Sometimes the best strategy does not win. Sometimes, no matter how much work you do or how much thinking you put into a project or pitch, the results just don't come to you. The question is not what you missed, but what was your customer expecting that you did not deliver.
Mike Wagner from Own Your Own Brand has a great post on the linkage between teaching and brands that got me thinking. It reminded me of a couple of things in my own life. In my university days I was certain my career would be in directing theatre or film. I remember directing a play and noticing the difference in the style, presentation and effectiveness of the performances based on how I dressed. When I dressed in a blazer the performance was better than when I turned up in ripped jeans. After a couple of bad performances, I just decided to dress "up", more conservatively, and more obviously attentive to my appearance. I must say that the changes were remarkable.
It was pretty clear to me that if I wanted to achieve a high level of team performance, I needed to dress a certain way. This, in itself, was quite strange -- as the work we were performing was considered avant-garde, non-conventional and self-consciously artistic. But the more that the performers were pushed, the greater was their need for a solid and dependable base (which was me). And the more conservatively I dressed, the better the performance was. The troupe and I were building an unspoken, but deep trust.
When it comes to brands, sometimes your clients are the ones who need YOU to look the part. They need to be able to trust in your approach and your reliability -- especially when you are pushing their brand to its creative limits. Remember, it is not about YOU, it is about delivering the results for your clients. But equally, sometimes, it is about making your clients feel comfortable with you and your approach. It is a matter of trust.