Love or hate them, we all know Will and Jada Smith. There have been rumors for years that they had an open marriage. The revelations that Jada dropped, about what would seem like an affair to most, gave people the “I told you so” that they have wanted for years. Don’t know what I am talking about? Check out the latest episode of Red Table Talk.
Now would be a good time to stop reading to avoid spoilers. Here are the Cliff notes. Jada befriended August Alsina. Jada did not feel like herself, was lonely, and wanted to feel loved. Jada and Will were going through a rough patch and separated. Jada got in an “entanglement” with August. The Entanglement happened four years ago, and now Jada and Will are working on their relationship.
Understand this, at the end of the day, Will and Jada are BIG business. A multimillion-dollar empire! It would be best if you were taking copious notes on how they are handling this and thinking about how you can apply their strategy to your business.
Tell Your Story
Some people care about stories simply because they are nosey; however, others care about stories because they want to care about you. Stories are what cause people to connect with your brand, and connected consumers buy your products and refer their network. Good brand stores are what make the difference between brands and commodities and help position you in the marketplace. The right stories let people know why your product or service is the perfect choice to fulfill their needs.
The Smiths’ story has all the layers that content creators and marketers swoon over. Mystery, a good guy, a bad guy, naughty behavior, and a happy ending, you get the picture. I know you remember lessons on the components of a good story from English 101. Your tale should set a scene, have a conflict, and, most importantly, a resolution that involves your products or services.
You Are in Control!
Take control of the narrative about your brand! If the Smiths had allowed others to tell their story, it could have caused irreparable damage to their reputations. Silence enables people to come to their own conclusions about situations. While you may not be a trending topic on Twitter, failing to address comments from people on social media, Yelp reviews, and the like, good or bad, are straight-up BAD for business. Even if you messed up, own it, take responsibility, and do better.
Handle with Care
You are going to go through some THANGS on this journey! You may feel like you have lost yourself, as Jada described, or simply want to feel good. Don’t let your emotions and desires be the primary guide for your decisions. You might have relationships with employees, customers, vendors, partners, etc. that could leave the professional zone if you let it. Sometimes situations hit too close to home and can cause more damage than its worth, so be sure to proceed with caution.
In the beginning, it always seems like a good idea. I know we are all adults, and we believe that we can handle it! But relationships, especially romantic ones, can quickly go “from sugar to shit,” as my Granny would say. Always play out the worst-case scenario. As the owner, you must look out for your business’s best interest. You and the HR or Compliance department are its only advocates. Jada’s entanglement and decisions, by her own admission, were immature and hurt a lot of people that I am sure she did not intend on hurting. Your nights of passion could cost you everything, and that is not fair to your employees and the families that depend on the income from your business.
If you do decide to move forward with an “It’s Complicated” relationship, take the time to set clear expectations and boundaries. In some circumstances, you may even need to document that the relationship is consensual.
I applaud Jada and Will for coming to the Red Table. It could not have been easy. I could hear the pain in Will’s voice, but they both understand that they are obligated to protect their brands and legacies. If you want a seat at the table, start by telling your story, taking control, and making your moves with care. Don’t get caught in an Entanglement that leaves your business in knots that you can’t undo.