), I remember saying yes. My mother would sigh but deep down I knew she wanted to pop me one (and deservedly so).
But I feel like this has real application to the marketing era we find ourselves in. There is a rush to find the newest and snazziest way to make our marketing stand out from the crowd and create deep resonance with the intended audience. But in that rush, we as marketers may succumb to this idea of winning at all costs. It can come from over excitement. It can come from the pressure to succeed, win, and deliver amazing results for our clients, companies, or brands.
I get it.
We all feel that sense of dread when someone wants proven ROI. They want guarantees where there are none. They want everything to be 10x or 100x and they want it yesterday. We may be tempted to throw prudence out the window during these times.
But that would be a mistake. For that is exactly when it is needed most.
We need to spend the time to discern whether these new marketing tactics will bring us the right results the right way over time. Or will they simply deliver short gains at the expense of harming the brands over the long run.
I think we as LDRBRNDS have to be the ones to stand up and say “Wait a minute! Let’s slow down and think this through to the end. Is this really the right course of action for our brand? We don’t have to rush and we don’t have to follow the crowd over the edge and into lawlessness and inhumanity.”
Imagine the potential disasters we could avoid: legal, financial, and otherwise. By simply moving a little more cautiously.
Of course, I like to also consider the other side of this thought too. There is such a thing as being too cautious. Being frightened to do anything, to take a chance, to take a calculated risk. I’m not a fan of trying to imagine every single possibility or scenario. I don’t want to get bogged down by analysis paralysis. Having a bias to take action is important.
What I am advocating though, is to at least put some thought behind the strategies and tactics we wish to pursue on behalf of our brands. We can avoid a tremendous amount of pain and suffering.
So what should we do in these cases?
A cooling off period certainly would be a wise way to approach this. I hear about this strategy a lot in regards to personal finance. But I think it could be useful here. What if we waited a few days between the time we hear of a potentially novel and blockbuster idea. And the time we want to dig into the idea. Only seems appropriate to me to have time built into the process.
Think of it this way. Have you ever been in a high pressure sales situation? It’s where a (generally unethical) salesperson gives a pitch and then demands a decision to buy on the spot. This focus on closing the deal is an old school selling method. But the reason it has propagated is because it works. The less time we have to consider all the implications the more likely we are to say yes (even if it isn’t exactly right for us). [FYI my rule of thumb is to automatically say no and walk away when people try to pressure me on the spot.]
So we need time to let some of that initial excitement wear off. Then when we are thinking with a level head we can begin to analyze and discern whether this is an appropriate pursuit for our brands.
We need to involve others in the process too. The input from other people who have a different perspective brings us closer to the truth. They have considerations we never dreamed of. There is wisdom in getting council other respected sources, people, and places. Again we can’t do that if we are impatient and ready to implement every new idea at the drop of a hat.
One thing I think is important for what I do and how I make decisions:
Having a bias toward protecting people and treating then like human beings
When I examine marketing strategies, I run them through this lens. Because I see the importance of it now and far into the future. As technology continues to evolve and make things better, faster, and smarter, we will always need people to think about the unintended consequences of what we are doing.
That is leadership
That is building a LDRBRND
I would rather err on the side of caution and humanity versus plowing ahead full steam just to realize results (especially financial). This is an idea that was virtually unheard of in the hay day of big corporate greed. We have been unwinding that over the last decade. We see many more brands being purpose driven and civic minded. The money we make doesn’t create real impact in the world when it is offset by dehumanizing conditions.
Again, considering the other side: I am not saying a business shouldn’t make money. But there is a way to do it ethically and conscientiously. Legacy is the word I like to think of often. What is the world I am leaving behind for my children and grandchildren (maybe even great grandchildren)?
If I’m not applying prudence to the decisions I make in my brand and business (marketing or otherwise), I am setting myself up for failure by embracing tactics that maximize revenue at the expense of others. And I don’t want to do that. That’s not the mark I want to leave in the world.
I want my gravestone to simply say:
He loved God
He loved others
Prudence is definitely a way to achieve that ideal. My actions are deeply rooted in and motivated by love. I want my love to be felt in every one of my actions and dealings. That should shine through the marketing I do. My hope is to spread that idea to other brands to.
LDRBRND is a movement
It’s a chance to stand up and say this isn’t right. We can do better. We can elevate the marketing industry. We can choose to have a bias for humanity. We can choose to be cautious and not jump on every marketing wave.
We can simply say: this isn’t right for me and my brand. We can choose to stand out and attract people to our cause by being leaders with high morals and standards.
We can help each other.
LDRBRND is a community.
It’s a different approach.
It’s a unique way of being.
I’m asking you to come along with me on a journey to create something special and remarkable.
Will you join me?
I’ve been helping leaders become better marketers for over 21 years and would love to help you take the next step in your spiritual leadership journey.