#FailFolder

I keep a #failfolder. It’s a file with screenshots of other organization’s marketing and communication mistakes. Is that bad? I do it to keep my mistakes in perspective. The screenshots here are just a couple that I have gathered over the years.

If you are a communication or marketing professional, you have made public mistakes. I’m not talking about major crisis… I’m talking about little things like typos in newsletters or press releases, a rogue email, inappropriate words in social posts or wrong names on award recognition powerpoint presentations (I’ve done all of those things, plus more). These are minor in the grande scheme of life, but super embarrassing for a seasoned communicator.

Your work is public. It’s “out there” for everyone critique and criticize.

Being a professional communicator and marketing pro can be tricky. How many things have your written that have been compelling, entertaining, and typo-free that no one comments on? Then one email with a broken link and your inbox is full of well intentioned people telling you “that link didn’t work in your email.” Yeah, I know.

My department uses Microsoft Teams to stay in touch. One of our Teams’ channels is called “the crying room.” It *might* be the most used channel. This is where we announce our mistakes, vent about unfortunate situations, and post gifs of adults and children crying.

There’s something therapeutic about confessing your mistakes: “The link in the email that just went out to 2,000 people doesn’t work” or “I found a typo in last year’s annual report.” Other communication pros feel your pain. The sad face emoji response makes you feel a teeny bit better. You know you are not alone. Others have #BeenThereDoneThat. And someone else has probably made a bigger mistake.

But all is not lost – there can be some good that comes from these mistakes. Like how one of the biggest typos led to one of the most nostalgic holiday traditions ever.

Why are we so enthralled with #fails? Search “worst fails” and you get a mind boggling list of Zoom and quarantine fails (most relevant during this #COVIDchaos time), friend fails, marketing fails and a ton more. There’s #Fail events like FailCon, Fail Festival, Epic Fail and others where people talk about their biggest mistakes. Nailed it! is a Netflix show that’s basically promoting cooking mishaps.

We learn so much from failure. It’s almost like a community… something that connects you to others. Everyone screws up. Everyone makes mistakes.

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” ~Henry Ford.

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