Stop Throwing Money At “It”!
I have a person very close to me who likes to throw money at situations and people. Let’s name them “Pat”. Over time I’ve noticed money gets thrown around when Pat is trying to: 1) avoid a negative/painful situation (“I’ll buy the birthday gift, you go hang out with the birthday gal because I don’t want to see her”) or 2) be more loved (“I’ll buy lunch to apologize for making you come meet me where I want to each lunch”).
So in the famous words of the Beatles, if love is all we need and if money is the root of all evil, then what gives with Pat?
While we all tend to stretch for relief and love in our lives by “solving” things with money, what does it really do to your brand?
First, you must have self-awareness to look at the situation in the first place. If you can’t step back and observe yourself throwing money at others, then you can’t start to see anything differently.
Throwing money at people and situations in order to get yourself in a better position and your brand better loved does NOT work. Why?
Even if people end up taking your money, we can all sense your desperation in doing so. It devalues your brand instead. No one wants to support, much less be around, desperate people. Think about it: when was the last time you bought any product because you pitied the company? Never, I suspect.
Need more examples? Look at Uber. Uber and Lyft spent over $8 million in a very few short months in Austin. They were trying to get voters to shoot down Austin’s proposed fingerprinting rules for drivers. Uber bombarded voters with phone, text, emails and calls. Some voters were truly scared and creeped out by the level of intrusion.
In the end, Uber and Lyft lost the fight. And they lost $8 million. That’s what happens when you throw money at it. No one was more sad over this result than me. I used to Uber/Lyft all around Austin on my monthly trips. Now I’m stuck with yucky cabs or the kindness of colleagues and friends.
What about Uber and Lyft’s brand?
Some would say the companies are so big, it really doesn’t impact their brands. Ok, so maybe there’s no fiscal impact. However, in the court of public opinion it’s different. In the informal interviews I’ve done with locals in Austin, there’s very little love for Uber or Lyft. When you mention either brand name, most people I’ve talked to shrug, squint and reply rather nonchalantly. That’s what you get when you have enough money to throw at people in order to get your way.
So let’s summarize what we learned in first grade: Money does not get you your way. If you do get your way, you have no respect with it. Your brand stinks.
What does this mean for you? Stop and consider:
- When have you strong-armed others with money to get your way?
- Did it work? Why did you really throw money at it?
- How can you stop and have self-awareness of when you are throwing money at something?