Are you being authentic? That should be an easy answer right? I imagine most people and businesses believe that they’re authentic, or at least want to be, but how do you know? When you look at the long-term development of your program, business, or organization it’s imperative that you’re able to effectively answer and demonstrate the question of authenticity.
Being authentic is not solely something you do, but something you embody. You must live it, breath, and be it as much as possible. At times you’ll fall short, but how you respond when you fail or when something bad happens (bad press, missed delivery, etc.) will determine how people view you and your brand. You can’t win them all and not everyone is going to like you. However, I think reputation should precede you in a way that when something negative happens most people’s first response should be to note that it’s not the norm. If failure, over promising and not delivering, and missed deadlines are the norm then good luck getting people to follow or believe in you and your product.
I firmly believe that Floorball has a place in the world of sports. While there are sports that have been ingrained into the fabric of our culture they are not immune from diminishing return. They could diminish in popularity for many reasons, and the reasons may change depending on the sport. As more and more people become aware of Floorball I believe we will see more businesses and organizations spring up to meet the new demand. In North America a handful of Floorball specific businesses have sprung up to meet this new demand. Each business has seen the value of Floorball and are actively working to grow and develop the sport. We’re all doing it in similar but different ways. While the initial draw for consumers is the sport, they will stick around long-term based on how they view the authenticity of the brand(s) or organization(s) they choose to support.
So how do we gain authenticity? There are a few steps. First, provide value to the consumer. The more and more people consume your content take note of their feedback. At Floorball Guru the focus has been on developing and providing content. If you browse through the site you’ll find a plethora of information on a variety of topics in both written and audio. If you’re not sure what to put out there just start doing it and it’s likely the consumer will provide you with the proper feedback. While we want to think we know what’s best for the consumer we don’t always. We could be close, but if you’re not listening you’re missing out.
Second, tell a story. Floorball has a wonderful story to tell. I have my own personal story related to Floorball; and I have any number of kids who I’ve coached who have been impacted by Floorball. It’s impacted my life greatly. Use it. Floorball is a fast-paced inclusive sport. All that statement does is regurgitate a fact. Does that win you over to what I’m trying to do? not likely. In turn, if I told you that while teaching my last class a participant’s mother came up to me raving about how her child has never been interested about sports, but is so excited each week for Floorball. That they’ve found something to be passionate about. Which statement wins you over? I’d bet it was the one that involved emotion. True authentic emotion from a participant, parent, coach who can speak to something deeper. That’s how we push the needle forward and how we continue to win people over to Floorball.
Being authentic can be difficult. We’re told we must fit a certain mold, or be something we’re not. Be self aware. Know your limits, but also know your strengths and be yourself. I’m not perfect by any means and I have faults. It’s who I am. I make mistakes and hopefully learn from them. I try to not hide it but embrace it. I encourage you to do the same. Whether you’re trying to start a Floorball program or already have something going think about what you’re doing. You could be missing something and it might take something small to make a big impact.