Case in point: NBC missed the cultural significance of observing a 9/11 moment of silence in favor of a Kardashian yakking about cosmetic surgery. Viewers (and non-viewers) for whom 9/11 marks a special day of remembrance felt disrespected and took to the airwaves to talk about it.
Thankfully, consulting usually flies more under the radar—rarely do our bad decisions get aired on prime time (political consultants being a notable exception).
And yet, most of us are only one bone-headed move away from being splashed across the in-boxes of our target audience.
Cut bad publicity off at the pass by choosing your clients wisely.
Resist any temptation to make your selection criteria all about potential revenue. Instead, before saying yes to a new client, answer what I call the Aretha Franklin question: Do you respect them?
Not whether they are perfect—who is? But can you respect their vision, their goals, how they operate? Can you treat their big ideas and dearly-held beliefs with care? Do you know that when you hit the inevitable potholes, you will want to continue to guide them?
Anything less than “Hell, yes!” is a no.
If you can’t see the rock star in your client, you’ve got no business taking their money.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T is simple. Give it completely or move on.