You Can’t Handle The Truth
Mar 26 2009
Brian Clark at Copyblogger did a post recently called How to Tell the Truth that was just spot on. I LOVED it because it is so true. It’s a short post and I was trying to think about how to summarize it, but I just can’t because it’s so perfect. So I hope Brian doesn’t get upset with me for quoting it verbatim here:
“Everyone wants the truth, right?
Ask your spouse or your boss or your employees or your customers… they’ll tell you all they want is the truth.
But that’s a lie.
We hate the truth. Our reaction to real truth is hostility and fear.
Do we really want to hear the truth about why we’re fat, or why we’re broke, or why our kids are under-achieving? Tough stuff to process for most.
And yet telling the simple raw truth is one of the most effective attention and persuasion tactics available. Especially these days, with people sick to death of being lied to and betrayed.
But if people reject what you say, truth or not, you’re back where you started.
Guys like Buddha and Jesus had this problem.
The solution remains the same.
Tell a story.”
I sent the post to my friend, Robb Lanum (a screen writer), and he liked it too and added “Don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story.”
My big problem is that I have a tendency to tell the truth good or bad, and I don’t always have a great story behind it. It usually turns out great if the truth is good (e.g., our product is awesome and will save your life, you look great, you did a fabulous job) but if the truth is not so good (e.g., our product is good but you need to have xyz to make it work, I screwed up, you screwed up) it’s hard to recover. Sometimes I wish I could keep my mouth shut but fear, Southern Baptist guilt, and feeling like I should do and say the right thing (because I would want to hear the truth) usually overcome me. A strong conscience sucks to deal with sometimes, but I selfishly hope my kids inherit it without having to feel the hell, fire, and brimstone in their minds!
This is probably one of the reasons why I’ll never be a great classical marketer. As Seth Godin recently wrote in a post called Is Marketing Evil?, the best marketers know how to create a great story about their companies and products and then they know how to get it out to the universe (usually with a reasonable budget!). He ends the post with:
“Just because you can market something doesn’t mean you should. You’ve got the power, so you’re responsible, regardless of what your boss tells you to do.
The good news is that I’m not in charge of what’s evil and what’s not. You, your customers and their neighbors are. The even better news is that ethical, public marketing will eventually defeat the kind that depends on the shadows. Just ask Bernie Madoff.”
So ‘eventually‘ with any luck my tendency to tell the truth will keep me out of jail. Now I just have to learn how to spin a fairytale captivating story! Here’s a video clip of “A Few Good Men” starring Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson that shows how most people can’t handle the truth…most notably the one (Jack) telling the truth:Author: Aruni | Filed under: marketing | Tags: brian clark, copyblogger, marketing, seth godin, telling the truth | 2 Comments »