Show Me, Don’t Tell Me
Recently we had a “kick-off” meeting with a new client. Consistently these are highly productive meetings with the client’s leadership team. We deep dive into each individual’s responsibilities and their role in advancing the vision of the company. This is one of those rare times where, if you pay close attention to the details, you can get a really good glimpse of whether an organization looks at marketing as a culture or merely a department.
The answer to that question tells us how smooth the sailing will be as we navigate a company to a relevantly differentiated position in the marketplace. Inevitably, if marketing is perceived as a department the road will be long, steep and rocky. If it is a culture, the speed in which value is derived from our partnership is exponential.
So, what are some of the telltale signs that give us a glimpse into an organization’s cultural perspective on marketing?
First, a brief on our new client and the business they’re in: Biologics, Inc. serves people who are battling cancer. While their focus is squarely on the person fighting cancer, the value they deliver is realized by a variety of organizations across the development and delivery of healthcare, from pharma companies to clinical research organizations, and from payors to clinicians. They are in the service business, that’s how they market themselves and they live it.
Every time we call a live person answers the phone – a vital element the entire leadership team believes in. The facility is thoughtfully designed to set the tone for employees who play an important role in serving those fighting “the Big C.” While a patient will likely never physically pass through their doors, the earth tone color palette, use of visually calming art and natural décor is peaceful, calming and down-to-earth.
In all my years of meet-and-greats, kick-offs and miscellaneous meetings, I’m amazed at how common courtesies have become so uncommon. When we arrived at Biologics, I was pleasantly surprised. We were kindly greeted by the receptionist and escorted to the meeting room. As each person arrived, they took the initiative to introduce themselves as if we were visiting their home. The meeting started and finished on time and not once did I witness the diversion of a smart phone. Not surprisingly, as the leadership team members presented their roles and responsibilities it further substantiated our experience. While it’s nice to hear it, often it’s these nonverbal cues that give you the most clarity into an organization’s culture. And again, they get it.
What does your company do? What’s the promise of your brand? How do you show it so you don’t have to tell it?