December 08, 2007

The Spoonful Of Medicine

So, a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down? Not always in my experience. I have a colleague who typically prefers to leave a bitter-sweet taste in the mouth.

Recently, he loudly upbraided me for some minor detail I'd overlooked before slipping in some sweet praise for the job I'd just completed. No sugar-coating for this patient. Instead, the castor-oil of complaint was deemed a more palatable taste than the more syrupy praise it masked. At the same time, there was no doubting the sincerity of his appreciation. I just had to work my way past the dose of bad-tasting medicine he administered first.

It's funny. You'd think this wouldn't be to my taste. But I find that I much prefer this over the more saccharine flavour of other exchanges in business which leave me doubting the sincerity of what I've just been told. Or worse, they leave me wondering if there's some distasteful truth being kept back that's going to upset me further down the line.

I think it's much the same for others. Too many brands spend their time sweet-talking customers when our preference is for a more honest, if sometimes unpalatable, exchange.

It's no good to us if the sugary treat proves over time to be the more bitter pill to swallow.

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