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Sep 2, 2020    Burn Book

Ground, Step, Patient, Zero


Since Facebook doesn’t allow us to truly express ourselves and call 2020 bee ess, we’ll just say what everyone else is saying: unprecedented. And in that description, we’re looking at not only the economic turns, the literal global pandemic, or any other newsmaker, but at all of it and how it sits on our psyche, collectively and individually.

We came across this great piece in Harvard Business Review about how everyone seems to be begging for empathy but forgetting that there’s actually a step zero before step 1 where empathy starts: curiosity. We are forgetting that, even if we’re empathetic all day long and sympathizing with everything possible, we’re overestimating ourselves in what we know about the very situation we want to be empathetic about, or want others to be empathetic about. In that step zero, curiosity must play a role in innocent learning before we can say we “understand and empathize.” Perhaps this has been the missing stepping stone that can help us keep working towards those final steps: awareness and positive change.

My Turn To Talk

It reminded me of an old ghostwriting client who was writing a book on effective communication, especially in business settings. He said something along the lines of: Many people listen to respond. They hear what they need to in order to have an acceptable response to keep the social interaction moving forward. But few people consistently listen to understand. He wrote that these two types of listening were wildly different. To listen to understand is to hear all that is being said, filled with curiosity about what you do not know. Openness to learning, accepting that you do not know what you do not know, humility. Whereas listening to respond is just that: listening just enough to make yourself the center of attention again.

Needless to say, this spiral from Harvard Business Review into social skills and ethics got us to thinking about how Rock Candy Media in Austin employs curiosity (preceding empathy) and listening (to understand, not to respond) with our clients as a branding agency. And then we found how this exists in our world.

We’re No Experts, Actually

We’re no experts. Not in your industry, anyway. We’re marketing professionals, branding strategists, a team of spaghetti-brained people making up the top brand naming agency / growth marketing firm in Austin (and the U.S.).

That means two things:

1. We’re experts in omni-channel conversion rate optimization (huh?) and all the strategies that entails. As experts, we know there is always more learning to do, as our industry evolves by the day, and creativity never stops churning.

2. When you hire us to help market, brand, or grow your business, looking to us to get you where you want to go, we’re looking to you for your sweat equity.

Basically — we understand that you’ve done that whole blood/sweat/tears thing in your industry — and no amount of research on our part can replace that. Our job, then, is to be your most curious sidekick. In other words, we don’t aim to impress you with information about your own industry– we aim to impress with deliverables that utilize what we learn from and with you in order to grow your brand. We can’t know your industry better than you, but we can look at it from a brand builder’s perspective, and employ growth strategies we know will work for you specifically.

Template agencies mask their lack of immediate ROI with the confidence that they know better than you.

We, The Anti-Template, pave the road ahead with you still in the driver’s seat. And as we recently learned, this is really well summarized by saying: we don’t empathize with your struggles as a business owner (not yet); we are curious as to all you want to achieve with us, and how our expertise can blend with your industry sweat equity.

With Step 0: Curiosity as our launching point, we’ve done all the following steps hundreds of times with clients in all industries, there’s proof of that. And still, in 2020, we’re curious: want to go Anti-Template?

Because we’re itching for something new. Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures, and that sounds fun. You in?

Let Your Curiosity Take Control