I have often been recognized for my communication skills; the ability to listen, amalgamate and explain. When I traveled earlier in my career, I took time to understand cultural innuendo and incorporate the nuances of diverse expectations into conversation and behavior. I prided myself in my ability to clarify intent with a modicum of diplomacy. By my age, certain talents define you. They are part of your “brand”. So imagine my dismay, when I returned to my house here in Cabo last week to discover that I had failed big time at the very core competency that I, as well as others, have come to expect from myself.
Here’s what happened: The gardener cut down the thick, luscious floral vines that completely covered the palapa – a roof made from tree branches- that shelters my porch. Two years of nurturing this blossoming canopy right down the drain, or should I say, in the garbage can. Why, because Alejandro does not speak much English and my directions, “can you clean up the palapa” were not interpreted as I intended. All I wanted was some dead leaves removed but that’s not what I said. I deviated from my normal tendency to specifics and clarification and used a phrase that does not translate well into Spanish. By compromising my “brand” I compromised the beauty of my garden.
This got me thinking about why some brands rise to the top and others fall short. This tendency is not confined to the size of the business. The important factor is that the brand knows who they are, who they serve and how they wish to be perceived. Case in point: Harlow & Fox. This small British Luxury brand known for their focus on women sizes 30–38, DD-G, who love a vintage aesthetic hired California based pin up model Jenny Rieu and photographer Jason Kamimura to collaborate on their August 2016 photo shoot. These images of Jenny wearing the signature Eleanor collection capture the heart of the Harlow & Fox DNA: fine silk and lace intimates designed for a curvy woman who appreciates her femininity. There is no room for mis-interpretation.
“The Difference Between The Right Word And The Almost Right Word Is The Difference Between Lightening And The Lightening Bug” ~Mark Twain