The advertising world can be quite confusing, be it an advertisement on social media, television, billboards, websites or newspapers. On one hand, it makes you feel its need and/or want, it's famous so you must have it. On the other, it makes you think about the worth of the products or services in terms of quality and finance, in the short and long term.
The marketing strategies of companies and their advertisements are getting deceitful and exaggerated. Many companies exaggerate their strengths, they exaggerate the weaknesses of the customers or clients; they exaggerate the benefits of being a part of them to their employees and exaggerate the impact to the society and the world, at large.
A part of the population falls in the trap, continues to feel a sense of false satisfaction of having something the majority of the world has or that's popular, that has a "brand value" and "visibility" and may receive the harmful side, suffering without proper knowledge of it. Another part of the population promotes it, without using it, showing an association, without having a real or proper one, not having any confidence to take a stance, being in the good books of all parties concerned. Yet another part of the population criticises it to extremes and be on the receiving end of the bullying or personal or professional attack. There are many variables, however, the ones mentioned above are the most common.
Most companies would rather "show" problems than "solve" real problems, eventually "creating" more problems. This is because operating in the lack of mentality is easier than operating in the abundance mentality. The latter requires more vision, clarity, effort and grassroots connection and understanding of reality whereas the former requires shortcuts using money, marketing, "connections that matter," showing and saying what sells quick. As a result of it, the customers suffer, their trust betrayed, the damage has gone undiagnosed, unfixed, sometimes not even easily repairable. Also, once a customer senses anything wrong or any damage, much effort goes into hiding the flaws, the weaknesses instead of fixing the problem so that the circles don't find out, more excuses thrown around to clear up the mess from the top. It's difficult to realise, accept, and having the courage to ask for help when the truth isn't clear.
Companies can easily bend the truth, sell lies, have false claims on the basis of the power of money, associations, alumni, numbers and statistics, hashtags and viral phrases of social impact to market their products and services. They are scared to walk the talk, afraid to share the truth or their honest struggle, exposing their vulnerability to their customers, clients or competitors thinking that will result in losses, exploitation and harm. They would rather hide reality and make the public believe in an imaginary world with absolute and standard states that don't and cannot exist.
Lack mentality is what the world operates on and sucks profits and benefits from, be it in businesses or relationships. It's easier, it's quick, it's immediate results and "happiness" for a few moments and longer and deeper suffering for the leader and the follower, for the business and the customer, for both partners, ongoing suffering for humanity at large.
It's time that businesses step up and raise their standards of ethics, that they walk the reality, talk the reality, operate and train their people and create systems on the basis of reality and sell the reality. Only when the reality is the basis of business, will real problems be solved, real profits be earned, real impact is created. How a person, a leader or follower does business reflects their personal beliefs, practices and what they stand for. Professional life and personal life are deeply connected. When we operate in reality professionally, we have more courage and confidence to operate in reality personally and vice versa. Only when we operate in reality, will we be able to reduce the suffering inside us, outside us and around us.
(Madiha Ahmed is a Mentor at USA based McFerrin Center For Entrepreneurship, Mentor at Canada-based Skills for Change, Career Mentor at UK based University of Westminster, at India-based Jobs For Her)