Building a "number two mentality" into your brand is the most important thing you can do for lasting success. A "number two mentality," to me, means being in the position of the underdog. I love the mentality of the underdog, because their hearts are true, they try so hard to achieve their dreams and their fans are right there beside them, cheering them on. This is in stark contrast to the mentality of a number one brand or product: after working so hard to get where they are, they eventually become comfortable, complacent, and allow their ego to lead the way. The humble innocence that was once there supported by loyal fans eventually loses its thrust to succeed, and innovation stalls. So why do so many strive to be number one?
Social media is making it more and more difficult to tell the small, medium and large companies apart anymore. The smaller companies and individual brands can now have very large personalities online, sometimes overshadowing the behemoths. It's always interesting to me when someone asks about a Klout score, or how many followers a company has, as if it's a real success measure. What no one asks - or perhaps don't even know - is how many of their followers are true brand advocates or influencers, or if they simply just followed back to be nice or follow a social protocol. Simply put, the notion of being number one in an online world just doesn't exist. With the rules turned upside down in our social world, how do you remain competitive and humble, with people willingly cheering you on along the way?
Here are five ways to mentally stay at "Number Two":
1) Have Gumption. Gumption. Hutzpah. Moxie. They all describe the fearless, confident demeanor, done so with a sparkle in your eye, that's necessary to achieve something impossible. To me, it's the very essence of what every brand needs as they strive to keep their number two mentality.
2) Don't Stop Listening. It should be at the very core of your brand, no matter who you are. If you are not listening, quite frankly, it means you are talking too much. Keep listening to everything around you so it can inform and define your next steps.
3) Keep Shifting. Define, refine then shift. Then do it again. Little shifts in any business along the way can create a massive impact in your journey. See the above on how to shift in the best way.
4) Use Metrics from Everywhere. Business is changing at lightening speed and the only way to stay in tune with these changes is to build flexible objectives you can monitor along the way. While your industry may have its own set of metrics, try looking outside your industry for answers. There are always parallels you can draw and benchmarks to build on.
5) Stay Humble. I saved the best for last. This is a gentle reminder that if it weren't for your customers and influencers that put you where you are, you wouldn't be here. A powerful brand and its leadership knows the different levels of a healthy ego. I highly recommend making sure your ego is in healthy check, and when in doubt, err to the side of humility.
Key Takeaway: Striving to be number one is overrated. When you can mentally live at Number Two, your smarts, gumption, openness to making shifts and steadfast humility will always take you farther - with others rooting alongside for your success.
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