“You can’t be everything to everybody, but you can be everything to somebody.” – Trent Shelton
A while back, flipping through Facebook Reels (those short videos that are seemingly provided at random) I stopped to listen to what appeared to be a band’s street busking performance. They were performing Cab Calloway’s 1931 recording, “Minnie the Moocher” in what appeared to be a neighborhood or town square.
An impassioned performance if there ever was one, but supposed street buskers, you hear as the lead singer strained and reached the sounds and notes with his voice and the uniqueness of his incorporation of a kazoo into the mix. As a fan of folk and roots music, I immediately checked the comments to see who these guys were and in what city they played.
It took a while to find the answers I had looked for. Many of the top comments were negative with condescending words about the singer’s vocals or even the use of a kazoo. Many were putting the band down or talking about their dislike of their music. The comments confirmed the old saying, “Everyone’s a critic”. Finally, I saw the comment I had hoped to see. This band was called Brothers Moving, based out of New York City.
For those who may not know, Brothers Moving was originally a street band that later signed a major record deal after a passerby’s video of them went viral online. After many sellout concerts with much international success, they’ve continued to record and released their most recent album in 2020.
Seeing the comments and learning the band’s story brought parallels between the music industry, Brothers Moving, and our business as credit unions.
For one, overlook the naysayers. As credit union professionals, we often react to the naysayers. We are so focused on not upsetting even a single member, it’s often the most vocal members who have the largest impact although they may make up the smallest portion of our member base.
Second, know who you are here to help. You have a unique set of products, solutions, and experience but you can’t help everyone and you can’t make everyone happy. Focus on your ideal members, the ones you’re best suited to help.
How different would this band be if they decided to listen to the detractors? Bands (and credit unions) must realize that at times, the loudest or most outspoken voices may not be the best influence. If your messaging, images, or solutions are best suited for your ideal members, don’t rush to change. Take a moment to not just hear and react to the comments but understand truly from whom they are coming. To draw a parallel to a more recognizable street busker, imagine if Jimmy Buffett had listened to the many passersby that maybe didn’t appreciate his music at the time. He found his niche, on the streets of New Orleans, writing songs that told stories for the wanderlust, forlorn, and adventurers. He found his ideal audience, knowing not everyone may appreciate his art.
Ultimately, know who you are destined to serve and commit to those members who you can have the biggest impact for. After all, you can’t be everything to everybody, but you can be everything to somebody. If you are ready to discuss who that somebody might be, let’s talk!