Come. Sit. Stay.
Over Christmas, my wife and I finally decided to get a puppy. It was a very tough decision for me, having lost my extremely well-trained dog a few years ago. My favorite trick I taught him was to ask him, “What’s on top of a house?” to which he would reply, “Woof.” Now we are currently going through the long, long process of training a new puppy. If we don’t train him, our furniture will be torn to shreds, and we’ll have lovely smelling “chocolate kisses” all over the house. I had almost forgotten how daunting, time-consuming, and frustrating training could be. There are a few things I keep reminding myself to not get discouraged. Repetition. Reward. And Patience.
Because we just don’t speak the same language; he’s an infant, and he doesn’t even know who I am or his own name. It’s Brian. He just looked like a Brian. And his favorite toy, Stewie. So it’s, “Brian, come. Brian, sit. Brian, stay. Good dog.” Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. After a few days, he seems to be getting it. We’re starting to communicate.
Why would Brian even want to Come, Sit, or Stay unless there’s some sort of reward? Otherwise, it’s all just random noise. Every time he understands what I’m telling him, it’s followed by a head rub, a “Good Boy.” And a treat. Repeat. After a while, he starts to anticipate what I might say next just for a little head rub and the possibility of a snack.
I need to have patience with him for the most part. It just takes time. If he doesn’t want to Come, Sit, or Stay at that moment, I just need to remember that he will when he wants a treat or attention. Or maybe, Brian’s trying to tell me something. “Is Stewie stuck in the well, again?” He will Come. He will Sit. He will Stay. Eventually.
So after letting Brian out for lunch and getting back to work. I’m resizing ads for the 1000th time on another ad campaign. I notice something familiar. I am still training. I am helping train people to Come, Sit, and Stay. And I am also the one that is being trained. As a cause or business, we try to communicate to our audience to Come, Sit, and Stay in the same way as I’m trying to train Brian. Repetition. Reward. And Patience.
The brands, businesses, causes, and interests that call to us repeatedly in an appealing way are all trying to get our attention to Come, Sit, and Stay. And if they don’t call to us, you can be sure that there is another that will.
We get rewarded when we Come, Sit, and Stay mostly by the product, cause, or service itself. And we’ll get rewarded in other ways too when we consistently come back. Who doesn’t like Bonus Points or Discounts or just Free stuff? We trust what we can expect from a Brand, Service, or Cause, and we stay because we like the experience and we like how we communicate with our Brand.
Success doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a little patience before we see results from our campaigns. But we watch and see what the measured data is telling us and listen to what customers are trying to tell us. We will sniff around all sorts of places to try and get the best deal or service before we consistently Come, Sit, and Stay. If we don’t want something or we don’t like how it looks, or worse, if we’re ignored, we are sure to leave all kinds of “smelly chocolate kisses” in a review or a post.
Judging by the amount of cleaning supplies and air freshener I’ve used in the past few months, I sometimes wonder if any of my training has worked at all. But it’s beyond just the Come, Sit, and Stay or just basic training. He’s a part of the family now, and we’re starting to build a relationship and communicating with each other. And it shows when he greets me every day. And it shows when I go to my favorite restaurant, and my drink is already waiting. It shows in the way I’m greeted at my local grocery store or gas station, and it shows in the way I participate in the causes that are important to me.