Dear CMO:

Hubris is what happens when you think you don’t have to try anymore. Your “brand equity” is better than Brand X – or of Brand, that pesky start-up that is responsible for half of your PR pick-ups over the past sixty days, none of which are flattering.

Hubris is when you think it’s OK just not to make waves right now. When you’re tired of arguing. When you’re sure that things will be OK, regardless.
Hubris is when you don’t think you have to compete to win. When you get “gator arms” and don’t really stretch too far anymore for fear that you might get blindsided.
Hubris is when you think that you’ll weather the storm better than most because of all the hard work that you did a while ago.
Hubris is what creeps in when you chalk it all up to “timing,” or “market conditions,” or other unmentionable forces beyond your control.
Hubris is when you already know your customer so you don’t need to do more outreach, more research, more engagement, more dialog, more anything. Trust us, we’re experts.
Hubris is entitlement. The expectation of victory without the preparation or execution you always needed in the past.
Hubris is arrogance, the certainty of saying, “don’t you know who we are?” when the listener clearly doesn’t care one way or the other.
Hubris happens after you’ve been successful, but before you understand what caused your success.
Hubris is a fatal mistake in all human endeavors, because once you’re branded as ‘over’ by your customers, your channels, your influencers, your pundits and your analysts, you need to work twice as hard to win back their confidence – usually against an internal culture that wants nothing more than to go back to sleep in their personal snow bank.
In uncertain economic times, many will rely on the past to carry them forward. If I were counseling you, I’d suggest that now is the time to think harder about how you can make life easier for the people that matter to you in uneasy times. It doesn’t always have to cost more money, but it will definitely take more work.