Have you ever sat down to what you thought would be a simple conversation only to end up disappointed by the outcome?
I have experienced this situation with both professionals and in personal relationships until one day, I finally figured out what was happening.
To help you understand, let me tell you a short story.
When my youngest daughter was in middle school, one of her teachers came to me with concerns that my daughter openly expressed an interest in some music that some of the other kids found offensive. On more than one occasion, the teacher interrupted loud disagreements or unkind behavior being exchanged based on what my daughter was discussing, so her teacher came to me looking for help in addressing the matter at home.
Turns out, my 10-year-old daughter had a newfound interest in what I call “screamo” music because the screaming was all my brain could comprehend. To my ears, it was a very angry person, screaming words to some sort of tune. Curious, I asked her to help me understand what she found so interesting about it. To my surprise, she explained, “It was the lyrics, Mom. They’re not really mean or saying bad things, they just sound angry.” Still curious, I asked her, “How can you tell what they are saying?”
She went on to tell me that she too could not understand what was being said at first, but it was her own curiosity that inspired her to look-up the lyrics of the song online. Intrigued, I asked her to show me. What she showed me was generally a story about a young man who recently lost his grandfather and he was sad. She further explained that she believed that his “screaming” the lyrics was so that his grandfather could hear him all the way in Heaven. According to the song, he wished he could tell his Grandpa how his life inspired him and that he hoped he was looking down from Heaven and was proud of him. She was so touched by his story she started looking at the other songs from this artist and a couple of others, only to find similar messages. From them so openly sharing their raw life experiences in their songs, she felt a stronger appreciation for them and didn’t really notice the irritating scream that I focused upon. She simply felt that “screaming” their message helped them feel better and that encouraged her to want to support them and share their music with others. But because others couldn’t get past the “scream” concept, it created a conflict she didn’t expect.
How Truly Listening Broadens Your Perspective
Allowing myself to be truly present and really trying to understand my daughter’s perspective, I had a series of discoveries from our conversation.
1) A Change in Emotion. I experienced a rapid reduction in fear and an increase in pride for how my daughter was actually teaching me a lesson.
2) A Lesson on Impact of the Right Distribution Channel to Capture Attention. This young man’s approach of screaming the song was simply his choice of delivering his message, like some brands who use PPC advertising over content marketing.
3) How Our Own Perceptions Impact the Message. There was clearly some mental blocks coming from the perception of “screaming” music. Like my daughter’s friends, they nor I failed to fully understand the value of the message in the song because our interpretation was blocked by their ability to get past the “screaming”.
4) Sometimes Success Comes from a Different Approach. So many brands get stuck in conversational ruts. We have gotten used to shortened words, acronyms, and speaking with emoji’s that the true meaning of a conversation has gotten lost. Sometimes it takes spending a little extra time in telling a story – as my daughter did with me – to truly make a connection.
How Does This Story Relate to Your Business?
Every day, we have conversations from the perspective of standing within our own shoes, based on the images rolling through our own mind, our own experience, and our own subconscious emotional triggers. What ends up happening is that our conversations are generated through a filter of what we want or expect to see happen as the next step of the conversation instead of focusing our thoughts on truly listening to what the person has to say or seeing things from their perspective.
When it comes to marketing, I have all too often witnessed brands fail to see their audience’s true motivation in making a purchase and do what is necessary to help them make an emotional connection to their offering. Brands tend to get lost when they place too much focus on reaching their own goals or mindless execution just to have a presence in a newsfeed. Some have spent thousands on the concept of advertisements only to be kept under a spell of endless keyword suggestions and the open-ended hope for a click with pay-per-click ads. It makes me wonder who is really in control of the conversations about your brand? Actual humans, who seek connection and engagement, or the computer programs we have come to rely upon to deliver a message?
Before you answer that question, I’ll ask you to keep in mind – it was the innocence of a 10-year-old child who noticed a difference in how a message was delivered and truly made the effort to seek out a human connection, took the time to listen and established brand loyalty based on a personal story. This, my friends, is the purest example of marketing loyalty and what each business in today’s market should aspire to achieve.
I can help with that. Use the CONTACT FORM to schedule a time to connect. I’d love to learn more about you and your business.