Shut The Hell Up You Self-Promoting Turd

Chris Brogan in a nifty shirt“With our award-winning process designed to meet your business needs, we feel confident that you’ll love our forward-thinking solution.”

What? Shut up! Just stop it. I don’t know why we have to revisit the lesson, but let’s do it, just to be clear: everything you know about a nice dinner party applies to all business communication. Here’s one: your host, unless he’s a true asshole, doesn’t spend the entire dinner talking about himself. (see also, that guy.)

You want to promote your company? Get out there and empower people. When I was an aspiring high school garage band guitarist, I’d read every article by my favorite bands. If Eddie Van Halen or James Hetfield or Chuck D was using a piece of equipment, I’d think, “That’s how they sound so amazing,” and I’d make a note of that as something I might want to save for.

No company could pay for the kind of bond my eyes made between the musician and his tools.

I was a big Dungeons and Dragons guy in high school (in other words, a loser). My friends and I would make epic storytelling happen four or five times a week in my basement. There was no ad TSR could have made that would have sold us on why their stuff was better than some other game. We already knew. Because they’d empowered us to be the masters of our own destiny.

Here’s a truth: If you have to tell me you’re the best, you’re not. If you have to write that you’ve got an award-winning something, you’re worried that I don’t know you have game. If you’re selling the best whatever-it-is in the world, stop talking about it. Start telling me how I can use it to make me into a superstar.

The best, most magical thing that can ever happen in marketing is catching your customers bragging it up about you. Give them the mic, dammit. Give them the stage. Make them the center of your damned world, not your stupid “drive yourself to Maui” user-generated video contest.

Believe me: you have been granted the very best tools in the whole damned world to both discover who’s bragging about your company, and then to give them the stage. Do it. Stop your own internal promotions.

Oh, and if no one’s raving about you, that might be another problem entirely.

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