Friday, June 03, 2005

Don't Fall to Hubris;
Hilton Hotels Latest Example

Joe Baldoni, leadership consultant, gives us all reason to pause over what he calls "hubris" and what I might call "arrogance." Either word is danger to successful marketing.

It's in an article called "Avoiding Hubris" on Darwin's online newsletter, he writes: "Hubris is a human failing. The Greeks originated the word and Greek playwrights made liberal use of it in their tragedies. Most of us mortals are guilty of it. And to deny that guilt is an act of hubris in itself. Hubris is a divisive act. When leaders make mistakes they fail to acknowledge yet punish others for similar failing, they are guilty of the “superiority complex." That is, the rules do not apply to me."

Baldoni cites several examples of hubris -- Bud Selig and the Baseball Players Union, Michael Eisner, even Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Well written and thought provoking!

Marketing is in a predominant place at most companies, so when we as marketers fail to observe the rules, fail to realize the customer should be honored, and fail to be scrupuously honest ... then we pull the whole business down.

Such is the case where marketers at Hilton Hotels have apparently asked ad agencies to give up their rights to all speculative material created for the hotel's $45 million agency review. Joe Jaffe calls the requirement "highway robbery and the worst possible insult to every last bit of integrity left in the ad business to have ideas from losing contenders implemented down the line without compensating for them."

If you fall to hubris, don't be surprised to find yourself pulled to task in about a half million blogs where you cannot hide the mistakes.


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