The Professor stood in front of the classroom holding a white sheet of paper with a black circle at the centre.
“What do you see?” he asked his class
All the students raised their hands. Most of them answered that they saw a black dot.
You know the story and its moral – despite the bulk of what he held being white, they focused on the black circle.
This famous story speaks volumes about our lives.
Let me twist the plot a bit: If the Professor started with informing his students that he was holding the white sheet of paper and eventually asked them what he was holding, they would have provided the correct answer a white paper!
How does the difference come in? In the second is in the Professor enlightens the students about what he held in his hand!
Corporations all over the world invest billions of dollars to build their visibility to sustain the demand of their products over time.
Coca Cola was established in 1896. In its nascent years, it sold an average of nine servings daily. As we speak, it does 9.6 billion bottles on average, thanks to heavy investment into marketing! Apple, the most valuable brand in the world is another case. Every new release is usually met with long queues of people in front of their stores even before they hit the market. Mark you, they buy at a premium price yet IOS system they run on is not the best Operating System! What do they buy? The simplicity and prestige associated with the Apple brand.
In Kenya, the most profitable company is Safaricom Kenya Limited. In 2017, it announced profits that contributed to 54% of its parent companys, Vodacom Plc. The funds, if availed to the Kenyan Government, would finance its Ministry of Health for a year (as per 2017 Budget) and it would have remained with Kes. 2.1 B as change! Their game changer was in investing in brand visibility. Let us keep note that it was Airtel Kenya Limited (then known as Kencell) that started mobile telephony services in Kenya.
As an entrepreneur, you will certainly not have a market if your products personality does not ring in the mind of your target audience. I always advice my mentees to invest in being known for something. People will never buy the product per se, but the #WHY behind your product. Invest in making it known why you exist and this will always pull people to make a purchase. People would not know your product exists if they are not aware of what value it can add into their lives. This is why, when you see the Coke logo, you feel thirsty. Your mind has been programmed so!
I tell students alike: as you study, develop you unique abilities. Exhibit them to the world and be known for something. Those who know me associate me with perfect execution. Similarly, when I started my banking career, I known as the “perfectionist. I believe this is what enabled me to grow in my career against expectations. I made it into management from graduate entry in a record two years! Employers do not recruit for qualifications. They do for competence to enable them create value that pass on to their clients. The paper qualifications are therefore a plus. The world has no shortage of employment opportunities, it is in shortage of the employable!
The professor in our analogy failed to make the students aware of the existence of the paper. This is why his students noticed the black spot yet the primary background was all white! As an entrepreneur or job seeker, this year invest in enhancing your brand visibility. Unlike the professor, ensure your white background is visible to the world more than the obvious (dot). With focussed effort and consistency, you will be able to curve out an identity that you will be associated with.
By the way, many never know I pursued a biomedical degree in college earned a first class honours. Nonetheless, I chose to pursue my passion and exhibit to the world my abilities. I ended up in banking and part time consulting. This is what I do even now as a part time author, speaker and business coach. You too, can purpose to exhibit your white rather than let the world choose to see the black dot!