On why being nice is not enough
Lately I've been struck by the number of utterly wonderful and clever people we speak to who feel dispirited that despite trying their very best, they're not getting ahead.
We've been there. I held a firm belief that if you simply worked really hard and were nice to people, you'd get along just fine. And in many ways, that's true - there's rarely a reason not to be kind - and being nice certainly opens more doors than being an a**hole does.
The truth of it, though, is that being nice isn't enough. It's not memorable, it's not compelling and it's not a big enough reason for your customers to choose you over your competitor.
I've noticed that those who are truly spectacular at what they do so often suffer with a gaping chasm in their skill at what they do and their ability to present their business in a way which reflects the true extent of their talents. There are stacks of people out there who could be earning more money and running their business more easily if only they sharpened their message, grew their confidence and were able to articulately express the reasons why their business is so brilliant. Because if you combine a killer offering with a genuine desire to do your best then you've really got something raving about.
I remember conducting a survey several years back to try and gauge why customers were hiring Ditto instead of our competition. For perspective, the business was very different back then (you can read more about our evolution here), and we had competitors literally on our doorstep. I was mortified to hear that the biggest reasons why people hired us was 'because you're nice people and you don't charge too much'. Isn't that dreadful?! It says nothing about our expertise, our skill or the things we do better than anyone else. And no surprise, really - we hadn't given our clients enough of a reason to love us. Being nice was not enough.
So, we got really honest ourselves about where our talents are, and what we specialise in. We rebranded. And we started telling that story, consistently, confidently, passionately.
Fast forward to today and we have clients coming to us from across the UK (and passing several agencies whose fees are lower than ours on the way) because they know that we're the only agency that can deliver the combination of business savvy and design style that'll put them on the map. We're still really, really lovely to the people we work with. But we're also so much more.
Nice is fine. But it's too modest and far too small a word for what you do.