Seeking love in the corporate world
… or, Everything You Need to Know About Developing a Client Relationship Boys II Men Already Told You.
… or, How to Establish a Personal Brand by Following Boyz II Men: 20th Century Masters The Millennium Collection.
… or, Don’t Leave Your Copywriter With an Hour of Free Time.
Spotify playlist to accompany this post: What Boyz II Men Teaches Us
(Note 1: For the course of this article remember the “z” at the end of Boyz is forgiven because it was the 90s and it wouldn’t be fair if the world’s greatest living R&B soul singers also had perfect taste. They made up for it in coordinated suits, canes, a bundle of hits and one leathery deep and honest voice.)
(Note 2: The composition of 20th Century Masters does not mirror the order in which songs were released over the Boyz’ career — or is it Boyz’s? Wow, that’s a tricky one. Analysis uses the order of this album.)
(Note 3: If you don’t like Boyz II Men, move to Alaska where it’s dark for long periods of time. Your life already lacks light. It’ll be comfortable for you.)
(Note 3b.1.: If you want to continue down 90s Soul Lane, play the following (none on the level of Boyz, but contemporaries):
- Next – “Too Close”
- Tyrese – “Sweet Lady”
- Brian McNight – “Back at One”
- Dru Hill or Sysco – all
- Babyface (writer extraordinaire, penned a number of tracks below) – “When Can I See You”
- K-Ci & JoJo – you know exactly what song
- Jagged Edge – “Let’s Get Married”
- 112 – All songs
- Seal – “Kiss From a Rose”
- Blackstreet – Everyone knows “No Diggity,” all of the Another Level album is good, “Don’t Leave Me” especially. (Note 3b.2. If you want to hear a good new take on “No Diggity” find the Swedish Idol contestant Olle Hedberg playing it acoustically.))
[Deep voice] Listen, baby. Stop right there. This is a blog. Yeah it’s overwritten and flowery and way too long and it ain’t what you were expecting, but be patient. It’s gonna take a while. We got time.
Boyz II Men is the greatest. Period. Stop. Greatest. Yeah, there is another greatest in every other genre but for what they do they are the best. What they do is make love to ears, in the most non-offensive way, and what they did was convince a bunch of chumps for a long time that, with a cassette, they could be the smoothest cat on the block. For the purpose of our discussion, one of their greatest hits collections provides a roadmap for establishing a respected — er, loved — relationship with a client, and thus a trusted personal brand. A brand people will spend time with, take home and, well [deep voice] you know, baby.
One – “End of the Road” (You have to make a big splash at the start)
Boyz II Men’s magnum opus, End of the Road opens the collection and unfolds as follows. [Deep voice] “Girl you know we belong together / I don’t have no time for you to be playing with my heart like this / You’ll be mine forever, baby.” …… [High voice, medium voice, sexy lyrics, high voice, sexy talk] …… [Chorus: All voices] …. Etc…. Etc… This is your stake in the ground. A great first project. An impactful “You better be listening” statement. Deliver the goods and get them wrapped around your finger. If you need it, stop the introduction song 3:35 in and use your deep voice again to drive home the message that both parties belong together.
Two – “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday” (You have to do it twice)
Keep delivering the goods. Stay on message. This partnership will work and I’m not going to give it up.
Three – “Motownphilly” – Original Version (You have to share your personality)
Be youthful and fun once you have their attention. Get in the dance. Move. (During “Motownphilly” you think this album has peaked too soon. Then Track 6 drops.)
Four – “In The Still Of The Nite (I’ll Remember)” (You can do the basics, too)
Yeah, you’re hip. You gave your client something awesome. Something memorable. Get back to basics. Deliver a good, clean brochure. Give them a staple, a tune reminiscent of what they’ve already had just with added spice. Familiar made great. “… Shoowop shoowaaa shoowop shoowaaa…” (See Note 1 about the misspelling of night.)
Five – “Uhh Ahh” – Original Version (You sometimes trip)
Okay, you messed up and missed a deadline. Admit it, make up for it and move on. Everyone makes mistakes.
Six – “I’ll Make Love To You” (You have to eventually make the big pitch)
(Note 4: When you put Boyz II Men on for a lady back in the day, the smart play was to throw out an initial dance move, a sideways hip thrust with a smile, as if you were trying to tap the push lock on a doorknob with your coin pocket, and if she laughed you laughed and kept dancing. If she took it seriously and danced, you danced. If she did neither she could walk back to her parents’ house. Constantly judge your audiences state of mind. Do they have a sense of humor?)
Stop. Pull the shades. Dim your computer screen. “Close your eyes / Make a wish.” You’ve put in the work. “We’re gonna celebrate.” Your customers have come to love you, be loyal to you, accept what your selling as what they need. Now, “pour the wine.” “Throw your” big pitch “on the” counter. It’s time to make the big sell. Bring it home. “And I will not let go until” it’s a reasonable time to “let go,” like 5:30 p.m., yeah, 5:30 p.m. is reasonable time to go home. “I’lllllllllll make” money. “And I’ll hollllllddd youuuuuu,” on line 1. Seriously, got someone on the other line. Back in a minute.
But really. Once they trust you, convince them to take on a project or idea that would have scared them before. They trust you. Lead them to something wonderful. [Deep voice] And, then… No, never mind.
Seven – “Thank you” (You have to say ‘thank you’)
This song is the holiday card you send after the client relationship has been good for a while. It’s not really awesome, because you spent all your time on client work.
Eight – “Water Runs Dry” (You have to remind them occasionally why they chose you)
You’ve grown as a company. The client relationship has grown with you. Your product is trusted and just when they are starting to wonder if you’ve still got it, you give them what you gave them on Track 1 — everything you are.
Nine – “4 Seasons Of Loneliness” (You have to be consistent)
By now they trust you and you keep delivering.
Ten – “A Song For Mama” (You have to be better)
Everyone has a song for Mama in some respect. Ozzie Osbourne. Carrie Underwood. TuPac. Kanye West. It’s obligatory. If you don’t have it people will notice. In business, there will always be a lot of people who do what you do, who can offer the same services. Just do it better. Use your deep voice. Use what separated you in the first place. Trade in the ball cap for tails and a cane occasionally, but, really, do what you do and do it better.
Competitors will fall and you will soar.
Soar. Oh. Forgot “I Believe I Can Fly.” Amend Note 3b.1.