When you think of the Apple brand, what comes to your mind? For some, perhaps, the word ‘innovative’ springs to mind, and for others, it could be the name: Steve Jobs.
Apple has released stylish products since the 1970s. They are among the top 10 brands worldwide. In fact, they have held onto the number 2 slot in the world for the second year running. It is interesting to note that almost two-thirds of their revenue comes from iPhone sales.
Now, do you remember Nokia? It was the world’s top mobile phone manufacturer and in September 2006, Nokia launched the N95, with the following specifications: 2.6-inch LCD screen, a 5-megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics and video recorder, up to 8GB of storage, 3G, and WiFi connectivity, and a built-in GPS receiver with navigation software.
The future appeared to offer continued success to Nokia, with N95 achieving significant sales. It was when Steve Jobs took to the stage 9 January 2007 and announced Apple was entering the mobile phone business with the launch of the iPhone ‑ a revolutionary product‑ that went on to change the mobile phone industry as we knew it.
Before the launch of the iPhone, manufacturers launched handsets with predominant phone functionality, with some computing capability. Apple, on the other hand, flipped this idea on its head by introducing a product that was primarily a computer, with some phone capabilities.
This move by Apple, resulted in Nokia, the world’s top handset manufacturer, being dethroned from their prestigious ranking. They had maintained that spot for 14 years but their failure to respond to the ‘touch screen’ features of the newly introduced iPhone in 2007 and lack of urgent response to the changing demands of customers, led to their downgrade.
Now, I am not a brand specialist. At this moment in time, I do not have new ideas that will propel your company brand into the future. Rather, my focus is people and providing support to those involved directly or indirectly with building the company brand.
Now, I would like to relate some aspects of the Apple and Nokia story to you and me and our personal and professional reputation. A brand name is closely linked to reputation and I want us to consider a few ideas that will help us make maximum positive impact as an employee. So here goes…
- KEEP AT IT
First impressions count but are not enough. Working for a large corporate before, I witnessed the rise and the occasional fall of employees. I saw firsthand how some staff started out well, but then, within a period of time, began to allow their attitude and performance to slide. They seemed to lose the vigour they had at the very beginning. They lost inspiration. Building your reputation requires constant work, with the knowledge that the way you act today, can have a lasting impact on you in the future. Consider some innovative ideas to help keep the work you do on a daily basis interesting and fresh and keep building with the future in mind.
- BUILD YOUR REPUTATION
Evaluate your current performance: I believe it is important to always evaluate, on a regular basis, what you are doing well and what you believe you can do better. Despite having served many years in my previous business I was in the habit of evaluating my performance until the end. I do believe, despite previous successes, we should ensure we regularly work on adding greater value, both to our role and the business we are employed by.
Admit wrong and move on: We all make mistakes. Not a single person on the planet gets it right all the time. Fatigue, momentary lack of attention to detail, stress, many demands and pressures, can all have an impact on our work performance. When we make mistakes, it is both humbling and healthy to admit the error quickly, to find ways to avoid the error in the future, and then learn to forgive ourselves.
Be creative and outperform yourself: Nokia, as already discussed, experienced significant success for many years, but the introduction of the iPhone, by Apple, followed by the lack of urgent and creative response, by Nokia, led to a significant loss. To remain relevant we need to keep our ears to the ground, listen to others, understand the needs of our colleagues and how we can support them better, observe the current business environment, read and keep ourselves informed, attend training courses, consider new ways of doing things, and respond quickly to changes in the environment.
Mentoring: Shayne, a former colleague and executive (at a point) of the business I previously worked for, took me under his wing. We sometimes traveled to work together. Such times with him always instilled in me a desire to perform better at work, with the additional aim of wanting to be a better person generally. Shayne always encouraged me, displayed hope, pushed and inspired me to improve. He led by example since he was forever looking to advance his existing skills and gain completely new skill too. Do you have a mentor who has taken you under their wing? If not, I would encourage to consider someone who is willing to fulfill that role in your life by being honest with you, patient and inspire you to get better. You need a mentor!
Creativity: Find the most beneficial time in the day, perhaps first thing in the morning, after a good night’s rest, to apply some creative thinking to your planning for the day. Get into the habit of applying this, especially if creative thinking does not come naturally to you. Be inspired by reading up about people like Steve Jobs, Richard Branson and others out there who have dared to dream.
- STAY STRONG
Remain physically active daily: Do not sit for more than 30 minutes at a time. At least stand up, stretch, give your mind a brief break and then soldier on. Walk as much as is possible. If you are currently not measuring the amount of steps you take per day, download an app such as Noom Walk, onto your mobile phone, and keep track of how active you are. Have fun: “Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease”.
Look for ways to add an element of fun to the work you do on a daily basis and make sure some laughter is involved too.
Share your stress: Do not keep your stress to yourself. Talk to someone you respect and trust, who could help you negotiate your way through times of stress.
Rest well: I am a father of 3 wonderful children. Some of whom, at times, resist the sleep I crave. In time they will discover sleep is something to love. Our bodies need it for our very own wellness. Make sure you are allowing enough for yourself each night. You will experience the difference in your day- to- day performance.
In conclusion, your career and life is not a sprint. It is a marathon over years, and you are building your brand daily. Be a joy to your colleagues, your employer, family, strangers, and friends. Be kind to your business and be kind to yourself. Press on to make a positive impact professionally and personally. Keep building your brand.
- “Your “brand” is what your prospect thinks of when he or she hears your brand name. It’s everything the public thinks it knows about your name brand offering—both factual (e.g. It comes in a robin’s-egg-blue box), and emotional (e.g. It’s romantic). Your brand name exists objectively; people can see it. It’s fixed. But your brand exists only in someone’s mind”
- Nokia and Apple information:
- Impact of Laughter: Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease”.