Top of Mind Thursday Memo Archive

Top of Mind Thursday May 24, 2018: The Royal Treatment

Top of Mind Thursday

Last weekend, the attention of much of the world was focused on Windsor, England, where Britain’s Prince Harry wed American actress Meghan Markle in a much-anticipated televised extravaganza.
 

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The Harry-Meghan romance has captured the hearts and minds of people on both sides of the Atlantic. An heir to the British throne marrying a divorced American actress who is actually several years older than him. Reminders of the short and tragic life of Harry’s mother, Princess Diana. A ceremony that mixed British royal tradition with touches of Meghan’s bi-racial American heritage.

 

A descendant of slaves marrying the descendant of the monarch who may have once sold her ancestors into slavery? The Royal Family appears to have accepted Meghan whole-heartedly into their fold–regardless of her heritage.

 

Yet, on this side of the pond, England’s former colony is still struggling with how to handle those same descendants of slaves. While Meghan marries into royalty, Blacks in America are subject to interrogation and arrest for waiting in Starbucks, shopping in Nordstroms, renting an AirBnB, and even sleeping in their own Yale college dormitory.

 

What’s wrong with this picture? Maybe it’s time we took a cue from our former colonizers and start accepting people for who they are, rather than focus on the color of their skin, religion, sexual preference, or ethnic background. If the Queen of England can do it, why can’t we?

 

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Top of Mind Thursday May 17, 2018: Uncivil Actions

Top of Mind Thursday

There’s been much attention directed at a White House aide who made a nasty comment about ailing Senator John McCain recently (“we don’t have to consider his input–he’s dying anyway!”).
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The White House communications staff appears to be focused on the fact that this comment leaked–trying to find the leaker and stop future leaks–rather than acknowledging this was inappropriate and offering a formal apology.

 

This is not just a Trump administration problem, or even a Washington-based problem. This type of incivility shows up more and more in all walks of life. We now have people practically screaming profanities at others on social media, and we see similar inappropriate behavior in everyday face-to-face interactions.

 

Let me remind you of one of my cardinal rules: Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
 
Technology allows us to say and do things we might never have considered just a few years ago. The current polarization in political views has translated into the feeling we have carte blanche to attack everyone who disagrees with us, rather than just their point of view.

 

None of this does any of us any good. It makes us all look mean and petty. Try instead to imagine yourself on the receiving end of what you’re sending. If you wouldn’t like to receive it, then don’t send it. And if something inappropriate does get out, apologize quickly and move on.

 

It’s the more civil thing to do.

 

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Top of Mind Thursday May 10, 2018: Sorry for All the Apologies

Top of Mind Thursday

While watching the NBA Playoffs this week, I saw two ads in a row that were dedicatsed to apologies.

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The first, from Facebook, told us we should go back to the early days when people went to the site to find and interact with friends. Then they apologized for losing their way over the last few years, including fake news and selling data in appropriately.

The second was from Wells Fargo, who invoked their proud heritage and apologized for losing their way. They talked about how they’ve been rededicated in 2018 and eliminated the behaviors causing the problems.

Admitting you’re wrong is a step in the right directions. (It beats CA utility PG&E, who ran ads singing their own praises after the deadly San Bruno fire–until a federal judge required them to use their ad budget to publicly acknowledge their errors and talk about changes being made.

But apologizing only goes so far. If you’ve really changed your behavior, show us what you’re doing differently, and do it again and again until the behavior becomes permanent practice.

Until then, don’t expect us to forgive and forget when you apologize. Sorry.

 

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Top of Mind Thursday April 26, 2018: Please Love Me Less Often

Top of Mind Thursday

As marketers, we think we know what our customers want from us–and it obviously must be more attention.

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Why else would businesses send us email updates on a daily basis? Or mail us sales material for products or promotions we’ve never purchased before and are highly unlikely to buy in the future?

 

Some companies remind us it’s time to renew, refill, or reorder. That can be helpful–but not when it occurs so often it begins to feel like stalking.
My least favorite example is the doctor who reminds me of my upcoming appointment by emailing me, texting me, and leaving me voicemail. Thanks for the reminder, but that’s 3x too much.

 

How do you know what works for your customers? It’s quite simple. Just ask them. Let them specify how they want to be contacted and the frequency. Then pay attention, and actually do what they’ve asked.

 

Why is this so important?  Because the next step after telling you to love me less often is to tell you not to love me at all–because I’ve gone to someone less intrusive.

 

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linda@popky.com
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