I fell right on my ass earlier this week. There really is no eloquent way to say it. I was in a rush, running errands to make sure that I had everything I needed for my business trip the next day. I spent the whole day praying that I did not slip on the ice in NYC, remembering the time when I was twelve and did a backflip and landed right on my head. Then, as I was rounding the corner to my apartment, I went up in the air and fell right on my back. My hood was up, so all I could see was a sea of businessmen’s black dress shoes stopped around me. I literally could not move, in an overwhelming amount of pain and slightly in shock that I somehow ended up on the ground in the middle of one of the busiest walking intersections in my neighborhood. Then I saw one of the pairs of feet walk towards me, and thought “Oh, shit. This is bad.” Then I saw a pair of knees, and then the face of a lovely man who bent down to help me. He asked if I was alright, as he helped me up. I said yes, utterly embarrased. He asked if I was sure, as if he knew something about my fall that I didn’t. I assured him I was fine, and waddled down the block to my apartment.
An hour later, shooting pain started going from my back, down my right leg and into my foot. That was followed by a sharp pain across my entire back. After a conference call with my parents, I realized my fall was a bit worse than I thought, and ended up at urgent care.
Lesson? That lovely stranger did, indeed, know something about my fall that I didn’t. As an observer, he had seen just how hard I had fallen, and knew that it was not just a casual slip. While I was in shock from the fact that I somehow had ended up on the ground with a circle of New Yorkers staring down at me, he had tried to infer that it was a worse fall than I thought. Fortunately, I came to that conclusion within hours of the fall, but I could have been at urgent care a hell of a lot sooner if I had just realized what he did at the beginning.
The fact is, some people have a different perspective than we do on matters that are close to us, and it’s important that we realize their different perspective could be valuable to the decisions we are making in our lives. Not gonna lie, my ego was a bit bruised after falling in front of so many people during rush hour. I was so embarrassed of my vulnerability, that I didn’t want to believe the guy that took time out of his day to help me. I didn’t want to face that the fall was more than just a slip.
I think that happens to us a lot on social media. Reaching hundreds of people in our community, we forget that each person brings their own perspective to the conversation. Someone might be able to see something about your brand, that you can’t possibly recognize being so subjective to it. It’s important to put away your ego long enough to realize that someone might be just trying to help your brand recognize something so you can operate better in the future. I think it’s easy for a brand to believe it knows itself best, and take its customers opinions on social not seriously. While you probably do know your brand best on most levels, there are parts of your brand only a third party observer can see.
Take some time this week to read comments about your brand a little closer. Are people pointing out things that are an easy fix for you? Are they realizing things that you missed because you are too close to the brand?
Throw your ego away and allow customers to help you help your brand. Not every customer’s comment is a complaint → some are simply constructive criticism. Let your customers do some of you work for you, and listen to their concerns. You never know how one of their insights might help your brand, and save you some time at urgent care 😉
– Marji J. Sherman