Most will have an opinion about Caitlyn Jenner. Many will have changed their opinion if they watched her series and learnt more about her. Love her, hate her, or have total indifference toward her, there is a lot we can learn from her in the world of Marketing and PR.
1. We need to learn to love ourselves before we can show ourselves to others
Just as Caitlyn had to learn to love herself before she could be her true self, we need to get our business in order and be confident about our proposition before we take it to our clients. Sometimes we’ll need to develop and change as we listen to feedback. But there is nothing more attractive to a client – or that will attract a client more – than belief in our product, our brand, our company. Love yourself.
The world of financial services and employee benefits can be quiet about what they stand for, new developments they’re making, opinions about the direction of the industry. Fear of competitor advantage can hold us back. But others won’t have the vision that we have, even if they know our headlines. Those that are proud of what they stand for, and make that stand, will be the first to win credibility, trust and clients. And that’s real competitive advantage.
2. Be true to ourselves
Caitlyn is learning to be confident in who she is, and this is just as important in Marketing and PR. Trying to be all things to all people is confusing for others, and compromises ourselves. Yes, some may criticise us, some may not like what we have to offer, and we may not be right for everyone. But when we’re true to ourselves people know where they stand with us. We have integrity. We engender trust. As a company you need to be confident to put your stake in the ground, make a stand for what you believe in and go for it hell for leather.
First Direct scores consistently highly in customer service. It doesn’t follow the crowd by having high-street branches, overseas call centres or the dreaded call-options when you phone them. They know what they are, and their clients do too. And that reaps dividends.
3. Find our own identity
Caitlyn is finding out who she is, and companies, like people, evolve over time. It’s important to welcome that change and adapt to your environment and the ever-changing needs of a discerning client. But at every stage it’s important to have a clear identity. Those companies that are clear about what they stand for, take their clients with them.
The world of financial services and employee benefits has never seen so many mergers and acquisitions. Those that are quick to find their identity will be the strongest survivors.
4. Tell the world what we are
It’s taken courage for Caitlyn to let the world know who she is. Don’t hide your light under a bushel. Publicise, advertise, promote, talk, shout, discuss, debate, tell everyone what you do, who you are, how you can help. All markets are competitive and you need to let people know what you do.
Boy, is it tempting to hold back Marketing and PR budgets. Word of mouth and recommendation is always the strongest way to win new clients. But we will do well to remember that people need to feel confident in recommending us in the first place. Those companies that have a profile, a reputation and are well known are more likely to be recommended than those that no one has heard of, however good they are.
5. Look after those closest
Caitlyn’s worked hard to look after her family and close friends and take them with her. This is a good lesson in brand building. Look after the people in your life. Your clients, your staff, your suppliers. The most successful companies are those that build positive relationships with everyone they come into contact with. A brand isn’t built by just looking after clients, but all those you work with.
There are some financial services and employee benefits companies that frequently appear in The Best Companies to Work for lists. These are the ones that don’t have trouble recruiting and retaining the best talent. These are the ones that are likely to get the best deals from their suppliers. These are the ones that win clients more easily. It makes good business sense to be nice to people.
We can learn a lot in Marketing and PR from Caitlyn Jenner and how she’s managed her evolution. Sometimes contentious, the journey isn’t always easy, but fortune favours the brave and those that make a stand for what they believe in will be the real winners.