Things that Scare Us

October 30, 2017

Cat Eyes

After the trick-or-treaters have vanished like mist into the night, take a quiet moment, wrap a cloak around yourself and step outside into the darkness.

Listen. Is that a cat prowling through your hedgerow, unseen in the shadows? Is that the wind you feel on your face? Or is it an ancient, evil force come to feed on your deepest business fears?

We all are victim to the unspoken terrors that haunt us. Rising into our consciousness at unexpected moments, they may even slip wraithlike across that filmy divide between asleep and awake, tormenting us as we dream.

And so, in the spirit of the season, Paul Werth Associates offers you a chilling glimpse of what scares us the most.

Misunderstanding our customers. Customers are shape-shifters, fickle in their priorities and desires. Understanding the needs of evermore sophisticated audiences, whose habits and challenges change by the day, can be as elusive as Lon Chaney in a sushi bar. This is why message testing, online research, market analysis and constant interaction with our customers are so important.

Threats to reputation. Reputation is everything. And yet, no company is immune from a crisis that could quickly destroy a reputation built up over many years. While reputation starts with acting responsibly, it’s also important to plan for horrifying scenarios that could unexpectedly cast a company into the pit of despair. Crisis management begins with developing a crisis plan and training on worst case scenarios. Such as a goblin revolt.

Social media apparitions. Social media can be both a great communication tool and an excruciating instrument of torture. Reputation often hinges on what customers are saying online, and social media cannot be controlled, only watched and – sometimes – contained. Using social media as a way to tell our stories in the spaces where our customers live, and monitoring it for misinformation and response, are two ways to keep the wolves at bay.

Rapid technological change. We use technology to engage with our customers, analyze their needs, improve efficiencies and measure our own effectiveness. Likewise, our customers use technology to make buying decisions and to connect with us, while cyber villains use it to crack our book of secrets. The need to stay abreast of constantly changing technologies can be a terrifying proposition – but one we must meet with sabers drawn.

An unpredictable regulatory landscape. While it may seem that regulation is sucking the blood out of our businesses, the worse monster is uncertainty. Health care, tax, trade and labor policy … they all hover above us like Bela Lugosi in bat form. In the dark swamp of uncertainty, some of our best champions are the tax experts, legal minds and public affairs professionals who know where the stumps are.

There. Did we conjure up your long-buried demons, or only confirm that you are not alone? Either way, we hope you will confide in us your own business terrors. It doesn’t hurt much. Until then, sweet dreams.