Thursday, March 10, 2005

Confidence Tricks

Today I received an email from a fellow marketing communications professional. He was appalled by the content of my website. It was 'flippant' he said. 'Sure it is' I thought to myself. I made a decision a while back that I was just going to be me. Love me or loathe me, it's who I am. I can't even pretend to be Sam the Eagle (remember Sam the Eagle from the Muppets - all imperious and scowling monobrow?).

When I was younger I guess I conformed, played by the rules that were set by the establishment. So, even though everybody made such a big deal out of 'creativity', I'd have to say there was way too much emphasis on execution and not enough time spend on thinking up new ideas to help clients solve their business problems. Wacky ads were the default, something to hide behind and obscure what was really going down. If I had a gold nugget for every time I heard the old nugget "It's a low interest category" I have me a mess of gold. But, in all honesty there are no 'low interest' categories. Every client has a story to tell. Because I wanted to express myself through my ads it was important for me to push my agenda and be dismissive of everything that didn't inch me towards the awards podium. I should have been listening and figuring out what made my clients tick.

I talked about this in my previous post, so I don't want to labour it again. But experience has given me confidence and I feel confident in myself to be able to express my ideas with a light hearted approach. The language on my web site is first person singular. It is my voice. It's how I speak.

Confidence is a wonderful thing.

So is coincidence.
I was pondering the meaning of confidence and its role in creating The One & Only ™ brand experiences for my book (I wish someone had told how hard it would be to write a book - it is progressing but I keep thinking about new connections and threads...more about that later). Where was I - coincidence: so I am sitting staring at the mobile I have hanging over my desk. I'm wondering about the very human concept of confidence and how it can apply to large companies and brands when my email makes that happy noise to let me know someone in the world has made contact. It is a newsletter from The Wizard of Ads (I love that name!) I enjoy reading their messages because they are thought provoking and usually zip to do with ads - not directly anyway. The topic on this mail:

Confidence - what is it? I kid you not.
The mail introduces me to a cantankerous Jesuit preist Baltasar Gracian who says:

Confidence comes from AUTHORITY

"…and the highest authority is that which rests on an adequate knowledge of things and long experience in different occupations. Master the subject matter and you will come and go with grace and ease and speak with the force of a teacher; for it is easy to master one's listeners if one first masters knowledge. No sort of abstract speculation can give you this authority; only continual practice in one occupation or another. Mastery arrives from an action done often and well... Authority originates in nature and is perfected by art. Those who attain this quality find things already done for them. Superiority itself lends them ease and nothing holds them back: they shine, both in words and deeds, in every situation. Even mediocrity, helped out by authority, has a certain eminence, and a little showiness can make everything come out right."





Keys to confidence:

1. Do your homework.
2. Tell the truth.
3. Be a Little Bit Showy.

So what gives me permission to be myself.

I am well versed in what I do.
I believe the truth sets us free.
I can't see the point of boring you with endless facts and balanced arguments. Their are no 'facts' only points of view - perceptions and, if you torture statistics for long enough they will confess to anything.
I may as well share my perceptions with you - however skewed (by experience, knowledge and preferences).

There's nothing else for it.

To the chap who got this ball of thought rolling - Thanks, I'm sorry if I don't communicate like you, it's just that I am NOT you.

But you go right ahead...

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