A word about Passion
There is opportunity and then there is Passion.
Opportunity usually leads you to a job with a pay check attached.
Passion will lead you to work which will stoke your creativity, light up your imagination & fulfil your dreams.
An entrepreneur is either driven by the need to make money or he is fuelled by a passion to create solutions or conveniences. There is passion in both these justifiable objectives.
Creating something to be proud of, is what defines passion. The need to create impact.
Hence, it is a better decision to make or a more exalted mission to adopt.
Once Upon a Time
It is possible our earliest memory of fairytales & fantasy worlds, of a warm glass of milk and a cosy blanket, of a soothing voice attached to a person we love, has forever been etched as ‘happy zone’ in the neural network or our psychological selves. This could be one reason why we will love stories…and animated movies, forever. Superheroes and princesses will hardly ever go out of style. Too whimsical to be short-lived, too fascinating, unreal, and fairy-talish, to be at the mercy of short-attention-span-syndrome.
That blissful age where drifting off to sleep during a bedtime story, just means there’s an exciting day of possibilities to look forward to, that’s where is deep-seated our eternal love for stories.
Brands that have a story to tell, hone in on this emotional connect. They weave their stories around experiences, life lessons or ‘eureka’ moments. They can go down memory lane and pick up nuggets of wisdom to build their dreams around.
My favourite one: AirBnB – from the founders not being able to afford rent on their apartment to being one of the most studied business models in the world.
What a brand story needs to do, is this:
1. Talk about the moment of ‘inspiration/realisation-of-problem’.
2. Revolve around the emotions attached to the journey of building a brand
3. Stop there. That’s all that your audience wants to hear. The buy/follow/subscribe should happen as a result of a simple clean emotional tug.
So, craft your brand story & communicate it authentically, with words well chosen, well placed and well intended.
About A Brand
There was once a brand that went to market – dressed all in Red. Colour psychology charts said Red indicates passion, aggression, love, energy, excitement, spontaneity. With its ability to accelerate heart rate and breathing, one expects it to be more BOLD than shy.
Now when Brand Red had to standing up and speak in front of an audience, the brand squeaked meekly, hid behind it’s own shadow and stumbled off stage rather apologetically. The target group looked at each other, shook their heads, and went off in search of the closest competitor.
Colour sends a message, that, if not complemented by brand voice, can confuse your audience.
If red is what you your brand wants to wear, do teach it to smile warmly, extend a firm, confident handshake, speak boldly, and carry off a super personality. Much like Disney, Oracle, CNN, Virgin, Puma, it should make a bold brand promise – one which you know you can keep. And train your team to uphold that promise too.
Option1: Complement brand design strategy with communication strategy to leave an impact & create an impression every time your target group encounters your brand.
Option 2: There are several other hues in the colour palette to choose from.
So here’s the thing about happy brands – they do a jig, hum a tune, skip along and wave out at every passer by. And everyone smiles back and feels a happy feel when they encounter such a brand. So ever so often, they stop by, say hello, and buy a thing or two. Sometimes, its an impulsive just-for-the feel-good kind of purchase. But no one really regrets it.
A Chumbak clutch does it for me. It’s the very-endearingly-Indian prints on the products.
Poppy colours, whimsical designs, quirky fun text. Yes, and sometimes it’s the brand mascot that just reach out and touch an emotional chord somewhere.
The Amul girl, the Air India Maharaja & Ronald McDonald. Yes, they have been spoken to death about, mostly because they are designed to leave an emotional connect. To me they are an instant reminder of comfort – of familiarity. They evoke an emotion before they evoke a thought. Designed to be endearing, and built for endurance, seems like. Each is over half a century old.
Can you imagine your brand having a mascot ? Or even a chat bot character ? You must give it a thought
Failed Successes & Perpetual Optimism
The dreaded F word is like a ghost lurking in the background, threatening to scare you off if you get off the optimism-treadmill even for a minute.
Though there is a misty gloom surrounding Failure, I firmly believed that if Edison could beat Failure, so can I.
When I look back at my entrepreneurial failures, I realise now that each of these business ideas had a fair chance at success. However, Confidence & Experience were mere strangers that I had walked past, while on the journey to becoming an entrepreneur.
Presenting before you my Failure-list and the lessons I’ve learned – hoping that if you are on a journey too, Success meets you down the road, rather quickly.
Stepping into Big Mistake 1: A snack-joint called Meze in the midst of bustling Hill Rd, Mumbai, in 2011. I started off with two business partners, a promising menu in a high-traffic location. So what went wrong ? I had just given up my 14year corporate career to have my baby. I was desperate to ‘do something on my own’. So when I was approached by a well-meaning acquaintance to start a snack-joint, I didn’t deliberate long enough. My false begotten enthusiasm was short-lived. I pulled the alarm handle and got off that train very quickly.
Lesson 1: If all you have is the ‘i-want-to-be-my-own-boss’ mindset, and it’s somebody else’s Big Idea, leave somebody else do it.
Taking a leap of faith with Big Mistake 2: A home-made chocolates business. A friend tasted one of my home-made chocolates (that I was making out of sheer boredom) and asked if I could make a batch of 1000 chocolates for a corporate, for their Women’s Day celebration. What followed was a monthly batch of chocolates for a few restaurants. There was no big plan, and everything went well for a year. Here’s where I stumbled. I anticipated a really large order from a corporate for Diwali and invested in raw material before getting a confirmation. Needless to say, we didn’t get the order. And the setback threw me off big time.
Lesson 2: Don’t let setbacks push you over the edge. Stand up, dust yourself off and walk on.
Pouring my heart into the Coffee with Mistake 3: Now this is the one that wrenched my heart apart (& overturned my savings nest). My 3-year old hated a closed classroom, 30 little ones competing for attention that was due only to him & didn’t like it that teacher expected him to narrate numbers, alphabets & other silly stuff, for 3 hrs a day.
I decided that, like my little one, many other pre-schoolers, must look forward to nothing moe than fun. So I started a preschool – Whiz Kids, in 2016.
When I launched with a Summer Camp, I had to actually turn down kids as I couldn’t handle the overwhelming response we received. Despite that I shut down 2 years later. Two factors that ensured this sure-shot failure: a) I tried to bootstrap my way into a competitive market and was way up over my head trying to handle everything. b) I was expected to pay an ‘unauthorised fee’ for obtaining the necessary licenses, which didn’t make two bits of sense to me.
Lesson 3: Allow Failure to set up house teach you a few lessons & then get out of your way.
So here’s the thing about my three big mistakes. It taught me the lessons I needed, to boldly set up
Cheree Tree Concepts. We help businesses to brand, market & competitively position themselves for growth – offering a powerful USP – Employee Engagement strategy for brand building.
Here’s where I’d like to reiterate my belief in the Law of Least Effort. With just over a year in the market, and more than a fair share of projects under our belt, I am now doing what comes effortlessly to me. 18 years in advertising, brand building & business development in the corporate world had long-past equipped me with skill sets that would help me become a Brand Strategist & Marketing Consultant. I just hadn’t let myself flow into a business that I would enjoy every minute of the way – one which I now realise I can excel at – only because I was already equipped with the experience, exposure & skill-sets to add value to the market.
So, I whole-heartedly say, Cheers to Failure ! And may Success follow wherever, failure has left its mark.