Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

It’s an Election Day edition of our TunesDay screed.  You might think this is the one day of the year when things get political in this space and you’d be wrong.  However, one thing that culminates on this day is campaigning.  No matter which party you support or on which ticket you’re running, the last few weeks have been about communicating and that’s what led me to this week’s tune.

Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood was written in for Nina Simone and came out in 1964.  A year later, the song was released by a British band that sped up the tempo and added a signature riff throughout.  This was the result:

I’ve loved this song since then and it’s been reinterpreted by dozens of artists since its release by The Animals.  To me, it makes a great point both for Election Day as well as for business.

Baby, do you understand me now?
Sometimes I feel a little mad
But don’t you know that no one alive can always be an angel
When things go wrong I feel real bad.

I’m just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood

We live in a time when communication has never been easier.  Explaining how one feels or where one stands on an issue should be simple – much more so than 30 years ago when there were no digital communications.  Ironically, both for politicians and for businesses, it’s exactly the opposite.  The tools have made communication so simple that the noise level is almost impenetrable.  There are thousands of voices competing for attention where dozens competed not long ago.

The result is that customers – and the electorate is a customer base – tend to listen to a very limited set of information.  They tend to hear what they want to hear from sources that they’ve chosen out of the morass.  Businesses – and political messages – get misunderstood because their messages are either unheard or undermined by competing signals (and that seems to be where our political system is these days – “gotcha” over substance).

As businesspeople we ought to be focused on not being misunderstood as much as we are on the getting a message out at all.  After all, one misinformed customer can spark a firestorm of social media backlash.  Election results are when we see how well understood candidates are.  Every day is when you find that out about your business.

Did you vote yet?

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Filed under digital media, Music, Thinking Aloud

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