The Best Hug Ever

When’s the last time someone you worked with gave you a big hug? What about the last time you hugged a customer? Is giving the best hug ever the way you need to look at your marketing efforts?

Mark Schaefer says the answer may be yes. Let’s see if Mark is who you want to receive the best hug ever from.

In this piece, Mark, a guy who I’ve praised for his marketing skills more than once, talks about authenticity and how good it made him feel when an employee at a hotel he stays at regularly gave him a hug. I can relate; my favorite hotel in Birmingham Alabama took that mantle when a manager remembered me by name on just my second visit.

Think about the act of the hug for a moment. Drop political correctness and a hug is about as authentic a gesture as you can make. Unless, of course, it feels forced. Authenticity can become inauthenticity in a hurry; the best hug ever can become the worst before you know it.

And I’m finding Mark’s article inauthentic.

His point is well-taken, and I enjoy the intellectual discussion of an emotional act. Also, while Mark’s approach to authenticity has irked me in the past, this is bigger; the best hug ever will go nowhere without backup. Moving forward from 2016 we need to understand that marketing is not only emotional. Lots of little things have to get done the right way, and missing a piece of authenticity is a problem.

The Best Hug Ever

The picture you see atop this piece is also the one on Mark’s piece about hugs. Yes, we borrowed it. But click our picture for the best hug ever and you’ll visit a site that is not Mark Schaefer’s. Why? Mark didn’t create it.

That’s fine; we have an actual policy about how we use “borrowed assets”, so far be it for us to say “always create your own art”. But assuming Mark was worried—as we all need to be—about link preservation when you borrow an image you provide attribution. Here’s the “best hug ever” image at Mark’s website. Not only is there no attribution, but after he screengrabbed the image he didn’t even bother to rename it:

The Best Hug Ever at Businessgrow

We know Mark Schaefer believes in Search Engine Optimization, so … seriously, Mark? These are not the best practices for a marketing professional.

My point isn’t to pick on Mark Schaefer so much as to illustrate how much goes into marketing—especially digital marketing. And sure, you can just go in for a hug and hope for the best. But until your brand is established, that won’t cut it. Maybe not even then.

Want to avoid an I told you so moment when your hugs are misunderstood? Let’s talk.

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