Brené Brown’s TED Talk The Power of Vulnerability has garnered nearly 15 million views since it first aired 4 years ago and years later still has Ted Talk lovers talking. Brené shares her story—or as she calls it “data with soul”—researching what drives human connection and fulfillment. In her talk she shares her personal struggle to accept the findings of her research, effectively bringing soul to the research she shares by opening the floodgates for empathy and a greater emotional connection between her research and audience.
As one might of guessed from the title of the TED Talk, Brené uncovers the importance of vulnerability for humans to build the authentic, quality connections that produce happiness and success.
Brené’s lesson on Vulnerability is one that applies to entrepreneurs and small business owners.
In the age of social media and mass digitized community, customers are communicating in two way conversation with businesses—sometimes with positive feedback and other times with negative. Companies who use moments of criticism to revel in their vulnerability and admit their need to change successfully humanize their brand and grow their relationship with customers.
Businesses that fail to embrace vulnerability when faced with adversity risk losing the respect, trust and preference of their customers.
Veet’s apology for airing a commercial that many considered sexist and homophobic further upset hoards of women from their target audience. Perhaps if Veet’s message had acknowledged both their marketing team’s vulnerability and validated their customers’ frustrations with the advert the overwhelming response would have been more positive:
Sharing vulnerability provides opportunity for businesses to impress upon the emotions of their customers.
Apple’s open apology to customers after launching it’s Map application, in stark comparison, serves as an emblem for how vulnerability and honesty provides an opportunity for relationship building. In this letter Apple admits to their inexcusable failure to build an application that meets their customers’ expectations and even goes so far as to suggest alternative solutions from competitors. Most businesses fear that admitting to imperfection makes them vulnerable to losing customers, however Tim Cook’s apology only further strengthened the commitment of Apple’s supporters:
Still not convinced on the need for vulnerability in relationship building? Then it’s time you hear from the Vulnerability storyteller-guru herself.