2017-06-18 / Marketplace

BUILDING BRANDS

Curiosity is king
EMILY CASWELL

I returned home a month ago from a trip to Atlanta to find my neighbor’s yard covered in little flags and markings from spray paint cans. Their backyard was pretty tore up and I had a feeling I knew exactly what was happening. They were getting a pool!

I’ve written before about my love of pools so you better believe I wasn’t going to wait to find out what was happening. It was 7 a.m., but I had to know. I logged onto social media and posted to my neighbor’s page. “Nosy neighbor alert, but is that a pool going in? And if so, how do I get a membership?” She was kind enough to respond quickly. And just a few weeks later there is now a pool and I’m welcome as long as I bring wine.

I used to blame my nosy ways on my profession. Reporters are required to ask a lot questions. But honestly, I have always been this way. I truly believe that being nosy makes me a better friend, wife, sister, daughter and neighbor. I like to know what other people are up to and how they are. I like fellow nosy people. Plus, other neighbors need to know how many pools are in our neighborhood and who likes company. There is no shame in my nosy game.

As an added bonus, curiosity is also good for business. (By the way, nosy is defined as being too curious. As someone who is willing to answer just as many questions as I ask, I’m not sure too curious is a thing, but I digress). Our Advertising Director Pete Clinton recently shared an article with the sales team by Mike Renahan titled “How Curious Are You? 13 Signs of Curiosity and Why it Matters in Sales.” In the piece Renahan details traits of curious people. They include:

• You love to learn

• You live to solve problems

• Questions don’t scare you

• You’ll talk about anything

• Virtually nothing bores you

• You question everything

• You don’t mind extra hours

• You’re self-motivated

• You keep positive

• You’re naturally empathetic

• You love to achieve

• You’re creative

• You stay in the moment

How many of those apply to you? If it’s just a few of them, my advice is to work on the other traits. Curiosity is a key to success in many fields, not just sales.

An article by Warren Berger in the Harvard Business Review talks about a 2015 PwC survey of more than a thousand CEOs. From the article “a number of (CEOs) cited ‘curiosity’ and ‘open-mindedness’ as leadership traits that are becoming increasingly critical in challenging times.”

And while I’m sure I was born with my curious ways, Ian Leslie, author of the book Curious, says in that same Harvard Business Review article that “curiosity is actually more of a state than a trait.” From the article “We all have the potential to be curious, given the right conditions … Leslie notes that curiosity seems to bubble up when we are exposed to new information and then find ourselves wanting to know more.”

That’s good news for those who don’t feel curiosity comes naturally. You can get curious pretty easy. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Go outside. Nature is full of unknowns that will get your brain going.

Book a brainstorm: Get your team members together to discuss a challenge or new idea. Just a week ago Clinton and I were brainstorming on a new event concept. This happens to be one of the most funs things I do, because I always start by asking myself “If any location, budget and number of team members were available to me, what would I do?” I shared that idea and then we went from there deciding what is feasible. (Hint: What we came up with is amazing and I can’t wait to go public with it!)

Read the paper! Chances are you’ll want to know more about something in these pages.

Watch Netflix (or better yet, research how Netflix came to be, it’s one of many startups born out of curiosity!) TV and movies always get my brain going.

Once you get your curiosity juices flowing, start asking questions about your brand. Who are we? What do we do? What do our customers think about us? Could we do things better? It’s important to revisit these questions often to ensure that your brand has a consistent and strong message.

If you find that those questions are too difficult to answer, call me. I’m curious about your brand and our team has the tools to make sure that when others are curious about your brand, you know exactly how to answer their questions. And in case you were curious, I’ll ask my neighbor if we can meet by her pool. Call me at 810-452-2608 or email me at ecaswell@mihomepaper.com. Emily Caswell is the brand manager for the View Group of companies.

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