It’s right there. Right over there. You have to see it! For criminy sakes, it’s an elephant! A huge elephant! Am I the only one who sees it? No, I’m the only one who’s willing to admit that it’s there.
You’ve heard the “elephant in the room” expression, most often when the family is gathered for a special event, and everyone pretends that they don’t notice that Uncle Leonard is snockered again, or that Cousin Louise is wailing loudly in the corner. Everyone glances nervously at one another, but if we all keep pretending, maybe nobody else will notice, either.
Companies often do the same thing. Maybe there’s an inherent shortfall in their products, perhaps a competitor has a clear advantage, might be that there’s a reputation problem – but when it comes to planning for marketing, nobody seems to be willing to admit the presence of the elephant, much less confront it.
Know what? You’re not the only ones who are aware that Mr. Elephant is hanging around. The marketplace knows he’s there, too, and sidestepping his presence only perpetuates his existence. Today’s consumer (including consumers of business products and services) appreciates and respects candor. You don’t have to make a big deal about the elephant, but the more you act as though he’s not there, the more attention you’ll draw to his presence. So be bold and speak the plain truth, both internally and externally. You’ll build the trust of everyone involved… and you’ll be amazed as you watch Mr. Elephant shrink to the size of a mouse.