by Guest Blogger, Lena West, Chief of Social Media Strategy at xynoMedia
I'm baaaack! :)
When things come up again and again, I have to believe that I'm not the only one experiencing it and so I write or speak about it in hopes to develop some sort of dialogue about the topic. This topic is particularly sinister, however.
Something happens when you start a business - people start to treat you differently. And, once that business becomes successful, people make oddball requests...and by oddball, I mean requests that ask you to lie on their behalf.
Oh, don't be fooled...they don't outright *ask* you to lie, they couch the request in a much more positive light. I believe PR folks call it "spin"? Let me provide you with some examples so that you'll be able to identify these requests when they come your way:
- A "friend" whom I hadn't heard from in *months* called me to ask if I could provide a work reference for her nephew. Now, I knew her nephew, but he had never worked for me in any capacity -- not even stuffing envelopes (is that still done anymore?) I asked her if she meant a character reference (since that was the only reference I could possibly give on his behalf) and her reply was: "Right, a character reference...that would be the only one you could give since he didn't work for you." My reply, "Yep." I told her that I was willing to provide a character reference if he called me and asked me himself (I believe youth should be empowered to ask for what they need as opposed to some adult always being their mouth piece). I never heard from her - or her nephew - again.
- A "friend" who was in the job market called and asked if I could provide her with a work reference. She, too, had never worked for me. Turned out, my company needed her help with some work so she was able to do the work and I was able to provide the reference, but she fully expected me to provide the reference without her doing the work first.
Here's the *really* odd thing about the two above scenarios: when I received the request from the person in example B, I asked advice of the person in example A and she said that I shouldn't do it because that would be lying -- but she then turned right around and made the same request for her nephew a few weeks later!!
The reframe of all these "requests" is that I am fortunate. Huh??? Well, I look at these requests as my having the ability, on quite a regular basis, to recommit to my values and show the Universe that I operate from a base of truth. Or, as Suze Orman says, "Say no out of love rather than yes out of fear."
What does this mean for your company and its marketing? Under the premise of how you do anything is how you do everything, the thought is twofold:
- If you lie about these seemingly small things, you send the message to that person, yourself and the Universe that you're willing to be untruthful about any number of things.
- It will come out that you lied. In this social media enabled world, it will come up. It could be that the very person you "helped" gets mad at you one day and decides to pen a blog post about how you helped them to lie. I don't know, but I do know what my Grandmother always told me, "What you do in the dark, will always come to light." (She also said, "If you lie, you'll steal.")
Think about it. If it came out, how would that make you look? Your company? People would think, if you lied about that, what else did you lie about? Maybe your products aren't 100% organic? Maybe you really *did* get that email when you said you didn't? Maybe that invoice "error" wasn't accidental?
Everything is marketing.