'You’re dangerous ‘cause you’re honest' was the first line of U2, ‘Who’s gonna ride your wild horses', it's on my Desert Island Discs play list and the reason is I am. But it's served me well so far.
I’ve been told so many times in my career that I’m too honest. And while often the feedback hasn’t necessarily been in a positive context, it’s an attribute that I’ve relied upon to build, strengthen and develop trusted relationships with people I work with. A recent conversation reminded me of this and made me reflect on whether honesty is more valued post-Covid than it was previously.
We are taught from such a young age to be truthful and that lying is wrong. Yet later in life we frequently witness, that dishonesty or blurring of the truth is what wins the business or the trust of a client. That was, of course, pre-Covid.
We’ve said before at Siren Comms that we are all now working in a new trust economy. This continues to be central to everything we are all striving to create for our families, businesses and clients or customers.
Trust, of course, is built over time. It’s not something you can create overnight. It is earned though consistent actions and demonstrating authenticity, integrity, and honesty.
In the agency world, client trust is developed over time through promised delivery; providing the right advice for a client’s business… even when they don’t want to hear it. It continues to develop by demonstrating a sincere desire to add value and being open to invest in a relationship as a partnership and not just a ‘give and take’ functional exchange. Honesty therefore is a key factor in building strong client and agency relationships. Many of our longest and most valued client partnerships and friendships have been developed with honesty at the heart of the relationship, along with mutual respect, shared values and a healthy two-way approach to commercial agreements.
In the tough months of the last year that we’ve all traded through, and as we’ve stood side-by-side with our colleagues and clients and advisors, it’s been honesty and transparency that has been valued, supported, and rewarded.
For me and the team at Siren, our journey through COVID 19 has strengthened our belief that honesty should remain central to all we offer. We’ve never been known as a 'yes' agency. At times, we have been thought of as too honest, and unquestionably on occasion our honest communication has needed to be softened somewhat to land more gently and shock less.
My personal belief, having reflected on my own style of honesty, is that delivered positively and with the good of the business or person at the heart of the thinking then there’s a real need for more – not less – truthfulness in the current environment. Many people and businesses simply don’t have the time, finance and resource for anything other than truthful counsel and advice.
At Siren, we pride ourselves on objective, commercial and sensible client counsel. We’ve never, to my knowledge, baited and switched. The unfashionable honesty we speak of always has ‘doing the right thing’ at its heart.
My conclusion then is that we will continue to surprise, shock and delight with our honest, no messing commercial approach to client recommendations, strategy development and creative campaign delivery and counsel. We will more consciously package that up and deliver it with kindness, consideration, integrity and considered brand reputation – in the usual Siren way.
It hasn’t made us rich, but it has delivered great rewards. We have no plans other than to continue in this vein, which seems to be much in demand post-COVID 19 and lead the way in bringing the sometimes uncomfortable truth into fashion. So we plan to remain most definitely dangerous ‘cos we’re honest at Siren. Because it works!