Lion or Lamb? What’s your approach?


We’ve all heard the saying that the month of March comes “in like a lion, out like a lamb.”

The month of March storms in with cold, harsh wintery weather, blasting us with the last snows and freezing air of the season. By the end of the month, spring is tip-toeing in as we start to see more mellow temperatures, slightly longer days, and the first blades of grass peeking out from the melting snow.

Much like the weather, your voice and marketing messages can be harsh or can be breezy. It’s up to you to decide how you want to approach it.

Lion or Lamb? What’s your marketing approach?

The Lion.

No one likes the lion. By the time March rolls around, everyone is sick and tired of the cold and more than ready for warmer days. When you approach your marketing – especially social comments and reviews – like a lion, people are similarly turned off.

Consider the many news stories making the rounds of business owners who jumped to the defensive when a customer wrote a negative review. Instead of calmly addressing the issues and vowing to do better, they came in guns blazing telling the customer just how wrong they are (and then some). How do you think that makes that customer – and potential customers – feel about that business?

The Lamb.

The lamb is warm and cuddly, and never harsh. After a long, dreary winter people are happy to have the soft breeze and warm sunshine that comes with the start of spring. If you’re approaching your messaging as a lamb, who wouldn’t love you?

It’s easy to get caught up in always pleasing the customer. But how often are you bending over backwards to “fix” something that isn’t your fault? How many gift certificates and free services are you providing as soon as a client says boo? There’s a time and a place for apologies and “make goods” when a customer is upset – that’s good customer service, after all – but it can quickly become too much. What’s the point of your processes if you never stick to them?

So, which is better?

Your best bet is a little bit of both. You want to make sure your customers feel valued and that their experience matters to you. You don’t want to let your pride get in the way of improving your business. However, it’s important to stand your ground when you have an opportunity to stay true to your core values and business model.

The answer? Be a lion and a lamb, using both tactics as appropriate:

  • Always consider your customer’s opinion
  • Carefully listen to what they have to say
  • Politely (and gently) correct them if they misunderstood
  • Always offer to take the conversation offline – to phone, email, or in-person conversation
  • Clearly show future customers that you care about your clientele

You’re proud of your business. You should be! And we all know the old adage “the customer is always right” isn’t really true. In your marketing messages, make sure you’re standing up for your business while respecting customers, their experiences, and their opinions.