Advertising & Authenticity
Who are we? What do we believe? What are we going to do about it?
Leo Burnett was an American advertising executive and the founder of Leo Burnett Company, Inc. He was responsible for creating some of advertising’s most well-known characters and campaigns of the 20th century, including Kellogg’s Tony the Tiger, United’s “Fly the Friendly Skies”, and Allstate’s “Good Hands”. In 1999, Burnett was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.
Leo Burnett believed that every company should ask themselves those questions, which still apply today. The answers help businesses distill their understanding of identity, values, and intention – in other words, culture. Leo understood that “the work of [an advertising] agency is warmly and immediately human.” This human-centric statement resonates with me because I believe that few industries are more engaged in the lifecycle of humanity than those in the multifamily industry.
The Impact of Culture
The Multifamily Collective is filled with content that credits culture as the most significant source of influence. The common language of shared culture is powerful. Entire countries, religions, and generations are grounded in shared beliefs, values, and practices that coalesce to form their culture. A company’s culture is the most important factor in determining its long-term success. An organization that holds itself accountable to behaviors that are in genuine alignment with its published core values earns the trust and loyalty of its workforce.
In all areas of life – personal, social, and professional – people are hungry for authenticity. Culture in word but not in deed is false and quickly fails the authenticity test. Depending on the source, reports show that consumers receive more than 5,000 attempts every day to influence their decisions. Targeted ads on Google, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and even Waze recognize where you are and what your online behavior trends indicate, then use that information to make suggestions for you. Paid. Targeted. “Suggestions.”
Influencers are engaged in the business of influencing. In 2020, successful influencers earned around $1,000 on average per post depending on their statistics – reach, engagement, etc. When a person on social media posts authentic content about their life, passions, creative work, family, travels, etc., followers find it engaging and believable, and they develop a relationship with the person behind the content. When that same person shares an ad as though it were a legitimate lifestyle post, the consumer senses the difference immediately. The change in tone is jarring, and the content no longer feels honest. It weakens the relationship.
With all the digital noise and constant demand for attention – how does any company stand out from the clamor and earn the trust of their customers? Consumers are savvier than ever before. They are also more cynical. Trust isn’t given away easily, and everything feels like a negotiation. Consumers sense the ‘sales’ stuff coming from a mile away.
In this quote, Adam Grant offers a different perspective: “Negotiation is not a duel to win. It is a puzzle to solve together.” When you approach negotiation with a customer as an opportunity to bring different voices to the table to craft a more optimal solution, the outcomes are better for everyone—trying to WIN forces the other participant to LOSE. And no person is eager to feel like a loser.
Currency of Trust
If authenticity is the real currency of trust, then transparency, thoughtful communication, and a commitment to work together for everyone involved is a simple formula that, when applied internally and externally, may differentiate you from the noise.
Authentic relationships require real work. Transactions may be more straightforward, but they lack the mutually beneficial connectivity found in human-to-human relationships, and when it comes down to it, we are all human, afterall.
What are you doing to stand out and create authentic connections? Share with us below!
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Photo by Andriyko Podilnyk on Unsplash
In a world that is becoming increasingly digital, it’s easy to forget that what truly matters is being human. In a digital landscape where technology has become our primary means of communication, it’s more important than ever to remain grounded in our humanity. We often hear about the importance of being authentic, forging human connections, and communicating with empathy, but why are these qualities so crucial, and how can we cultivate them in our daily lives?
Being authentic means being true to yourself and your values. It’s about being genuine and honest in your interactions with others. In a world where so much of our communication is facilitated through email, text messages, DMs, and IMs presenting a carefully curated version of ourselves is easy. However, this can ultimately lead to feelings of isolation and disconnection. To foster meaningful connections, being vulnerable and showing your true self is important. Authenticity allows others to connect with us on a deeper level, which can lead to stronger relationships.
Human connection is another key aspect of being human. Social media and other communication technologies make it easy to feel connected. However, these connections can often be superficial and lacking in depth. To foster true human connections, it’s important to prioritize face-to-face interactions and spend quality time with the people we care about. Whether it’s through shared experiences or deep conversations, meaningful connections can help us feel more fulfilled and happy.
Empathy is another crucial quality for building relationships. It’s easy to misinterpret tone or intent when communicating online, leading to misunderstandings and hurt feelings. By practicing empathy in our communication, we can better understand the perspectives and feelings of others, leading to more effective and meaningful interactions.
Ultimately, being human means fostering meaningful connections, communicating authentically, and practicing empathy. By prioritizing these qualities, we can create more fulfilling and satisfying relationships.
Consequences: Taking Credit for Others’ Work
Photo by Richard Ciraulo on Unsplash
Taking credit for the work of others is a form of plagiarism, a serious ethical breach that can have severe consequences in academic and professional settings. Not only is it dishonest and unfair to the original creator, but it can also damage your credibility and reputation.
There are many ways that individuals might attempt to take credit for the work of others in the multifamily space, whether intentionally or unintentionally. For example, they might copy and paste content from a source without properly citing it, or they might present someone else’s ideas as their own in a boardroom filled with senior executives.
Avoid Taking Credit
One way to avoid taking credit for the work of others is to cite all sources you use in your job correctly. This includes not only direct quotations but also paraphrased ideas and concepts. When citing sources, it’s essential to include enough information for readers to locate the source.
Another way to avoid taking credit for the work of others is to be mindful of the potential for accidental plagiarism. This can occur when you are working on a project and draw heavily on your past work or the work of others without proper citation. We encourage you to keep track of the sources you are using and to be diligent about acknowledging them as you go.
Ultimately, taking credit for the work of others is not only unethical, but it can also have severe consequences for your reputation and career. By properly attributing your sources and being mindful of the potential for accidental plagiarism, you can ensure that you give credit where it is due and maintain your integrity.
The Space Between – Revisited
The Space Between – Revisited
Photo credit: Sharon Cauthen
Prelude by Sharon Cauthen
In the year before the pandemic upended the world, my husband and I visited Alaska, a place of breathtaking sights and sounds where flora and fauna abound. It was a trip I dreamed of for most of my life. You see, my grandfather helped to build the first railroad in Alaska. The work was brutal, manual, and dangerous in below-freezing temperatures. The conditions are almost unimaginable today, but without the labor of Sam Callihan and his peers, reaching the northern land with any assurance of safety was a poor bet as best. I recall one story about a man who fell ill, and the nearest medical help was 30 miles away. In the winter. In Alaska. My grandfather volunteered to take the man out because he knew how to handle a team of sled dogs. He delivered his sick colleague to safety and walked the rest of the way back – in ONE DAY. For his trouble, he was granted by the Boss-man one day off before getting back to work.
As I read this early Multifamily Collective edition titled, “The Space Between”, I was reminded of my grandfather’s story, his legacy, and of how the railroad tracks are a metaphor for the space between. They are limiting, and critically important – and the space between is rife with choice. If the engineer fails to remain vigilant, many unforeseen things can derail the train causing certain death to those on board and anyone else in the immediate area. If he allows the tedium of the tracks to bore him into losing focus, catastrophe awaits.
I encourage you to stay awake, dear friends, in the space between, and make alert life-affirming choices while you’re there.
The Space Between by Mike Brewer
When I was a younger human, I found much in my small world that made me angry and there were times when I allowed that anger to dictate my words or actions. I’m not proud of those moments and truthfully, I’ve worked hard to reform my thoughts and deeds in my quest to become a servant leader worth my salt. Even so, every day offers its stumbling blocks, and it provides me the opportunity to hold myself accountable to the man and leader that I desire to become. Some days, I feel good about my choices, and others, not so much. Nevertheless, the quest continues.
Many years ago, Viktor Frankl, a very wise man whose life and writings I admire, penned a statement in his memoir Man’s Search For Meaning that resonates with me still today.
“Between stimulus and response, there is space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
Viktor survived the Holocaust, internment in four concentration camps including Auschwitz, and the loss of his parents, brother, and pregnant wife while enduring monstrous personal abuse at the hands of the Nazis. If a man who walked in those impossible shoes says there is power in the space between, then that is a concept I can easily buy into.
When everything else is stripped away – choice remains. Whatever stimulus acts upon you such that your feelings become the driver of your response, the space between is invaluable. When a customer seems irrationally upset about an issue – the choice of how to listen and how to respond endures. When a family member, friend, co-worker, or boss is demonstrating heightened emotions – the space between their words and your response is available to you as valuable fertile soil to create an elevated, reasoned, and more loving reply.
I encourage you to seize the space between and allow it to manifest as growth in you.
“Carpe. Carpe Diem! Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary!” (Hat tip to the late great Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society and Tom Schulman who wrote its magnificent screenplay)
Image source: Sharon Cauthen
By: Sharon Cauthen
Recently, I was clearing out a box of old photos and papers when I came across two pages of childish script. I knew instantly what it was, and I felt transported to a moment in time – the emotions of the day flooding back in an instant. The truth is, I’ve never forgotten what happened and how it made me feel. It was a simple story that went something like this…
When I was in fourth grade, our teacher assigned a creative writing assignment. I loved writing and spent much of my no-frills home life tuned in to my internal fanciful thinking or reading anything I could get my hands on. For the assignment, I wrote a story called Lifecycle describing in youthful detail, the beginning, middle, and the predetermined end. There was a special gotcha at the end of the story, of which I was particularly proud. I turned in my paper, eager for a good grade and some recognition from a teacher who never quite seemed to like me very much.
The paper was returned to me with a notation in bright red across the top – “Was this plagiarized?” and a score of F! The shock of embarrassment ran through my body as my face flamed red and my heart pounded loudly enough to drown out the sound of anything but its beat in my ears. Students sitting in nearby desks could see the terrible grade and the angry red writing scrawled on my paper. Having my clever idea and hard work dismissed as something I wasn’t capable of stung, and I felt tears threatening to spill over.
I had to take a note home to my parents who were none too pleased. They were the kind of parents who always stood behind the teacher whenever there was an issue, but on this one (and one other story I’ll save for another day), they stood up for me. You see, I had written the story at home, sitting at the kitchen table and I read it out loud to my family because I felt so giddy with the preciousness of my story idea and its surprise ending. There were a thousand things they would have believed the teacher about – but my ability to craft this story wasn’t one of them. Their faith in my storytelling skills gave me the runway and confidence to continue writing to this day.
I learned a lesson that day that superseded one young girl’s paper. It serves me still today.
Anyone in a position of authority can leave a scar with one ill-conceived or short-tempered remark, the pain of which may never be forgotten. Building up the confidence of others and recognizing their talents pays back and forwards.
Lift people up whenever you can. A simple acknowledgment that you see them and appreciate their contributions is important but taking the time to learn about their interests and passion projects beyond their daily job duties is heady stuff. It’s magical. The people who fill our teams are whole multifaceted humans who possess untapped potential.
One final thought. Believe people until there is a real reason not to. It’s been almost half a century and I still remember my creative writing assignment, and I vividly recall the feeling of knowing how it felt to be denied – and who believed in me.