Is There An Energy Vampire in Your Organization?

There’s a creative concept I learned in graduate school that’s served me well throughout my career. It’s called Vampire Video, and refers to a TV ad with a big, shiny executional flourish that distracts from the message of the ad.

But hey – I’m a strategist, so let’s ladder up to strategy! There are those who can drain life from the strategic planning process that precedes making ads. They are well represented by one of the more clever TV characters I’ve encountered named Colin Robinson. He’s one of the stars of What We Do in the Shadows, now in its fifth hilarious, outrageous season.

Colin, played brilliantly by the actor Mark Proksch, doesn’t drain you of your blood. He’s an energy vampire, one who drains every ounce of vitality by boring you to death and feeding off your energy.

He’s the guy you don’t want to sit next to on the plane. He’s the waiter that hangs around the table too long. He’s the guy who won’t let you walk away from the most trivial, boring conversation you’ve ever heard. He goes off on tangents and talks in circles. He holds you captive in his miserable, never-ending monologue about nonsense.

The character works so well because he’s someone we all know or someone we’ve encountered.

One version of Colin is the acquaintance who thinks he/she is your friend. They call you up, ask how you’re doing, cut you off in mid-sentence and then go on and on about themselves until you can’t stand it anymore and contrive and excuse to get off the phone as soon as possible.

These people aren’t your friends. They’re narcissists who are to be avoided!

Another type of energy vampire is the marketing person who probably shouldn’t be in marketing. They use tired cliches and stilted language to demonstrate that they’re the ultimate, savvy business insider.

They talk innovation but crave the comfort of cowardice. They favor process over substance. Inertia is their best friend., They tell you they’ve tried that before and it doesn’t work. They come up with a myriad of problems, some real but most imagined, as rationale for not acting on an initiative. They are one trick ponies, always getting back to some nebulous, misapplied They always know what’s wrong but also haven’t a clue about what’s right.

If this person is your superior, probably best to look for another job in another company that doesn’t encourage or tolerate this behavior. It you’re a manager, these are not the people you want working for you.

Our job as marketers – and certainly the strategic planning role I play most often in my engagements – is to infuse energy into the process.

Don’t be an Energy Vampire!

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