Lessons from the farm on how not to be paralyzed by fear.

By Luke Sklar and Amber Hudson

Fear.  It can sufficiently rankle nerves to cause instant paralysis; both the physical and mental kind.  Take myotonic goats for example.   When startled the leg muscles of these little guys freeze temporarily.  The result is as adorable as it is hilarious.  Check out the video.

Just for the fun of it, let’s compare marketers to goats.  There are many things that strike fear in marketers, hitting them with such speed that BAM!  before they know it…temporary paralysis, legs up in the air:

–       The most recent rolled up estimates are shorter than Snookie’s skirts

–       Your brand gets de-listed by WalMart (after all those soul-sucking meetings to get it listed in the first place)

–       A Costa Concordia-esque crisis

–       The President’s teenaged son kills the latest ad campaign idea with a simple “I don’t like it”

–       If finally hits you: your brand is the Nokia / Blackberry of the category

–       Negative chatter online (Gap logo anyone?)

–       Hitting “reply all” on an email summarizing the empirical evidence that supports your boss is a jackass

–       The new hire quits while 6 employees are on mat leave

–       Tiger Woods and Roger Clemens are your spokespeople

–       The typo on your coupon results in 5x the forecasted redemption rate

I’m sure you’ve had your own myotonic moments.  But it’s not about what happened, it’s about how you respond that counts.  After indulging in a brief “what the…?” those little goats get back up and keep on going.  Here’s what marketers can learn from these goats in the moment of crisis:

  1. If you need to, lie down for a moment, and collect yourself
  2. Then get up and define the problem
  3. Identify 3 – 4 solutions, engage in scenario planning
  4. Enter the conversation as soon as possible
  5. Get smart people in a room to develop a thought-through solution
  6. Don’t over react, that just makes it a whole lot worse

So the next time you’re faced with crisis, just think what the fainting goat would do.