Are you from Jhumri Telaiya?

Recently I met a few of my friends and as usual, it was super fun with loads of jokes, leg-pulling, conversations flowing seamlessly. During these conversations, one of my friends spoke of something significant, but since all of us were in a light mood, I made a silly and playful remark to that. Assuming that I misunderstood the significance of her point she said, “ Come on Mitu, how can you say this? Are you from Jhumri Telaiya? “

Playful mood as it was we took this conversation in stride and moved on. However, this episode set me thinking.

Often I have observed that whenever we want to say that someone is less capable or talk of something insignificant we attach the label of ‘Jhumri Telaiya’ to that person, place or thing. However, the reality is substantially different from our perception of the place. Coincidentally, I partially belong to Jhumri Telaiya as my maternal grandparents and uncles live there and I have visited that place every summer vacation and carry some awesome memories. Hence, with authority, I can claim that there exists a huge difference in perception versus reality with respect to Jhumri Telaiya.

For non-starters, Jhumri Telaiya is one of the major mica mining centers in India.  The Telaiya dam was the first dam and hydro-electric power station constructed by the Damodar Valley Corporation. In current times, Telaiya has become an incubator for small scale industries in Jharkhand because of its proximity to easy access to minerals, good road-rail connectivity, and favourable power infrastructure. These and many more are significant trivia about the city. Yet, what people remember are the funny and sometimes derogatory associations.

This mismatch between perception and reality is not just limited to one place. In fact, if you think deeply most of us suffer from this bias. Companies and individuals both are exposed to the perception risk equally. An individual can be highly capable, a company could be selling a high quality product, a startup might be filling a major service gap but if they just leave it to chance that people will understand this and regard them accordingly, they will land up exactly where Jhumri Telaiya has landed – Reality vs perception mismatch.

For companies and individuals to be recognised and respected for their competence and achievements, it is critical that they consciously spend time and effort on identifying their positioning and promoting it at the right platforms through right messages. Especially, with the growing significance of social media and digital platforms, opportunities for communication have multiplied. While it does bring in the threat of information overload, but a well thought messaging strategy around identified positioning does outshine the clutter.

So, dear friends think about it: what does your or your company’s brand communicate? Do you even have a brand or any identified positioning? When someone Google searches your name or your company’s name what kind of information does one land into? Does that resonate with your brand promise?

Whether you are an employee with certain career aspirations or a professional who is enthusiastic to stand out in your  area of work or an entrepreneur keen to build a loyal customer base for your company, a well thought through positioning strategy goes a long way in deriving favourable outcomes. In fact, a conscious attempt to understand what positioning should you adopt and then how should you go about it, is a must-do for bridging the perception vs reality gap and thereby building and establishing your reputation. Otherwise, often many of us keep wondering how do I bring down my ‘Jhumri Telaiya’ Quotient…Errr shall I say bring up the ‘Jhumri Telaiya’ quotient?

Mitu Samar
Mitu Samar, runs a company called ‘Eminence’, that works with renowned brands in India to build, establish or protect their reputation. She serves as an Independent Director on the boards of Times group Companies. Before turning an entrepreneur, Mitu served as Director, Communication and Brand Management at CRISIL and also headed the marketing and communication role of S&P in South Asia. Her professional experience includes stints with companies like Aditya Birla Financial Services Group, ICICI Prudential MF & GE Shipping.

1 Comment on "Are you from Jhumri Telaiya?"

  1. Mitu wonderfully narrated & connected to perception or wrong notions or stigma attached to a place or activity.

    Incidentally I have been there and stayed in Jheel for about a month before moving to our camp, we constructed 2-4 lane highway (2002-3) then from sherghati to gorhar in peak of kidnapping & Maoist movement and terror.

    I had few good memories too and we have been to a local family to enjoy delicacy of dal baati & choorma. Place has its simple charm & pride too.

    Wrongly formed impressions & prejudices impact businesses, deals and career growth alike.

    I really found your communication apt & very eloquent. All the best. Keep writing.

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