Toothpick and mints in a blue box

Honesty. Still the best policy.

The other day I had bowl of homemade pesto pasta for lunch. Just prior to a big presentation, a colleague leaned over and discreetly informed me that I had a piece of basil stuck between my front teeth. She offered me a toothpick and breath mint. Boom, just like that I was grateful and indebted. You might say that she’s one step closer to becoming a friend and confidant. What did she do? She was candid, diplomatic, and offered solutions to problems I didn’t even know I had yet. She was in the unique position to view things objectively. She demonstrated candor and acted decisively.

Dictionary.com defines honesty as “the quality of being honorable in principles, intentions, and actions: upright and fair:”
According to the wisest man who ever lived, it’s “Better to be poor and honest than a rich person no one can trust.”
“Honest Abe” lived it.
Billy Joel sang about it.
There’s even a tea named after it.

So why all this fuss about “honesty” in a blog for a branding agency?
Well, I’m so glad you asked.
Perhaps it has to do with my Judeau/Christian upbringing.
Or, because it’s been instilled in me for 22 years from our founder, Judy Kirpich.
Truthfully, it’s both, combined with my own experiences as a Creative Director and Principal.
I’ve seen and experienced the effects of honesty.

Now when you blend honesty with diplomacy and add a pinch of intelligence, look out.

When an agency applies these same principles with new prospects and or clients, it’s powerful.
 
It’s the kind of power that turns skepticism into trust.
It’s the kind of power that transforms vendors into partners.
It’s the kind of power that gets you a seat at the table with the CEO, again and again.
It’s just smart business, which leads to success.

After all, most seasoned clients have a better sniffer than we do. 
They’ve had more experience with agencies from the other side of the table.
They’ve been schmoozed and courted by, pitched and presented to, burned and duped by more agencies than they can count.

So when they finally meet an agency that has integrity, views things objectively, is not afraid to call a spade a spade and one that provides distinct and creative solutions to problems they didn’t know they had, it’s magic.

Although Grafik’s mantra, “The Right Idea,” sounds like we’re all about providing a smart solution to a client’s problem, it’s just the final result. Truth be told, it all starts with honesty, integrity and objectivity.
Intelligence on its own will often lead to misguided outcomes.

Not only does this policy translate to successes with clients, it reaps benefits inside the office walls as well. Employees can gauge your honesty, or lack thereof. Respected leaders must strive to live out those principles in their everyday lives.

It’s about striving to make a difference, on the court and off the court every day. Not to say that I’m there yet, but I’m a pilgrim on a path.

PS: Two oldies, but goodies.
1) EF Hutton was a brokerage firm that produced a campaign series in the 1970’s

2) The Economist: Award Winning Print Ad which was part of a multi-year campaign
The power of honesty in marketing can be powerful, as seen in this award-winning print ad campaign

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