Don’t Be A Narcissist Business

Focus First On What Your Customers Say

Kathryn Law
Kathryn Law
Director of Strategy

Narcissists are people who have an excessive interest in or admiration of themselves. It’s truly exhausting to be around narcissists, and we typically stop listening or choosing to be around them.

Unfortunately, if businesses were people, many businesses would be described as narcissistic.

And…narcissism is bad for business.

I have a challenge for you: do a quick audit on the social media of your favorite brand that you follow and purchase from. How often are they posting THEIR sales, why THEY matter, why you should follow THEM? 

Chances are, they aren’t. Favorite brands become favorite brands because they are for their customers — instead of trying to make their customers for them. 

When this happens, customers are on your side and begin to be “for” you. They give you their loyalty and become your sales force for free.

Scott Cook, co-founder of Intuit and billionaire director of both Procter & Gamble and eBay, put it this way: “A brand is no longer what it tells consumers it is — it is what consumers tell each other it is.”

Two Questions Every Business Should Ask

Jeff Henderson, in his book Know What You’re For, shares that there are two questions you continually have to ask:

1) What do we WANT TO BE known for? (Think of this as a ‘brand promise.’)

2) What ARE we known for? (Think of this as a way to reveal how well you’re delivering on that promise — the Key Performance Indicators.)

He goes on to say, “The first question is what we say; the second question is what the customer says. Within these two questions is the secret to growth. When the answers to these two questions match, growth happens.”

Brands become a movement when the gap between your two answers is the smallest. People who work at businesses where these gaps are smallest see their “job” transition into a “calling” and their customers become friends.

Joey Reiman, author of The Story of Purpose, says, “Purpose is where your company’s distinctive gifts intersect with the needs of this world.”

The greater the gap, the more dysfunction you will see with your staff. You’ll see a dip in sales and inconsistent customer feedback or reviews. You may be quick to think you just need to fix the staff or the sales problem, but that would be fixing the symptom, not the disease.

Emotions Don’t Show Up On A Spreadsheet — Or Do They?…

This may all sound super touchy-feely. And I am going to be honest: I am a touchy-feely person. I don’t shy away from diving deep. I believe the “why” is much more important than the “what” of a business, and I personally purchase almost solely on how a brand makes me feel. 

It’s important to remember that people are emotional beings. Even the most hard-hearted individuals make purchasing decisions based on emotional reasons.

Touchy-feeling is the new frontier, people!

How you make people feel doesn’t necessarily show up on spreadsheets as raw data. You can’t measure happiness the same way you measure revenue. But I promise, if you invest in making your customers matter, happiness will, in fact, show up on your spreadsheets.

Ask Zappos, the shoe company that celebrates the amount of time their customer service spends talking to customers on the phone. You can't hurry real relationships. The result of this strategy for Zappos? $1 billion and counting.

It’s often to people’s detriment when they push away everything that can’t be measured. Running a successful business takes using your gut and trusting your intuition. If Zappos ignored their intuition for the vision of their business, I’m certain their story would have been very different, and so would their bottom line.

When You Become a Fan of the Customer

In a world screaming “follow us!” bluntly all over their marketing, consider choosing to follow your customers. Tell and hear their stories first.

Jeff Henderson says, “When you talk more about the customer than you do the business, the customer talks more about your business.”

When this happens, more often than not, your fans are willing to pay full price, visit your locations and sites more often, and tell every person in their lives about your business.

That, my friends, will show up on your bottom line.

Have you ever read a book and felt the words and concepts ring so true to you that you thought, “Well, if I ever was going to write a book, this person already did it for me?” Know What You’re For by Jeff Henderson was that book for me. Many concepts from this blog were pulled from that book — go check it out!

give me the gist
Contact us if you are interested about non-traditional marketing strategies.

Keep the content coming

Get a steady flow of business know-how delivered right to your inbox.

More from the team