Rejected? Try Hippo Skin!

A hippopotamus has skin that’s an inch and a half thick and is 25% of its total body weight.  For an animal that weighs 1,800 kilos, that’s a lot of skin.

It’s almost impenetrable (some say bullet proof) and yet a hippo’s very survival out of water depends on a coating of oil it secretes that acts as a moisturiser and sun-screen.  So even though a hippo sports some of the best body armour in the animal kingdom, it still needs to adapt when called for.

It occurs to me that when it comes to dealing with rejection, sometimes hippo skin would come in very handy.

As a marketer, you face rejection every day.

If you didn’t then you’d have 100% market share of your desired audience and your job would be very different (if it existed at all) and probably very boring.

They reject your story, your offer, your product or your service. They do it in every way from very individual decisions to unorganised, uncorrelated groups despite your best, most internally satisfying or externally rewarded efforts.

It may be that the product you thought was so feature-laden that nobody in their right mind would reject it, didn’t have the right benefits to shift or transform your audiences behaviour.  It may be the creative treatment that looked so good in the presentation failed to tap into your audience and convert entertainment to action, or that the tactical execution, telling the story or media channel plans didn’t hit their desired mark.

There are, of course, many more reasons rejection can happen.  Yet, it does happen and we ignore the signs, continuing down the same well-trodden path, expecting a different outcome and proving Einstein’s attributed point of the definition of insanity.

We fail to adjust.  We fail to secrete the oil and change the scheme needed to ensure our survival.

The best pitch-winners and deal-makers I’ve known aren’t immune to rejection.  They’ve simply mastered the process of turning it around.

Rejection has a highly negative connotation.  It’s in your face and ripe to be taken very personally because “no” is difficult to hear (in this context).

Thankfully, insightful information can be gleaned from rejection, waving a flag at the need to shift, adapt, alter, adjust or outright change the brand, offer, product or the promotion of it.  You just need to be open to the learning.

Of course, you should never expect rejection and must take every planning step necessary to prevent its onset.

When it happens though, pretend that you’re wrapped in the skin of a hippo, be impenetrable to the negative outcomes of rejection and instead use the positive value it serves to re-draw your attack.

Further, while I write this in the context of marketing rejection, if you’re a job seeker, out-placed (which is a nice way of saying retrenched), a SME business owner, corporate marketer, entrepreneur or start-up (all of which I have experience in), then the insight isn’t too different.

Leave a Comment

NOTE - You can use these HTML tags and attributes:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>