Interested vs. Interesting

Moe's pledge to Columbia schools and charities

“Be more concerned with being interested, not interesting.” This advice came from one of our business development advisors. Smart, obvious and yet profound. It’s made talking with people — both professionally and personally — easier, more fun and informative.

In reflecting on this most fantastic advice, it occurred to me that being interested is how the best brands behave.  

Levi’s cares about their customer, so they want their jeans to fit better. Apple believes in connecting people with friends and loved ones. Kashi supports healthier living and eating.

On a local level, I’m reminded of Moe’s Southwest Grill manager Mark Smith, who grew his business aggressively through heavy involvement in schools and organizations in Columbia’s Forest Acres neighborhood. Mark’s “grassroots is everything” mantra inspired Moe’s Columbia franchisee cooperative’s 50K for 2012 campaign, in which Moe’s has pledged to give $50,000 to Columbia schools and charities during 2012.

The post recession consumer has no patience for brands that are trying to be interesting.

Seeing advertising through the “interested vs. interesting” lens can be eye opening. Businesses trying to “be interesting” begin to look like they are carrying clubs meant to bludgeon would be customers over the head. Meanwhile, most of their customers could care less. Does anyone really rush to the dealership after seeing car dealers yelling about new models and one-day-only deals? Do hospitals trying to one up one another by boasting about new services or technology actually influence where patients go?

If it’s time to take stock in your brand, there’s no need to look inward. Start by asking what your customers need and want. Then adopt behavioral or product modifications that fill an unmet need. Be interested, and your customers will surely be more interested in you.