Many times, we find ourselves dancing to the tune of others, letting their opinion of what is right or wrong influence our lives. They decide how we should live, how we ought to behave or respond to situations, and it affects our being so much that we lose ourselves in the process, forgetting our very own essence and living an unfulfilled life.
These beliefs, misconceptions and expectations that are placed on us can affect every sphere of our lives – physical, emotional, social, spiritual, even our political inclinations. They can limit us from doing the things we love. But then, we think they have been for ages, and people have conformed, so why should we not do the same. Hence, we give in to them.
These beliefs that we have of ourselves, or others have that we should behave in a certain way owing to our affiliation with certain groups is called a stereotype.
A stereotype is a generally held view about a social group or a sect of persons based on past beliefs and assumptions.
Stereotypes can also be based on popular cultural portrayals of individuals or firmly held ideas that have been passed down through the centuries. Although not all stereotypes are negative, many of them can be misleading, resulting in mistreatment, prejudice and false judgement. A stereotype can be based on culture, gender, religion, age, ethnicity or race, politics and the likes.
Let me provide you with some instances:
Mr. Jones, you are the man of the house; why would you let a woman do that to you? – cultural/social stereotype.
Oh! You do not belong here; that is where black boys sit! – Racial stereotype.
You are overambitious; I think you should slow down a bit! Do you not know women should manage the home – Social/gender Stereotype.
What are you doing skipping a rope; that is a girl’s sport! – Gender Stereotype.
Hey dear! It’s high time you quit this job; it belongs to the younger generation. – Age stereotype.
Often, we see people try to decide what they believe is best for others. While they may not be entirely wrong, it is not in their place to decide for your life. I have had to deal with this too. People have questioned my career choice and I get questions like: what are you always doing on social media? Why would you leave music for social media? Do you even have time for family? But you see, it is my life, and only I decide what is best for me. If I had given in, I wouldn’t have been able to build the brand I have today.
Stereotypes have a way of conditioning our thoughts and actions and hinder us from attaining our full potential.
Now, you as a business owner, solopreneur, entertainer, brand or creative, are not left out from conforming to these expectations. Why? Because the business world is riddled with stereotypes.
There are expectations about the types of products and services to offer, which age bracket offers certain services better, which industry is best for certain people; the marketing channel best-suited for certain brands. The commonest is the gender stereotype that leads to disparity in the attributes, competencies or roles of humans based on being a male and or a female.
In fact, some studies like the Centre for Entrepreneurs (2015), and World Economic Forum (2017) revealed the effect of stereotypes like age, gender, religion, culture on business. They found that certain traits a business owner should possess are associated only with the male gender. These include – risk-taking, autonomous decision, resilience, self-esteem, ego, confidence. While the female description, on the other hand, opposes these traits, a woman in business should instead portray service, collaborative decision making and avoid risks. Thus, you see these playing out in how these two genders operate a business.
These ideas do not reflect reality; they are false ideas about the requirements of owning and growing a business. Do you know why? Because there are several records of successful businesses run by both males and females, just as there are failed businesses managed by both genders.
Beat the Stereotypes with 360-degree brand
Due to the increasing rise in technology and social media users, you know your brand cannot rely on archaic, obsolete marketing styles. Businesses today must be cognisant of, and adapt to the demands of the present-day – one of such is revamping your business to adopt trending digital marketing strategies so you do not go extinct. This strategy is called the 360-degree approach.
The 360 degrees is used by businesses to deploy a holistic approach of marketing that includes brand identity into campaign activities so that their brands stay in touch (engages) and remains visible to customers.
By 360 degrees, it means an all-around rigorous marketing effort at promoting your brand, making it impactful, visible and accessible to customers via various channels like Print, PR, Broadcast, Email, phone, web, social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) and events.
The goal is to ensure that the brands have a solid presence and consistent message across diverse channels – offline or online, and connect with customers wherever they are. This way, it is easier for customers to recognise your brand and find you.
Why your brand should embrace the 360-degree strategy
- For greater visibility and engagement.
- For lead generation – attract prospects where they are (offline/online).
- For maintaining existing customers – increased retention and brand support.
- For pivoting to customers preferences – owing to your brand’s presence across multiple channels, your customer’s can easily engage with you through their preferred channel.
- For gaining data and insights about your business – for business analytics and identifying your areas of strengths and weaknesses.
- For ensuring consistency in your brand’s message and design – leads to brand recognition.
- For increased sales and revenue.
So, let’s assume you never knew about the benefits of embracing a 360-degree approach for your brand or business, now you do. What then is your excuse? Fears, poor self-worth, societal labels, stereotypes?
Do you realise how much of a limitation you are causing yourself and your business by conforming to stereotypes? On the flip side, think of how much growth your business will make if you give it full expression.
This is why I have chosen to help you unleash your inner confidence with these 5 power tips so that you create a 360-degree visible and impactful:
1. Be goal-driven
Take your mind back to reminisce the reason for starting that brand, business, charity or creating that product or service. To badge the business owner/CEO title? For lack of paid employment? Is it because you identified a need that you genuinely want to meet by providing a solution? Or your desire to make an impact? Identifying your goals will give you clarity on why you are in business. Realising the impact of your business will propel you to beat stereotypes and embrace the 360-degree approach of branding your business. Because more than ever, now you know your business is the solution to somebody’s problem, and you need to be visible enough for you to be found to meet that problem.
You do realise things do not naturally gravitate towards us as humans. The reality you want is right in your hands. You do not rely only on hopes as a business person. Oh yes! We do understand the place of grace and blessings. But there has to be something in your hands that you are building, nurturing, growing for the blessings to manifest. Even faith without works is dead! You know you have to put in efforts to create the type of brand you want.
3. Stop the Comparison
Yes, you are mindful of the business terrain; you know how competitive it is and how much you need to stay relevant in the market. Yet, do not compare yourself with others. In fact, competition can further damage your self-esteem when you do not meet the expectations you have set for yourself. Rather, embrace a strategy that works and help you gain a competitive advantage (360-degree method). Remember, the only person you are competing with is yourself!
4. Acknowledge your strength and competencies
You did not learn that skill, go through those rigorous training, enrol in that course, have those sleepless nights studying to pass that exam or develop those great ideas and business strategies for nothing. Believe in your abilities and strengths. Your products or services are worth paying a fortune to obtain.
You need to constantly remind yourself that you should be right where you are; you are no fraud, a mistake or a product of sheer luck. You are good enough and deserving of all you have and for many more to come. The earlier you realise this, the quicker you break free from stereotypes, invest the attention your brand needs and get results.
Everything that happens in the physical has a spiritual undertone. Run back to your source; ask Him to help you break free from negative thoughts, limiting thoughts, poor self-esteem and stereotypes that have conditioned your mind to live in a certain way and hinder you from achieving your full potential. Ask for direction, clarity and precision for your business and watch it grow.
Everything you need to succeed in your business is right within you! It is your responsibility to look within, search and find them out so that you can live a life of fulfilment of dreams and potentials. You do not want to be just any other business struggling to meet goals. Today, be determined to find and express YOU fully in your business by embracing the 360-degree brand approach to stay visible and impactful.
Brand Visibility Coach
Eloho Efemuai is a brand visibility coach, singer, speaker, author and radio broadcaster who inspires creatives & women of faith to stop doubting their potentials, unleash their inner confidence by beating the stereotypes to create a 360 degree visible and impactful brand.
She runs Scotland’s Numebr One Online Christian Radio station Heartsong Live in Edinburgh. You can find her broadcasting words of inspiration every Monday to Thursday morning from 6:30am.
As a professional singer who’s released two studio albums, she’s attracted an equally impressive tribe, drawn to her soulful voice and positive messages. Across her social media channels she has almost 60-thousand fans, who engage with her on a regular basis.
Achieving such impressive follower numbers within just a few years has meant that word has spread rapidly about Eloho’s social media expertise and her ability to inspire and empower women of faith to discover their true potential.
As a John Maxwell Certified coach her desire is to add value to the lives of those, she encounters particularly women who struggle with a lack of confidence and low self-esteem, helping them break out of stereotypes to become the women they were designed to be.