Marketing is the thing that I was most worried about when launching Straightface. We did a great job sourcing an awesome product but communicating that is a completely different challenge.
There is a saying that Marketing is what you think about yourself and Branding is what others think about you. The distance between those two things can be the difference between success and failure.
I recently went to Burger Geek, it is my favourite burger joint in Auckland. Do yourself and check it out if you can. I go with the Swanson and some Mac'n'Cheese balls. They are delicious.
Outside there was a homeless guy wrapped up in a blanket with everyone just walking past and ignoring him.
I have sought out a marketing company to help me where I think I need more support. They got annoyed that we donated a bunch of product to doctors and nurses who couldn't get home due to having immunocompromised people at home.
They said I should have done a better job telling that story as it was a positive thing to do. My thought was that we should do what we can do because its what we stand for and who we are.
I see their point and how they are not mutually exclusive. I, perhaps, wasn't as successful at marketing Straightface in that moment.
Success is an interesting characteristic. With covid, many people have felt the pinch, while others have benefited because of it. The idea that success is purely in your control and failure is purely your fault is an overly simplistic view of the world.
When ordering my burger, and mac'n'cheese, chicken wings... And fries. Yes, I like to eat. I thought to myself we haven't turned a profit yet. All the money is put back into the business. I have been living off savings but I am still in a better situation than the guy outside on the street.
So I ordered him a burger.
I didn't know his situation. I didn't know how he got to where he was. I recently heard of a story of a fancy Lasik eye surgery that tried to specialize in creating a clinic for the elderly. The made better wheelchair access, bought all these new fancy machines and then covid happened and the elderly stopped going out. Their practice might go bankrupt.
Having no income, spending some of my money on a person I didn't know isn't ideal but I am still in a much better situation than him with a roof over my head and some money in the bank.
When I asked if he would like a burger he was shocked that someone even acknowledged him. A few people nearby were just as shocked when I offered him a burger.
He did a double-take at what was happening in front of him and then he smiled and reached out and took the burger. I got in my car and I watched for a second as he delicately removed the burger box from the bag and placed the napkin on his lap.
I don't really have the money to be buying other people food, but the look on his face was worth it.
In these difficult times. Be kind, be awesome, shave well.