spectaclesIn today’s post we are heading back to school to rethink some old playground mentality.

Seth Godin is having to wear spectacles and he raised this question of stigma:

Why do we look at people wearing glasses and think they are smarter? Why do we look at people wearing a hearing aid and treat them as if they are dumb?

This got me thinking.

Back at school the smart kids wore the glasses and they got made fun of but you’d always go and ask them for help if you got stuck. The kids wearing the hearing aids were quite often loners who we knew not to make fun of because we were told not to. The problem was every kid pokes fun at every other kid but the hearing aid stigma meant their was very little to talk about with the hearing impaired kids and they very often got left out completely. Chances are that hearing impaired kid was the smartest kid on the block but we never knew.

The same goes for business when we look at out competitors and our competitors look at us. In this material world first impressions count and we can be quite easily taken by surprise when a stealthy competitor who we believe to come from a “poorer” neighbourhood usurps us and gets the big contract we were guaranteed to win.

It’s time for us as businesses to stop ganging up with our mates and poking fun at the small startups. Perception is both everything and nothing. You don’t have to be big to be clever and you don’t have to be clever to be big.

Just because one company has mirrored windows doesn’t make it any smarter than the company with the drafty sash windows.

How is your business perceived?

image courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net