What To Do When People Doubt Your Brand

On 20 July 1969 Commander Neil Armstrong became the first person to set foot on the Moon.

Or did he?

There are plenty of people who think it was all a hoax and what was presented as the truth is in fact a fabrication. Whether they’re right or wrong (and I’m not opening that can of worms here) the fact is they’ve chosen to view the evidence in a different light.

And it’s the same for your personal brand, because no matter how hard you try to get people to perceive you as you want to be perceived, there’ll always be some doubters.

Here’s what I’m talking about…

A while ago I decided to edit my email footer so that every recipient got the message:

PS I have a flexible working week so often email at the weekend and after hours. Please don’t feel you need to reply until you’re in work-mode yourself.

I wrote about it in more depth in a previous post, but in essence it was to make sure that, if I sent someone an email out of hours (as I often do) it was clear that I didn’t expect them to work out of hours too and send me a reply.

And as far as I was concerned, the way I worded the PS was pretty black and white in that intention.

That was until I shared the PS with a group of people on my workshop and one young guy said, “Actually, when I read that I feel like you’re showing off and being passive-aggressive and are actually putting pressure on the person to reply.”

Despite the evidence I presented, he was doubting it

I’ll be honest and say I was a little taken aback at how strongly negative his perception was. I even thought to myself I needed to review the wording and make it even clearer what my intention was.

And then I thought ‘Hold on! This is just one person with one view. It’s a different view, but it’s not the only view. And if I really think about it, there are plenty of people who have said they really like my PS and have even begun using it themselves.’

So I’ve kept it 100% the same

I’ve said before that not everyone will buy your personal brand, even when – as in this case – you try your darnedest to present it in a way that’s making your intentions loud and clear.

There’ll always be doubters.

But just as the vast majority of people believe that man has indeed stepped foot on the Moon, you should believe that the vast majority of people will see your brand for what you want it seen as. (And the doubters will remain a minority.)

If you’ve allowed yourself to be swayed by the doubters, I hope this post has given you a different perspective. And if you have another perspective to offer, I’d love to hear it with a comment below. Thank you.

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3 responses to “What To Do When People Doubt Your Brand”

  1. Tony O says:

    You picked an excellent example to illustrate your point. For every event, it is always possible to come up with a conspiracy theory and the problem with them is that they can never actually be disproved. When it comes to personal matters, all you can do is behave consistently. Changing your footer would be more likely to confuse all of those who had previously understood your intentions and sow doubt in people’s minds. Being consistent quickly dispels any negative spin that others might attach to an exchange.

    • Jennifer Holloway says:

      Thanks for backing me up on that Tony. It’s easy to get wrong-footed in the moment by someone’s response but I’m glad I have the strength of personality to stand back and re-think it.

  2. Chris Dudley says:

    Big fan of this article – I have got so many notes on your book and from your website, and I find it so useful to refer back to when I need advice on specific things like brand consistency etc

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