The truth about the Jeremy Clarkson row

Not to state the obvious but behaviour is vital. Yet it would appear that very few organisations or individuals understand how their behaviour is seen and felt – and that is all a ‘brand’ is. A feeling. Still the walls have finally fallen. Gone are the days when brands could spin their own story and behave as they pleased. This is a world defined by the crowd and they mind. If you want to succeed in this climate you have to do embrace two things.

1. You must understand what you look like to others. How you ‘package’ is vital.

2. You have to learn to love those haters!

Take Jeremy Clarkson. A man resolutely himself, much loved and widely loathed – a child at heart with an independent streak who connects with all sorts of people, of all sorts of creeds across the globe and makes them laugh. But this hasn’t been his finest
week. In light of the column miles dedicated to his use of a word, Clarkson apologised using a video channel to do so in common with our modern times! It didn’t really work for him. Instead, he should have embraced his detractors and ridden out the storm.
Do we really believe he is a racist, as the sensitive liberals or Twitter trolls would have us believe? Or just a man guilty of puerile behaviour? Whatever, his apology fuelled the backlash.

Clarkson, like many brands need a strong outside view to avoid other people being given the chance to tell their story. They need to learn to take advice but not of the ‘trust me’ kind – the kind that addresses the behaviour we don’t recognise ourselves. The
blindingly obvious is seldom just that, and past experience is rarely your friend these days – a strong filter bubble is. We need to get outside of the normal view and begin to understand exactly what ‘trust’ means. Then we need a critical friend who can ask
the right questions. Empathy is a much banded notion in a world defined by experience. But as we question things critically and impartially, we can begin to gather empathy for people and then we see it doesn’t have to be like this. “This” being a fast, out
of control communications landscape. We can define and control our own story, circumvent the naysayers and just be ourselves.

Blindingly obvious? Of course.

Mark Borkowski presents his new talk – Adore the haters. Chinwag Psych London 2014 Thu, 15 May 2014

Starting at 9am WHERELondon, Museum of LondonUK