I guess most people have a desire to be loved – I suppose it comes from an early age, and is with you throughout your life. Apart from a few infamous names from history, few people wake up in the morning intending to be bad.
I was therefore intrigued to read an article in The Times (a summary of a much longer article a few weeks ago in The New Yorker) that basically said that Brit Sir Jonathan Ive – Apple’s senior vice president of design – goes through life obsessed that he (and the Apple corporation as a whole) are not fully appreciated.
This is quite astonishing. Although everyone knocks a winner, there can be few marketers who are not in awe of what Steve Jobs, Ive and Apple have done and continue to do – from the original Mac to the iPod and the iPhone to the iPad – is there a brand with more disciples than Apple, especially in the creative industries?
And looking at Apple’s balance sheet – $160bn in cash at its disposal, which would exceed the gross domestic product of many countries – it cannot be doing much wrong.
But then again, if you look at many of our popular culture icons – from George Best to Alex Higgins, Marilyn Monroe to Robin Williams – they often come to an untimely end, feeling unloved, unfulfilled or simply misunderstood.
And I – the secret marketer – fret when people do not comment on my articles, or write to the editor. In my uncloaked version, I constantly yearn for my CEO to comment in his daily blog about the latest marketing success, a journalist or analyst to write about our fantastic new initiative, a customer to buy something as a direct result of one of our campaigns, and – god forbid – a salesman to say that they couldn’t have done that deal without the help of marketing.
The truth is that we are only as good as our last piece of work, but as human beings we long to be respected. In some ways, it is what makes us strive for bigger and better outcomes every day, but I would argue it also underpins a lot of stress in our lives.
I have an unwritten rule to say thank you to someone at work every day – go on, I dare you to do the same – even if it is to comment on this column.