I was watching Modern Family the other night. A show that always makes me laugh and is a great evening distraction. I often forget that a piece of the show is that the dad, Jay, is a business owner. And a season or two ago his daughter went to work for him (and his son has done legal consulting stuff too, but not the point of this post).
In this week’s episode, Jay wanted to make a new commercial and use a catch phrase he’d used 30 years ago. His daughter (Claire) was tasked with telling him it’s terrible and they need to go in another direction. Since he owns the business and signs everyone’s paychecks, everyone on the team responsible for the commercial is afraid to tell him that it’s a bad ad. So, Claire finally does it and Jay comes to realize that his idea isn’t the right fit.
As a consultant, I’m often tasked with telling someone their (business) baby is ugly. It’s not even close to my favorite part of the job. But, letting a client put something out to the world that makes them look bad reflects poorly on them, and their marketing consultant (me). Finding ways to gently ask – “how do you feel about your logo?” “What do you think of this ad” “when was your website last updated” – and then start a dialogue is what I’ve found to be the best way to start these conversations.
Claire had a longer standing relationship with her dad than I usually do with my clients (and since my dad isn’t a client of mine, she’ll win this round). But as a consultant, finding a kind and constructive way to create a workable solution so your client doesn’t hurt their brand is key to everyone’s success.