Note: This post was originally published August 25, 2008. But it’s so good I just had to reblog. Enjoy.
I’ve written other blogs on other topics before, but never with the sense of purpose I have today.
Not to say that I’ve never had a sense of purpose in the past.
But I feel singularly inspired to write this blog because its all about me.
‘Who am I?’ you ask.
Entrepreneur. Brand strategist. Technology evangelist. Marketing maverick. Biz dev specialist. Trend setter.
I’m the guy who tells you like it is, whether you want to hear it or not.
To put it simply, I’m that dude.
You know who ‘that dude’ is.
He’s the guy that everyone acknowledges (implicitly or explicitly) when he walks into the room.
The one that you’ll remember years after you’ve met him.
The one that everyone aspires to emulate.
The one with the aura, the gift, the presence.
He’s that dude.
We all have ‘that dude’ in us.
It’s that aspect of us that tells really funny jokes.
Or knows how to solve complex equations in our heads.
Or has ability to remain cool in the face of difficulty.
The ‘go-to’ guy when things really need to get done.
Being the brand is the act of cultivating the ‘that dude’ in all of us.
I want to demonstrate the power of my mantra, ‘Be the Brand,” using myself as a living case study.
I’m not particularly famous.
If you Google “Chukumba” you’ll see about 27,000 results.
Add the qualifier “Stephen” and that jumps to about 37,000.
Not bad, but nothing really if you consider the 37 million results generated by searching for the term ‘Oprah’ or the 40+ million generated by searching the term ‘Donald Trump.’
Oprah and Trump are classic examples of iconic figures with huge brand recognition.
When Oprah Winfrey started O Magazine, people said, “She’s so vain. Why does she need to be on the cover of every issue?”
I thought, ‘that’s brilliant!’
What better way to promote your brand than to put your face on everything you put into the stream of commerce?
Oprah didn’t become a billionaire by promoting other people (although she has made quite a few people rich from her promotional prowess).
She promoted herself.
Similarly, when Donald Trump started ‘The Apprentice’ people thought “Who does Donald Trump think he is?”
He’s practically bankrupt!
But Trump is a perfect example of the value of self-promotion.
Love him or hate him, you’ve got to deal with him because his face, his properties, and his brand are everywhere.
Despite his well publicized failures, you’ve got to concede his staying power and presence are indomitable.
There are countless others who fit the Oprah/Donald Trump mold, both famous and unknown.
I include myself in their ranks, and I am going to prove that anyone can be the brand, if they want to be.
Being the brand is a perspective that allows you to define yourself and your world-view in a way that sets you apart from the crowd, but without thrashing others in the process.
So stay tuned to see what I’ve got to say.
I’ve got a lot to say-I’m quite verbose.
Hopefully, you’ll come away with lots of good advice.
And at least it’ll make for some interesting reading!
Now go be the brand!