Most of us have heard the saying, “Fake it until you make it.” In 2007, we launched a marketing company called Noodlehead Studios. When we started, “fake it until you make it” would have been a good phrase to describe our company. Being great at marketing gave us an advantage of presenting ourselves as bigger and better than we were. Yes, we stretched and exaggerated our past and associated success to prop ourselves up. Before we launched the company, I had worked with my uncle at his animation studio, and we were a part of an Emmy award-winning project. Besides this, we worked with various TV networks and prominent organizations while working together. When we launched Noodlehead, we attached the Emmy and our high-caliber clients to our marketing efforts in hopes it would help us achieve our goals. In reality, it did the opposite.
I believe when we present ourselves through marketing, it is important for us to deliver on the expectations we set.
Because of our lack of experience and maturity, we were inconsistent in delivering what we promised. We also alienated many potential great clients because we elevated ourselves so highly. Many prospective clients who wanted to work with us saw our presented pedigree and thought they could not afford us. It’s ironic how our efforts led to us losing potential great clients and attracting clients with expectations we were unable to deliver on. As we progressed in our journey, and our company transformed, we began to ask ourselves, what is marketing? At the time of asking this probing question, we began to look at how marketing worked and the results it generated.
In marketing, we are attempting to communicate our message. Our message attempts to communicate the value we bring to market. The value we offer comes from our experience and beliefs. Our beliefs come from who we are and how we see ourselves. From this string of thoughts, we realize “Marketing” is a reflection of who we are. It is an external manifestation of our identity. How we communicate who we are to the world around us tells others who we are, and it goes further than a website, social media and search engine rankings.
When “Marketing” is a reflection of who we are, it causes us to realize we cannot market well unless we know well who we are. In reflection of our company’s early years, we did not know who we were, and it caused our company to re-discover it’s identity in 2011. From that point, we realized how important this was and our company’s vision shifted. We started as a company helping fulfill marketing projects, and we changed to a company helping other companies discover who they were. Marketing became a result of our foundation building efforts.
Marketing is a reflection of who we are.
When we use this definition of marketing, it surfaces a gap for us. The gap was our “fake it until you make it” attitude. When marketing is a facade for who we are, and not an accurate reflection, this marketing definition holds us accountable. It probes us to ask ourselves why we are not presenting ourselves as we are.
In our business, we began to see everything we did externally as marketing, a reflection of who we were. From how we presented our office, to how we communicated in emails was all part of marketing. It was evidence that we were who we said we were. This meant our team, clients and friends saw the good, the bad and the ugly. Our reflection was one we strove to accurately portray as best we could even when we did not like how it looked. When we did not like what we saw, we chose to change instead of hide, and it was these drivers which helped transform us from an outside in marketing company to an inside out marketing company.
So, how about you and your company? Does your company’s marketing effort act as a beacon to the world, communicating who you are? Does it pronounce your beliefs, seeking to connect with those who share them? Does it invite others who align with your organization to collaborate? Or, is it a distorted reflection, one which appears better or worse than you are?
Marketing is a reflection of who you are. Work on the hard part of deciding who you want to be, and the marketing will come naturally.
About the Author
Jason is a follower of the Way, the Truth and the Life. He is a husband, a father of three, an entrepreneur, and a storyteller. His personal mission is to teach and inspire others towards a life of thriving together. He believes in sharing good—and not so good—stories from his journey as a way to process ideas and help others. You can read more of his stories at JasonScottMontoya.com.