WARNING, some folks are easily offended

Who Should You Worry About Offending?

WARNING, some folks are easily offended

“We don’t want to “O”ffend anyone.”

I hear this – a lot. The big “O” is feared by many businessmen and women. And, it’s not surprising. With social media’s ability to instantly take issues viral, businesses worry more than they ever have about ruffling feathers.

These days, if you tickle the right someone the wrong way, it can land you in a sh*t storm so quick you won’t know what hit you until it’s sticking to your face. When your bottom line is based on relationships, as nearly every business is, the big “O” is a valid fear.

The problem is, this fear can turn you vanilla. It can make you boring. It can make you unmemorable.

And that, is very bad. The businesses that thrive year in and year out build brand loyalty. They cultivate relationships. Their names stick in their clients’ heads.

How can you avoid being vanilla and the big “O” at the same time? You can’t. Let’s just put it out there right now. To be memorable, you have to take a stance about something. And when you take a stance, you’re going to offend someone.

The question is: Can you walk the line?

Walking the line takes guts. It takes the ability to wear a little mud on your face from time to time. It requires you to accept that there will always be a select few people with their panties in a bunch. While you need to be aware of this rag-tag group, the folks on which you need to concentrate are your target audience – your ideal customer. Can you do this?

You should. These are the individuals with whom you want to talk. They are the ones whose “offense-o-meater” you should worry about.

When you consider where to walk the line between offending and getting remembered, put yourself in your target audience’s shoes. If you were them, would your taglines, slogans, ad copy, and eblasts upset you?

If you answered yes, rethink your language.

Similarly, ask yourself if they are something you would remember. If you answered no, DEFINITELY rethink your language.

How does your business walk the line?