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Imagine three different people:

  • A is focusing on his strengths, basically ignoring his weaknesses.
  • B focus on his weaknesses, overseeing his strengths.
  • C is aware of his strengths and weaknesses and attends to both.

Which one would you like to hang out with?

I know, a pretty easy choice.

It’s not about strengths and weaknesses. It’s about loving oneself.

No brand is perfect. All have flaws. Apple is not social. BMW can be too German. But the great brands embrace both their strengths and their weaknesses. Including the parts where one is inferior and sometimes even socially unacceptable. They understand that these weak parts of their brand personality are burdensome and intolerable. And they need to change. But they carry this burden with a smile and acceptance: Yes, things must change but we’re still happy about where we are. Trying hard and letting go at the same time. Being always the harshest judge of themselves and the best friend.

Brands have real problems embracing weaknesses.

Proud brand managers and their agencies crave perfection in their charges.  But I think weakness, or even fallibility, is a great thing in a brand. Shared weakness is something we bond over, which is why brands often bounce back so well from a seemingly calamitous public failing – just think Jet Blue. They were dead in the water. And now they are stronger than ever. Brands become much easier to relate to, and embrace, when they don’t pretend to be perfect. Because weakness, at least as much as love, is the universal language. It frees us to acknowledge the obstacles we face and build the capacities we need to perform at our best.