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Don’t Walk Into the Blue Light

Don't Walk Into the Blue Light

Marketing truths & the blue lightA while back, I was working with a start-up client who had a great product, engaging personality, amazing vision, a far-reaching business network and (seemingly) bottomless buckets of money. Doesn’t get much better than that. Or so I thought!

Things went well for a few months. The marketing plan was in place and working. New business was coming in. Sales were increasing at a faster pace than we anticipated. My bubbly energetic client was happy. And so was I. As a marketing consultant, you can’t ask for much more than this…a smart, insightful clients who appreciated the positive impact of your work.

We had about a year of success, far exceeding our business goals and were becoming a ‘force to be reckoned with’ in the industry. I was spending so much time with them that I soon had an office, an Acting VP of Marketing title and was embedded in their organization. But, this isn’t a fairy tale and there’s no happy ending.

One lovely spring day, I was working away on their new business plan, armed with the confidence of our past success. I heard an unusually loud conversation at the reception desk that was peppered with “You can’t do that” and “Yes we can”. I soon discovered that the company from whom we purchased our beautiful new Herman Miller office furniture was now repossessing the furniture. Although we were able to stall them, a few days later, the dozen or so 40” display monitors scattered throughout the offices were repossessed. It was disturbing, but I’d been told that they were financially stable, so I wasn’t too concerned. In fact, I’d worked on a few of the investor pitches and knew we had secured enough to fund us for quite a while.

My rude awakening occurred when I finally got in touch with the CEO. Although we raised millions, he spent more. He felt we (he?) needed to appear far more successful than we were to get the really big investors. After all, no one wants to invest in a struggling company. And then came the lesson that I’ve learned NOT to follow.

“If they want you in a blue suit, turn on a blue light.”

In other words, be who they want you to be.  Who you really are is your truth. That applies to your personal life and your business. You can create a new truth, but turning on the “blue light” doesn’t work. Sooner or later, the electricity goes out and you’re standing there naked and cold.

The truth of your business is your brand and it has the power to make or break you.  Don’t claim to be technologically superior if you’re not. Don’t shout about your product’s exceptional performance if it’s just like all of the others in the market.  If your business isn’t what you want it to be, CHANGE IT. You can transform your business. But, whatever you do, don’t walk into the “blue light”.

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Working with Susan was an absolute pleasure. She is an astute marketer who had an unerring sense of her brand’s DNA and worked with us to ensure that the programs we created and executed together delivered against our common goals and objectives. As a brand steward and marketing partner she was about the best I have worked with.

-B. GinsbergRainmaker/ Director/ Growth CatalystEmanate

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We are marketing consultants based on Long Island, NY. Over the past 20 years, we've built fierce market leaders in a broad range of businesses - from tiny start-ups to global Fortune 500 companies.  Our experience spans multiple industries from consumer electronics to financial services and from food services to photo.  We're looking forward to talking to you to see how we can help take your business to the next level.