Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Control Your Emotions, Control Your Brand

All great comedians have one thing in common. They see the world in a crazy way. And they make you see it their way, temporarily. But they don't lose control of their emotions in the process.

Think of anyone: Howard Stern, Roseanne Barr, Howie Mandel, Joan Rivers, Russell Brand, Jerry Seinfeld, Lucille Ball. They're neurotic. But they've sharpened it to a fine point. You know what's coming, and you laugh.

Laughing with, not at, is the mark of a relevant brand.

Branding is conveyed through a lot of things. We call those "touch points" - how you look, what you say, color, font, a consistency of process.

And yet all of those things can be copied, which is why they are essentially worthless in the end.

The one thing that cannot be copied is your emotion. It's like your fingerprint - it makes you unique and uniquely valuable to the people you touch. Nobody, in the end, can truly be you. Which gives you a tremendous advantage.

So far so good. But the next part is where people often get messed up. Admittedly it's a hard balance to strike.

In your effort to be authentic, you don't want to go overboard. For example, at work, it is wise to avoid displays of rage - even if you're the type to enjoy a good rant.

On the flip-side, you don't want to over-control your self-presentation, to the point where you seem like cardboard.

It's difficult nowadays. The bar on brands is incredibly high. The expectation encompasses all of you, the whole person. Separate parts of one identity, yet all of it is of a piece.

We are entering a new age of branding now. Privacy is dead, and you are always discoverable in some context: Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, LinkedIn. Your family, friends, and employers.

A trail of breadcrumbs tells your tale.

You may as well be yourself.

* All opinions my own.