A Culture of Angry Birds
By Thomas Boyle
I have been in the very competitive HR technology field for over 15 years and have had the opportunity to work for some amazing companies in a variety of roles.
Although each experience has been different, the one common thread is the culture within these companies. It always felt like we approached our strategy and marketing ethically. The cultures were more about internal innovation and pride, where the only sales tactics were and are designed to focus on how our software can benefit organizations. I truly believe that the value of our products and services will win on their own merit.
Unfortunately, as with life in general, not every person or organization takes that same positive approach to marketing. More often than not there are always those organizations that feel threatened by your success and ultimately turn to negative campaigning, trying to win an advantage by referring to negative aspects rather than emphasizing one’s own positive attributes or preferred policies.
Some strategists say that an effect of negative campaigning is that while it motivates the base of support, it can alienate undecided buyers and more importantly create negative culture.
One of my favorite perspectives on this topic comes from Erica Douglass who worked for Sun Microsystems: http://www.erica.biz/2012/marketing-tactic-ruin-your-business/
“When you go negative in your advertising, the net effect is that the potential customer thinks more about the thing you’re being so negative about.”
She went on to talk about how the negative tactics at Sun not only created a bad sales culture, but it created rot within the company as well. The company culture was oppressively negative, and it attracted people who enjoyed complaining and bashing others.
So next time you decide to play angry bird with your employee morale, try creating a culture that’s thrives off of the positive difference you’re making within organizations and the impact your software or services bring – and you will long outlast the negative tactics brought on by your competition.