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Maybe you have a fully-fledged brand community on socials where it’s members have a strong value system, shared tastes and dream the same dreams. If you don’t, I’ve figured out what happens when you don’t understand the culture.
Why are you checking YouTube for ‘How to Make Mango wine’? This is serious. I’ve got the answer. It’s about my porch.
Lemme tell you about my porch. I have an enclosed not massive but accomodating porch at the front of my house. In a former life, I set up a table, two chairs with faux fur chair covers, a beautician lamp and supplies in my porch. Having completed the relative course successfully, I was starting my business as a CND Nail Tech. It didn’t take me more than a couple of goes to realise how dull making other people’s nails longer was. Much more fun getting them done. Years later, I ended up donating the lot to a friend following the same vocation.
These days, as you enter our porch, you’ll see our shoes lined up against the wall, next to the dryer our neighbour gave us. There’s a large coat cupboard overflowing with coats and more shoes. You would be able to stand in that cupboard except for the garden tools and the ironing board in your way.
We also have a smaller cupboard in our porch filled to the brim with tools of all kinds to fix things and also board games.
I’m digressing. The point is, it’s a decent sized porch for our sized house, and as soon as we walk in, we take off our shoes in it. Even the tradesmen do it. “Shall I take off my shoes?” they ask. Before I can finish answering, shoes are off. Some will put those plastic baggy thingies over their boots. All apart from the winder cleaner does it. Maybe that’s because he’s trying to manoeuvre a 10ft ladder into the back garden.
The other day, the guy that treats our lawn remained standing in the porch when I thought he’d followed me through the house. I turned when I realised he hadn’t and caught the tail end of him asking my husband to lay some cloth down for him to walk on.
It warms my heart, I tell you.
You see, we have white carpets. And most people see them and can’t bear the thought of walking on them.
Neither can we. And it’s not just for white carpets. It now feels really uncomfortable and dirty to walk into houses with our shoes on. When we visit your home, my husband and I and our kids will remove our shoes. I suppose you could say it’s our family culture, the way we do things.
You can only imagine how I feel when you enter our home, and I politely ask that you remove your shoes; you laugh, poke fun at me, decline and walk on our white carpets with the drudge and dog doo-doo from outdoors. From that point onwards, nothing you say to me will make much sense. I will be trying my hardest not to look or act annoyed. I will do a bad job. My stony face will be a dead giveaway that I am not pleased about something.
As you sit down and I offer refreshments, I’ll be thinking of the most convenient time to get the carpets cleaned. At the same time, I’ll try not to think about the inconvenience you have caused because now I have to get the carpets cleaned. Yes, it’s that bad – germs, germs, grime, and dog doo-doo will be on my mind the entire time you sit on our sofa with your shoes still on – maybe my stony face isn’t a dead giveaway at all.
When you leave, my husband will make a passing observation that our visitors didn’t remove their shoes. I will sigh and tell him it’s ok. It isn’t.
It’s likely my ten-year-old daughter, who, like all kids her age who share their thoughts with zero filter on, will ask, “Why didn’t they take their shoes off? Don’t they care?” I will brush off her questions whilst thinking, “No, they don’t care.”
My porch has everything to do with why you must understand the culture. If you want to do a good job of impressing the very same social media audiences you hope to follow you, like, comment on and buy your stuff, you cannot ignore the culture. Most of us don’t care, and we kid ourselves every day that it’s ok not to, if we ever stop to consider what our customers really want.
You can’t ignore customers ways of doing things and expectations, especially when they’ve made them know to you as plain as day. Your elated selfies won’t mean a thing when all they want is for you to remove your shoes.
It’s time to face facts. Our audiences know what they want, and unless you can provide it, their wallets will remain just as stony as my face.
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