When should you care what other people think?

When should you care what other people think?

My friend and long-time collaborator @getnance (aka Nancy Hellmrich) sent me an article from The New York Times last week. It explored the topic of “Other People’s Views” – bringing it down to a great question:

“When should you care about what other people think and when should you not?”

For many people, brand is all about what other people think (for the record I’m not one of them). Perception is reality, or so they say, but that’s a different blog. What the customer wants is “king” and a strong “Net Promoter Score” the holy grail. Good word of mouth the only marketing advantage left.

And while that’s all fine and dandy, it fails to account for the real nuance that lives in the answer to the question – there is no ‘you should always care’, or ‘you should never care’, answer to that question.

Here are a few things that will have completely different answers to that question:

  • Should you get opinions before you quit your job to start your own business?
  • Should you listen to an unhappy customer more than a happy customer?
  • Should you ask your staff or other team members how they think things are going?

(From my perspective the answers to the above would be no, depends, yes.)

So while there is no single answer to the question, here’s a general set of rules that I use that might work for you.

When looking at ‘why’ you are doing something, your purpose and the vision you have for it, what other people think falls into the ‘interesting, but not especially helpful’ category.

When you’re looking at whether your ‘what’ and ‘how’ will hit a spot with people who you want to buy it, what other people think takes on more importance (unless you’re Steve Jobs then refer to the point above). After all, if they don’t care about it and won’t buy it then all that ‘why’ passion will be for naught.

When you’re getting feedback on how you did keeping your promises, what other people think is very important. They are the ones that know whether you did (keep your promise) or not and getting their perspective (and listening to it) can help you do better as you build your brand.

There’s a time to care what others think and a time to plough ahead, not ignoring the “brutal facts of reality” but having “faith that you will prevail”.

See you next week.

Michel is an independent brand advocate dedicated to helping organisations make promises they can keep and keep the promises they make – with a strong, resilient organisation as the result. She also publishes a blog at michelhogan.com. You can follow Michel on Twitter @michelhogan


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