Are you mortally addicted to bad habits?

12 Nov

cats playing poker

I was standing at a bus shelter last week watching with concern as a woman, pairing a fur coat with pyjama bottoms and black rubber boots, was coughing portions of her lungs onto the sidewalk.

After a final and prolonged hack, she settled back against the glass of the shelter, her eyes stained with her exertions, pulled out a cigarette, lit it up and took a deep drag on it.

She then looked at me with a feeble smile and coughed.

This got me stuck in thoughts about people and the addictions that eventually do them in. Smokes, booze, sex, food, drugs, gambling, danger, speed.

In each case, they know the risks, but trade off that knowledge for the temporary ability to function within their disfunction.

Isn’t this just how it is with many businesses too, or more specifically the people who direct them: they know that what they’re doing is going to hurt them in the long run, but they’re chasing the short-term high, the immediate sales bump that will get them to the next quarter.

Is your business mortally addicted to bad habits?

Here are ten nasty ones, any combination of which can damage a business, sometimes fatally. Do you:

  • Routinely discount your prices rather than provide value-addons?
  • Fail to track where in-bound traffic is coming from?
  • Ignore customer feedback?
  • Fail to implement Search Engine Optimization?
  • Treat your website like a museum, rather than a dynamic, optimized indicator of your SEO success?
  • Try to reach as wide an audience as possible, rather than focus on those your brand was made for?
  • Ignore your existing customers in favour of chasing down new ones?
  • Fear the complaint of any one customer so much that you disregard the 99 who love what you do?
  • Believe that advertising which makes you feel comfortable is going to have any impact whatsoever outside of your boardroom?
  • Fail to hire smarter people than yourself?

The Brand Interventionist Recommends

If these sorts of habits are entrenched in your business, you’re not only missing opportunities – you’re also gambling with the future of your brand. It may be time for a brand intervention.

And guess what: I know someone who does them!

If you think a Brand Intervention could help your business, drop me a line at

(Cat Poker Game by Anonymous)


8 Responses to “Are you mortally addicted to bad habits?”

  1. Terrance Lam (@kinematicdigit) November 12, 2012 at 12:04 pm #

    Great list of bad habits. Most of them I cover in my marketing class. But the one that I love and need to encourage in all kinds of marketers, “Fail to hire smarter people than yourself?” Great tips.

    • Doug Brown November 12, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

      Thanks Terrance. I have always personally found it easy to hire people smarter than me. 😉

      • Sam Brown (@samuelmbrown) November 12, 2012 at 3:16 pm #

        I think it’s quite the challenge to hire somebody smarter than yourself since most people have a self serving bias that tells them they are the smartest person in the room. Maybe the way to get around this problem is to not seek out those that are necessarily smarter, but rather those who can compliment one’s strengths by having qualities in areas where another might be weak?

      • Doug Brown November 12, 2012 at 5:33 pm #

        Very elegant solution Sam. However, all the really successful people I know are only too ready to admit they are not always the smartest person in the room! I want someone who has my back, not only someone who is the master of their domain. So perhaps a combination of our two conclusions?

  2. margaretdoyle November 12, 2012 at 12:23 pm #

    There sure are a lot of folks coughing up bits of their proverbial lung on Twitter that is for sure, I hope you can intervene for all of us who need, want, require better design and accountability from businesses!

    • Doug Brown November 12, 2012 at 1:08 pm #

      Is that what was on my computer screen??

      Accountability is the big thing, I agree. Now there are all these super consumers holding the business’s feet to the fire, so they kind of have to step up or risk social media sniper attacks! Thanks for reading and commenting Mags.

  3. hotelgoddess November 12, 2012 at 6:48 pm #

    those cats really need to give up poker while hacking a butt….*snickerdoodle. I hope you told her fur coats only go with leopard print pajama bottoms

    • Doug Brown November 12, 2012 at 7:10 pm #

      She didn’t strike me as the kind of gal who would respond well to fashion suggestions!

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