Holiday Braggadocios

This is the time of year when people send Christmas and New Year letters telling how great their lives are, how their children graduated from Yale as valedictorians and will be drafted into the NFL after they accept their Nobel Prize. Some of these letters are over the top especially when we don’t have contact with these folks any other time throughout the year. Sadly many companies are do the same thing with end of year emails.

Normally I truly love to celebrate the success of my friends, family and colleagues because most have humility and I know how hard they worked to achieve success and happiness. But if the conversation is one-sided it gets boring very quickly.

Many companies are sending New Year email or blogging about how great they are as a company. I have read how various company founders are on some incredible list because of fixed nominations, how great their products are, and other humble-brags. I get a lot of these messages and most make me cringe. Imagine that one person at a cocktail party that only talks about themselves. No one likes a braggart. It’s boring.

Ask Customers What Made the Year Great

As marketers we have spent the last several years emphasizing the importance of “telling the stories customers want to hear”. Either these are platitudes or we put the words into action. Platitudes drive me nuts so I prefer action.

I am sure many partners and customers like to see they are affiliated with a successful vendor. But I can guarantee most year end braggadocio emails are forgotten within 10 minutes, or less.  That’s assuming people actually read these messages. And it’s worse if the only time customers hear from you is when you talk about yourself. Boring and rude.

Take a different approach. Tell the stories of your customer success instead of bragging about your revenue growth, popularity contest rankings and added staff.

  • In their own words, what results did your customers achieve by working with you this year?
  • What are the accomplishments your customers are most proud of? How will those accomplishments help them springboard into the new year?
  • Why are your customers excited for the new year?
  • What suggestions do your customers have for pursuing new opportunities?

By telling these stories you have completely flipped the cube to show a uniquely different perspective.  And you are following one of the most important tips for having the best and most engaging conversations: Showing interest in your audience makes you interesting.

If you show interest in your customers then your company in turn will likely seem very interesting.  

I’m not suggesting that companies shouldn’t wave the flag of success. Of course there are times places when it’s important to share good news. Confidence is important. But don’t brag and make meaningless noise in your year end messages. Take a different approach and share the stories your customers will truly care about.