Half of the Glass

“Half of the glass has water in it.” 

Maybe Ethel said this or maybe my Mom just viewed life this way.

We often learn that we should view the world as optimists with unending possibilities, while much has been written about how pessimism actually produces greater preparedness and limits unnecessary risk-taking. But perhaps we should all embrace our inner Ethel to accept the reality of “our special”.  Realists understand the uniqueness we each possess and believe that “special” needs to be uncovered and unleashed.

Whenever my Mom was asked about her children’s skills in a certain area she would surprise people with her candor. Instead of saying that I was great at everything (like many parents), she told people what she saw in me. It could be that I’m disorganized or that I’m good with numbers. She knew that I wouldn’t make a living playing baseball, but she also knew that I would “figure it out.”

Glass half empty? Glass half full? No. Ethel knew that the “water in my glass” had potential, I just had to uncover how and where it was needed.

This created a muscle in me I now realize is a balanced view of my strengths and weaknesses. From being able to self-identify my faults to a deeper understanding of what I do better than most.

Said more succinctly, when my Mom told me that I was good at something, I knew I was.

Now some of you may be skimming through this personal therapy session, but there is value in what it means for Brands – Brands often fail to see that half of their glass has water in it.  

On one hand, Brands believe they are the best at everything and attempt to be everything to everyone. “Refreshing the World” or “For People with Skin.” Beyond the wallpaper marketing messages, these taglines represent an inability to realize what makes their Brands and products…drum roll please… special.

It creates a feeling that everyone gets a trophy, so it’s a meaningless trophy, and no one’s really special.

On the other hand, pessimistic Brands often look past their strengths and only see how they don’t match up to their competition. This inferiority complex drives them to become copycat marketers (take a look at all of the luxury Brand ads in WSJ Magazine) and create products that just don’t work. New Coke is a classic example as they chased the flavor of Pepsi.

It’s not surprising that I bring this up to showcase our process #sponsored – our now 5-year-in-the-making 5-step “P.R.I.C.E. of Courage” methodology, was created to help Brands uncover their special so you can connect with your consumer in a special but real way.

This is the magic behind taking a real look into your Brand because it’s the unique combination of values of your Brand that will connect with consumers. Using these real values to unlock the possibilities (like an optimist) prepares you to take the necessary risks (like a pessimist) with new products, new partnerships, and new marketing ideas.

After all, half of the glass does have water in it — and it’s what you do with that water next that matters.

Billy Collins
Billy Collins
From Listerine to Lubriderm, Billy cut his teeth in the land of consumer package goods on the brand side. A seasoned marketer who spent 7 years leading businesses for Johnson & Johnson, Billy runs the knowledge-gathering unit for Courageous. Billy expertly guides our clients across brand strategy, digital marketing and marketing implementation services.

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