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The Rise Of The Interested

filed in Brand Strategy, Marketing, Success

It doesn’t seem that long ago since a customer would get personal service at a drapery shop even if she was only buying four buttons for the baby cardigan she’d made. A real conversation ensued and colours were carefully matched. By the time money changed hands the assistant knew who the cardigan was for, when the baby was due and how many grandchildren the customer had. In the past, most companies gathered information because they were interested in helping, so they could serve us better. Now we immediately ask for the customer’s email address, we collect data, not out of interest, but often just to leverage it. We’ve allowed efficiency to suck the joy from our work.

Our obsession with optimisation and squeezing the most out of every interaction has led us down the path of knowing the facts, without caring about the stories and the people behind them. I think we’re beginning to realise our mistake. We’re often surprised by what we learn when we express a genuine interest in people. No work was ever worsened because it was carried out with empathy.

Image by Andrew

Navigating Opportunity

filed in Brand Strategy, Success

Have you noticed how different the world feels when you set out on a familiar journey but leave five minutes earlier? You experience things you’d ordinarily miss. You become aware of the subtle change in the light or weight of the clouds. The traffic moves easily through green lights, and the birdsong is louder. You see the tall guy in a blue suit walking his Alsatian before heading to work. Pass the homeless people who haven’t yet tidied themselves away. Cross paths with delivery men arriving at closed cafes, laden with fresh vegetables or warm croissants. People seem unhurried. Their cadence altered by the change in the city’s rhythm.

You’re in the same place, walking the same route and yet the terrain seems entirely new.

It’s possible to view opportunity through a similar lens. When you think you’ve hit a wall on your journey, it may not be time to take an alternative path. Maybe you just need to find a different way to navigate it?

Image by Jes

The Link Between Actions And Outcomes

filed in Brand Strategy, Success

When we set a goal to achieve a particular outcome, we zoom out to consider the big picture. And while a result is dependent on knowing what we’re aiming for, it also requires us to do the things that give us the best chance of accomplishing it. A successful attempt to get fit doesn’t hinge on joining the gym or buying the running shoes. It depends on us setting the alarm and doing up the laces.

What are the three smallest steps you can take today, and every day to get you to where you want to go? Start there—then do up your laces.

Image by Stefano Coroso

Gaining The Advantage

filed in Brand Story, Brand Strategy, Success

This week you answered a customer query and solved her problem. You responded to every email, tweaked your resume and made your case well in the last meeting. You ticked off the things on your to-do list, had a look at your numbers and made solid plans for the weeks ahead. And that’s exactly what your competitors did too.

We spend a lot of our time doing the busy work of trying to gain an advantage in an attempt to compete and win. It turns out that the most sustainable path to significance is to do the things that the competition would never dream of doing—the things that only you would do.

You don’t need to compete when you know who you are.

Image by chat des Balkans

In Praise Of Curiosity

filed in Brand Strategy, Success

Not so long ago conversations with strangers just happened anywhere and everywhere. This was especially true in Dublin where I grew up. It was not unusual for someone you’d never met to practically tell you their life story while you were standing waiting for the 16A bus into the city. Showing an interest in other people, or being what some people might call, ‘nosy’ was part of our Irish DNA. That’s certainly changed the world over.

I’ll never forget the story author, Maeve Binchy once told during an interview, when she was asked where she got her ideas from and why her dialogue so good. She was sitting on a bus one day and overheard a conversation between two friends who were heading into town. One was planning to buy a 25th wedding anniversary card for her parents. “That’s nice.” her friend said. The couple’s daughter made a face. “Not at all, they have a terrible marriage,” she said. “But you know, the worse the marriage, the bigger the card.”

That conversation inspired Binchy to write her bestselling book, Silver Wedding.

Today, eyes down, earbuds in, thumbs scrolling, we are the losers. Our capacity to be interested is diminishing, as a result of our obsession with being interesting. We don’t know what we’re missing.

Image by Toshihiro Gamo

Unlock the magic in your story now.

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