Be seen, but Don't just be a facade
It's one thing to get noticed. What you do after that is what differentiates you from being a solid partner that can be counted on or merely a good-looking facade with no foundation backing it up.
This past weekend, we received a pretty cool shout-out from Megan Sanicki, the executive director of the Drupal Association, who, during a live feed from her home to the attendees at Drupal Camp PA, noticed a bunch of Echidnas in the crowd wearing our branded hockey jerseys. "I see Digital Echidna is there," she said. "Love those hockey jerseys!"
That was great. It's what she said next, though, that mattered more.
She followed up stating that "companies like Digital Echidna are shouldering much of the load when it comes to growing Drupal," adding that she is grateful for companies like us who sponsor events and contribute to the community.
Obviously, any company is going to attend events, sponsor activities, and buy ads to get people through the door, to your website, or to contact you for more information.
Flash and dash is easy; presence is simple -- all you have to do is show up. What you do after that is going to define what you are to your customers.
Personally, I hate the terms "wordsmith" and "spin doctoring" when it applies to my profession. They both imply that you're creating the appearance of something more out of something that's far less than promised. I've seen it, I've had to do it in the past for companies I've worked for -- and it really never works out.
Why would it? Why promise something you can't deliver? Why build a grand palace of messaging on a rickety foundation that won't hold up when someone knocks on the door?
Any time you advertise, promote, sponsor, or support an event or activity, it's important to be standing on a solid foundation. When we, at Echidna, support a charity or sponsor an event, it's because we know we add value and can back it up with performance. We're not at events just to get our name out because it can't stop there.
We're there to get our names out, add value to the conversation, and be there to show prospective partners and customers what we can do for them -- based on experience and a proven history.
At Drupal Camp PA we had four Echidnas doing presentations. One of our Echidnas, Scott Reeves, was a keynote speaker. This is on top of the thousands of hours we dedicate to contributing to Drupal development each and every year.
We know when you knock on that door, we can confidently open it because we're more than a facade.
All businesses need to approach their efforts the same way. "Fake it 'til you make it," may work for you eventually, but you're likely going to leave a trail of dissatisfied customers in your wake.
A flashy ad, a dynamic website, or a catchy viral marketing campaign can do so much. It can get people to your door. But if you can't deliver, or if the product you offer doesn't match the hype you've created, you're going to disappoint your customers. And that's business you won't get back.
It's easy to call yourself an expert. It's easy to hang a shingle out and say you're a consultant or a "guru," but what are you really offering? Can you live up to that lofty ideal? Words matter and carry weight -- will your offering buckle under those expectations?
Truth works. False promises and underwhelming delivery is particularly damaging to your business -- especially in this social-media world. Setting and delivering upon expectations is key and that starts with building a strong foundation upon which to base any and all promises.
After all, flashy images and flowery prose can only dazzle for so long if the façade crumbles at the slightest touch.