HR & Management

Every company across the globe needs a bullsh*t radar

5 min read

30 September 2016

The bullsh*t meter is a subjective determination of what deserves attention in a world full of clickbait and limitless content, so we spoke with three experts on why businesses need one – and the way consumers use it.

As far as Matthew Bennett, CCO of ZAK, is concerned, it’s easy to get pulled into a world of the marketing industry talking to itself. A downward spiral of self-serving, self-referential terminology and models that have evolved over time and created many sub disciplines and branches within the more simple task of advertising or marketing a product or service to a consumer.

“If ever I feel like a brief or an answer to a brief is on that slippery slope to being completely self absorbed, that’s when my bullsh*t radar pings,” he explained. “I try and get myself into the head of the end user, consumer, audience, community (whatever you want to call the person at the end of the message) and ask if it all makes sense. Is it clear, do I get it, or do I smell bullsh*t?”

“Good ideas work because they are clear and easy to understand by the recipient. That’s why in our agency we always start every project at the audience. I’m not for one-minute suggesting ideas need to be clear to everyone because I’m a big fan of targeting. But, if they have the sharp edges knocked off them by a channel or media plan, or if they lose their clarity because they’ve been reviewed by committee, it’s often a last resort to prop them up with bullsh*t rationale and complicated reasoning. If its good, it works, and it will change whatever is in the brief that needed to be changed.”

But lets be honest here, it’s so easy to fall upon content that doesn’t reflect the brand. If you’re waging war in a highly competitive industry then you either get innovating or start pulling your values apart in an effort to get to the top. Note that the value part is key – at least so says YouTuber Casey Neistat.

He routinely pulls in millions of views, and he’s chalked his success down to the power of transparency. That’s right, no bullsh*t in sight. Consumers apparently know straight away when you’re not feeding them the real deal.

“Viewers have bullsh*t sensors that are beyond any of our understanding,” he said. “Their bullsh*t sensors are so, so, so sensitive, so hypersensitive to the slightest scent of bullsh*t. So you have to create content that will penetrate that.”

It’s not for nothing that people say “inauthentic managers” influence a businesses’ bottom line. And it’s all because someone failed to communicate their purpose and values.

But what helps? Millenials apparently!

Dana Theus, founder of InPowerCoaching.com, swears by them. She explained: “The biggest gift I believe Millennials bring to the workplace is that they’re a great BS meter to help you and your business stay real and connected to the market and the employee base.

“Everyone needs a BS meter! It’s all too easy for the ‘adults’ running the business to get out of touch with what’s going on with customers, front line employees and ‘the way things really work around here.’ Just in managing the typical overwhelm of the average workplace, most of us give up trying to weed out the BS. It becomes easier to believe our own press and reward a culture around us that doesn’t challenge us to do more, be more and innovate. Too often we find ourselves doing things because we’ve done them before, not because they still make sense.”

Image: Shutterstock

With Infosecurity 2016, arguably the biggest security show in Europe, just around the corner I’ve been thinking about all the new technologies, innovations, standards and trends that will be displayed over this coming week – and how many organisations still rely way too heavily on simple blind trust.