Someone recently accused me of engaging in brand bashing between CI brands. The individual cited my post, A challenge to Cochlear Americas and Med-El. The very same person cited one of my comments on a CI forum accusing me of pushing “marketing tactics”. Finally, I am being accused of being insensitive. Do I categorically deny these? Nope! Let’s get the facts straight here (and if Anderson Cooper wishes to go into uncontrollable fits of laughter, I am all for it!).
The painting incident post was not designed to elicit a brand war. It was a challenge, plain and simple. It was a recap of something that happened by accident. Seriously, do you think I want to take an $8,000 piece of life saving equipment and dunk it in a pail of paint much less soak it under running water. Most people found it to be quite humorous; even those who don’t wear CIs.
The forum post…lets really get this one straight since it was very recent. My CI manufacturer came out with a new programming strategy that is CLINICALLY PROVEN to improve hearing in challenging situations. This is a statement that can be said anywhere publicly without any form of legal action. Why? The FDA has approved it. How many of you have seen commercials where there is a disclaimer that reads …”FDA has not evaluated this claim…”?
My CI’s manufacturer proved it; the others haven’t. On that basis, you simply cannot draw a comparison between strategies. One is legally proven; the other is marketing proven. And, all I ever did was set the record straight. Is that brand bashing? I don’t think so.
I am also a mentor. In fact, most people know me as a mentor and volunteer with the manufacturer of my CI. What most people don’t know…I am also an independent mentor who has allowed my name and reference to be used in the local clinic’s directory of people candidates can contact. Half of my referrals have come from this.
(If you are a candidate who has been mentored by me, please….please…please contradict me if I am wrong! Do it in a comment here. Do it on the Cochlear Implant Experience Facebook page where I have no control over the postings.)
When I mentor, my goal and objective is to help others understand CIs. These are folks who are hanging onto their dear lives because they can’t hear like they used to. These are folks who fear social rejection because they can’t hear conversations like they used to, like normal people. These are people who are vulnerable because they have no clue about what could help them. These are people who can be easy prey for sales pitches.
And for the Lord’s sake, so help me God, how could I ever live with myself if I took advantage of someone and turned into some sleazy salesperson pitching everything my CI does right and the others wrong? You know, most people can tell if I am lying so it would be literally impossible for me to distort truth. I even make a lousy politician. But for others, its a piece of cake. Some are born with that trait, others are trained.
And so, when I am mentoring I try to help the other person understand how CIs MAY help them hear better. I don’t make any promises, claims or guarantees. I tell it from my own life experience. My life experience is with only one CI…the one that is in my head from now to the rest of my life. And if it is still working long after I am gone when some alien digs me up, kudos to them.
Now…granted, if someone asked me about my triathlete exploits and they ask me, how do you hear in the water? I can truthfully tell them that I can….BECAUSE I CAN. I don’t even have to sell them that. I just can! If my CI was by the other manufacturers, would I be lying if I said that? OF COURSE! Is that brand bashing? I don’t think so.
I will also tell you that I spend an enormous amount of time defending my brand. I am fiery loyal to it. I do not take kindly to anyone telling half truths. If they want to do that with their own brand, they are more than welcome so long as they don’t try to draw a comparison that reeks of misinformation.
If it’s water resistant, it’s water resistant. Don’t try to pass it off as waterproof. If it reduces background noise, it reduces background noise. Don’t try to pass it off as suppressing background noise. If you can’t prove it with facts, don’t bother me. There is a saying…“if you can’t dazzle ’em with brilliancy, at least baffle ’em with BS”. I rather do the former than the latter. At least I can, with comfort.
Let’s take one more perspective in this. If you bash my brand of CI, please do expect to be “bashed” back. And when I “bash” back, sadly…..the truth can be a hard thing to swallow. So, my dear…please don’t accuse me of “brand bashing” when all I am doing is stating the truth. And please don’t accuse me of being insensitive. Cold hard facts for the umpteenth time will trump a lifetime of BS.