Bryan Kramer

Posted on February 11, 2013 by Bryan Kramer 13

The Mentality of Being Number Two

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?

fm336)2911Social 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.

 

I would love your thoughts or questions about this post, please jot it below. Also, be the first to receive each blog post by signing up at the top right of this page. Cheers! 

 

  • Neil Shapiro

    Great piece Bryan. There is nothing wrong with being number 2, because that is what Target’s overall strategy is. (CNBC). In Social Media, because of speed to market being number 2 is great as long as your value proposition is better than number 1.

    • http://www.purematter.com/ Bryan Kramer

      Thanks Neil, look at Target now! :-)

  • Varun Sharma

    Great points Bryan but alas most are obssessed with being the number 1………..
    ‘Stay humble’ is my personal favorite. And i think you should also add reading to ‘Don’t Stop Listening’ making it ’Don’t stop listening and reading’. Here is something about gaining social media mileage for business 
    Thanks for the great post

    • http://www.purematter.com/ Bryan Kramer

      YES! :-) Staying humble is the hardest part. Thanks for stopping by Varun :-)

  • http://amyvernon.net/ AmyVernon

    Love this! I, myself, always root for the underdog. It’s much more exciting, too. :)

    • http://www.purematter.com/ Bryan Kramer

      Thanks Amy, so much more exciting! :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1078610003 Steve Levine

    Brian, good post. Some of us are old enough to remember when Avis campaigned that “Hertz may be number one but we try harder.” On the other hand, few people know that Avis was actually number five at the time. They shot from five to two overnight. On staying humble, an Irish proverb: “Being humble does not mean thinking less of yourself – it means thinking of yourself less.” Brands that demonstrate selflessness usually benefit.

    • http://www.purematter.com/ Bryan Kramer

      Thanks Steve. I do remember that commercial actually. I didn’t know that they were number five though. Just goes to show! Cheers my friend :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1078610003 Steve Levine

    Brian, good post. Some of us are old enough to remember when Avis
    campaigned that “Hertz may be number one but we try harder.” On the
    other hand, few people know that Avis was actually number five at the
    time. They shot from five to two overnight. On staying humble, an Irish
    proverb: “Being humble does not mean thinking less of yourself – it
    means thinking of yourself less.” Brands that demonstrate selflessness
    usually benefit. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/LynnSerafinn Lynn Serafinn

    Excellent article. I love your point about smaller companies and individual brands having big online personalities due to social media. You might say it’s the era of democratising in marketing. Going to ReTweet this one. :-)

    • http://www.purematter.com/ Bryan Kramer

      Thank you Lynn! It’s really going to be fun to watch how this all turns out for small businesses over time.

  • http://www.purematter.com/ Bryan Kramer

    Thanks Neil. And look at Target now! :-)

  • http://www.octarine.co.za/ Ann Druce

    This is how Avis built their brand, and it’s certainly worked for them.