Wednesday, June 28, 2017

I'm now her

Back in the mid-1980s, I worked as an in-house creative for a major hair care manufacturer. That job was the most fun I ever had at work. I got to hang out with the guys in the lab who tested new products and I learned a great deal about hair chemistry. I learned how to read ingredient statements and write the corresponding claims that appear on the bottles, cans and boxes.

As a result, I know how to shop. I know that price and packaging are not a dependable indicator of quality or results. And I'm a smart consumer ... except for hairspray.

Because back in the mid-1980s, I saw the demographics for Aqua Net. They weren't scientific, they were anecdotal reports from distributors. But they were brutal. Aqua Net was the brand of choice of blue-haired old ladies who favored helmet hair. The ones who like to get lacquered up after sitting under the bonnet hair dryer.

For me, buying Aqua Net has always meant I've given up. Never mind that, with its price point, it's a better deal than just about anything else on the store shelf. This isn't about product performance. It's about self respect.

As of last weekend, I lost all self respect. Nothing else at Walgreens was on sale. Not even Suave or White Rain! So, for the first time, Aqua Net made its way into my shopping bag.

I'm now her. I'm now the blue-haired old lady.

Here's further proof: After my client presentation Monday, I had hours to kill before my train. I was stressed. I was exhausted. I deserved a treat, so I took myself to a local salon and got a 30-minute massage.

It was not until this morning, when I disrobed for my Tuesday shower, that I took note of the undies I had worn on the massage table. Not only were they my big old cotton granny panties, the elastic was frayed.

I'm now her.

Self portrait. See? My hair's not blue!

"That's why we love you, Gal"

Very happy to report that Monday's client presentation went well. The work was well received. I presented it old-school, with a deck and going over it page-by-page. Sitting at the conference table, surrounded by my clients. Low-tech, I know, but highly personal -- important because this account is all about the relationship. And, when I present on paper that way, I don't have to worry about computer compatibility or playing "who's got the dongle," or any of the other higher-tech that always go wrong.

I know this my client's business cold. I'm a major geek and my enthusiasm carried the day. At one point, when I was talking about my passion for getting around the client's compliance department in my quest to collect customer email addresses, I blurted, "If I could go door-to-door and ask for addresses, I would." Then, worried I went too far, I added, "I'm sorry, but I'm more than a little passionate about this."

"And that's why we love you, Gal," said my client. I was very happy my boss was in the room to hear that. Our styles are very different and I think he views my enthusiasm as frivolous. I'm glad he got to see that the client responds to my authenticity.