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Fear, Joy and the Tale of 2 Freddies

Fear, Joy and the Tale of 2 Freddies

September 14, 2008

Last week, one Freddie nearly died and another Freddie was brought back to life.

Freddie Mac (together with Fannie Mae) nearly died and had to be bailed out from the subprime mortgage crisis that has rocked the financial industry and the world economy.

If you're trying to keep score at home, Bear Stearns was also saved. Lehman Brothers was able to weather the Great Depression but not this financial storm and has declared bankruptcy. Merrill Lynch also died, but was resuscitated by Bank of America. Only two investment firms remain: Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan!

Yet, on the same day Freddie Mac was brought back from certain death, another Freddie was brought back to life.

Freddie Mercury was brought back from the dead to perform to a standing room only crowd of 350,000 people!!! At the concert for AIDS support in Ukraine, Queen performed live and integrated the late Freddie Mercury as the lead singer via a previously recorded video for its classic song, Bohemiam Rhapsody ("Oh mama mia, mama mia, mama mia let me go ..." What a great song!). The crowd loved it and went crazy.

What's behind the two Freddies?

Greed and uncontrolled desires. Freddie Mac made poor decisions and backed loans that it shouldn't have. Freddie Mercury died of AIDS related illnesses, which may have been brought on by the choices he made during his life.

The two Freddies will continue to live. Freddie Mac will live but has lost its ability to control its fate as the government has taken over its decision making power. The government had to step in just to keep the world's markets from collapsing. Both Freddie and Fannie hold $5 trillion of loans - the largest debt held by any company in history and the largest held by any county, except the U.S.

Fortunately, Freddie Mac (and Fannie Mae) live on and banks around the world continue to loan to consumers, fund entrepreneurs' ideas and businesses and people continue to buy.

What's most interesting to me...

...is the second Freddie. Freddie Mercury lives on because of emotion.

People want to feel good. They want to be entertained and experience a Big Zig or a Wow! For generations of fans, that's exactly what Queen has been selling - an emotional experience. The music touches both the sensitive side as well as the hard rocking, base drumming beat. People will ALWAYS want to be entertained, and feel good.

What do we learn from this? Even when things are difficult your customers want to be entertained. They want to feel good.

How can you connect to them on an emotional level? In what ways can you contribute to their emotional well being?

Today people must hear words of confidence. They are scared. They want to know everything will be okay. They want to be led and know that you have a plan and are confident. During times of tumult your customers want someone who will make a stand and offer a way to feel good about who they are and where they are going.

Always taking you from where you are to where you want to go,

Jon