Is your brand trying to snag a sucker?

When I was in the earliest years of my career, I was given a poster titled, “The Lures of Advertising”. It had pictures of fishing lures that each represented the “tricks” and advertising agency used. Hard-sell, jingles, etc. The gift giver assumed I would find it clever since I had just started working in an agency. It was a nicely designed poster. But I could never bring myself to frame it. I would unroll it every once in awhile, but then roll it back up.

It made me feel a little guilty. After all, it was a gift. At the time, I thought, “Why is it hard for me to do anything but store it in a poster tube in the closet?"

Now years later, I know what it was.

Snag a sucker?

By it’s very nature, a lure is about trickery. It’s imitating the real thing. And trying to do it well enough to snag a sucker.

That wasn’t how I did business. I didn’t want to fool anyone. I didn’t want to trick somebody into making a buying decision. That just seemed sleazy. Dishonest.

Rather, I wanted to know everything there was to know about who I was trying to reach. Sure I wanted to know their needs and wants. But I also wanted to know their troubles and fears. I wanted to know their hopes and aspirations.

I couldn’t articulate it very well early in my career, but now I know what I was trying to do. I was trying to find real and authentic ways I could help them. That’s how I viewed my job. To help somebody feel less anxiety. To feel a little more confident. And to make a decision that was right for them.

“Lures” just didn’t fit into that way of thinking.

Your brand can do better by doing good

Today, I have a good bit of clarity that comes with doing this for over three decades. I know that the way forward for any brand starts by defining its purpose. That purpose declares how the brand will make a difference in a life, a community, or even the world.

That purpose is then brought to life by delivering great help to do what I knew was right decades ago. I wrote about this recently in a post titled, “The most powerful purpose-driven strategy? Helping.

Imagine your organization bringing your purpose to life by delivering great help. Imagine the delight your prospects and customers would experience – suddenly being delivered what they need. And when they need it. Imagine it. Doing good and doing better.

We can do both. Make meaning and money. Purpose and profit. Leading brands are proving it. It takes a servant’s heart. A real desire to help.

That is a power that lures can’t match. But if you still think your brand can trick somebody, go ahead. I guarantee the only sucker you will be fooling is yourself.