He replaced the blade on his razor, adjusted his ear piece, fixed his hair and tilted my head slightly to the right.
And then, he slowly and confidently, started shaving my three day old beard. Then, without averting his gaze, he called out to the other barber in the shop. His Hindi was of a different dialect to the one I knew, but this is how I heard (and translated) the conversation:
Barber 1: “Arey Raju.. never go to Chhattisgarh! Three years ago, a bear came into my uncle’s apartment and it became a big issue. And then after two months, a snake got into the house. It’s a dangerous place.”
Barber 2: “What? What do you mean? I have to go there to meet Sapna.”
Barber 1: “Sapna? Oh! Forget about Sapna. Nobody who goes Chhattisgarh is ever coming out.”
Barber 2: “Then I’ll have to break up with her.”
I swear, honest to god – this is an actual a conversation that happened today morning.
Now, I’ve got nothing against barbers, bears, snakes, Chhattisgarh or Sapna.
I’ve never been to Chhattisgarh, I’ve never met anyone from Chhattisgarh and I have no clue what happens there, but that conversation was the first time I heard anything about the place.
And that conversation had an impact.
First, I imagined black bears rampaging through a small hall and kitchen like Bhaaloo from The Jungle Book. Then, I thought of pythons and anacondas, slithering under plastic neelkamal chairs, dodging hastily thrown utensils. And finally, I thought of a dry, arid place with dusty roads and zero high rise buildings.
At that moment, in my head, a powerful mental image was created. Chhattisgarh was a rural place, heavily forested and having an abundance of wild animals – and lax security measures in residential areas. In my head, Chhattisgarh was a small town place with mud roads and intermittent electricity supply. This would be the place where I would be hard pressed to find a cafe – and internet would be 2G at best.
Here’s the most important thing: I ASSUMED ALL THESE THINGS.
I didn’t bother to do research. I didn’t bother to whip out my phone and do a quick google search.
I just made up stuff in my head as I went along.
And your brand & business is like Chhattisgarh too. There are tons and tons of people who have never heard of your brand. They don’t know who you are – and quite frankly, they don’t care. And to these people, the first time they hear of you is going to be the strongest impression you make – AND THEY WON’T PUT IN THE EFFORT TO CHANGE IT.
It’s your responsibility to:
- Craft a mental image that is as close to the one you want.
- Make sure that this mental image (and its accompanying emotions) are communicated well.
- Get this mental image in front of as many people as you can, as quickly as you can.
This is exactly what I do at Domination Labs. Domination Labs helps you reach product/market fit by working on your positioning, messaging and funnels.
If this is something your brand needs – and done in a way that works for you, let me know. We’ll take it up from there.
For now, this is Arvindh saying over and out.