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A lot of times, startups and businesses keep hoping to get some degree of results but they fail to do A/B tests to see what works and what doesn’t work. For example, no matter how much you target an ad to a certain audience, if they aren’t the right audience, they won’t suddenly become the right audience. To be able to sell, you must target the right audience. That’s a discussion for another day.
When you keep getting the same undesired results, you may have been trying the same old methods. To get new results, you must be willing to explore new strategies. That brings us into a wonderful truth and you may need to put this on your notice board.
Who is Your Brand?
“Your brand is a person. It has an identity that must be well treated and represented. Branding is intentional.”
Just the same way you take care of your baby and feed him or her with a balanced diet, you can take care of your brand and give it what it truly needs for growth. When you don’t feed your babies well, they may not grow well.
Until you start seeing your brand as a person, you may never really do well in it. Branding is intentional and just the same way you need to work your way into gaining people’s trust, you need to make people trust your brand.
While branding is a person, it is not independent of you. It is the manifestation of your ideas and only you can breathe life into it. Just like you, your brand also needs a good impression! It should be able to capture people’s loyalty since it’s a success is dependent on people’s loyalty. Your brand is created in your image, after your likeness.
Sucked At First Impression? The truth about failure.
The problem a lot of startups and entrepreneurs make is that the moment they fail at making the right impression at first, they get close to throwing in the towel. Your ideas are worth more than a contract, if you lost a contract, you only lost a contract but not a job! If you lost a customer, you only lost a customer and not yourself. It takes you to win another customer!
Failure in itself isn’t perpetual. You aren’t a failure for failing, you only become a failure when you throw in the towel. This isn’t merely semantics, don’t let it confuse you. There is a clear difference between failing and being a failure. To be a failure means to assume the identity of failure, it means “you are a perpetual loser!” But to fail means “you experienced failure”, it is an experience but not an end… Perhaps, a means to the end but you are completely in charge of what the end is.
Let me make it more simple in bullets.
- You may fail.
- You are not a failure.
To fight today doesn’t mean you are a fighter, to be sad today doesn’t mean you are a sadist, you be angry today doesn’t mean you are hot-tempered. Even the nicest persons on earth have their moments of struggling between being nice and angry but eventually, the better part of them wins because that is who they are. In the same way, failing doesn’t make you a failure. We can only attach something to your identity when it has become a part of you!
When next you hear about successful people, always remember that they aren’t people who never failed, they are people who didn’t remain in failure! They refused to be identified by failure. While we may remember their failures, we can always say “well, they succeeded at last.”
You didn’t get it right the last time? It’s okay to try again. Does that mean the first impression doesn’t matter? It does but it is not all that matters. Every impression counts. There is always another chance to make things right. Even if your old audience would doubt you, your new audience can trust you. However, this is a privilege you shouldn’t abuse.
Many of us failed at first impression, sometimes due to ignorance or lack of proper tools. But there is the second impression and even the third. Sometimes, it’s your new customers and clients who will take the gospel of your brand back to those who doubt you.
Self-Esteem and Your Brand
A lot of times, we think we aren’t good enough simply because we sucked at something and therefore we aren’t proud enough to talk about our brand publicly. Another truth is, people won’t patronize you so well when you aren’t sure of yourself. Sometimes, people see your brand through your perception of your brand.
It is common to hear some startups say demeaning things about their brands especially freelancers. You’d hear stuff like “check my little project, it is not so good though”. You should rather say “check out what we are working on, we are improving on it”.
Sometimes, the reason you aren’t selling is that you are not proud of what you do. Taking pride in what puts food on your table gives you the motivation to make it better and push it further since it will be identified with you.
Like every other person, your brand can suffer low-self esteem. Deal with it! You are so much better than the big names but they are proud of their results than you. Haven’t you noticed that the moment you improve on your self-esteem you begin to look good to yourself in the mirror? And when you look good to yourself, you are always ready to showcase yourself.
Maybe, we should talk about our childhood. Whenever we were bought new clothes, we usually want to visit friends, go to church and attend parties. This is because we felt good about ourselves. But if we don’t have good clothes, we are usually hesitant about attending parties. The same thing happens to your brand. If there is a reason why you aren’t proud of your brand, why not sort it out?
Improving your brand is Inevitable
I told us that even if you sucked at the first impression, you can decide to make your second or third impression better. Many brands sucked at their unguarded moments but it was an opportunity to discover what wasn’t right and fix it.
In the digital development field, there is what we call “fixing of bugs” and it happens even after beta testing of projects and it’s launch. This is why updates are usually released to applications, operating systems, websites and so on. Sometimes after downloading updates, you don’t even see any physical change but something truly changed.
Nothing is ever truly complete, if it is, it’s death is near. This is why we keep improving our services and products because they aren’t complete. Be bold bout your improvements, be proud to fix the bugs.
Why do updates happen? Because we discovered a problem, fixed it and released an update to patch the loopholes… Problems are always opportunities to improve on projects. If you sucked yesterday, whether at pitching your product, at customer care, at quality delivery or anything you can think of, always learn from them to improve your service.
Have you ever experienced a terrible yesterday only to wake up to a better tomorrow? It does happen. Even the Holy Book says “weeping may endure for a night (yesterday) but joy comes in the morning (today).” If not for anything, let your mess motivate you to become better.
Today is another opportunity to build a better brand identity. Don’t worry about those who left, think about those who will come. Those who will come will eventually bring back those who left. Everybody loves to identify with the winner after all.
Onyedikachukwu George Nnadozie is the creative director of Funtrick Technology, an author and a public speaker. Aside from his creative job at Funtrick Technology, he takes time to write on his personal blog, George’s Diary.